Main Navigation

Faith…What Is Faith and How Do I Live by Faith?

Faith. What is it?

How do I live by faith?

What Is Faith?

What Is Faith?

Faith! What is it? How do I live by faith?
These are two of the questions that I am constantly asking myself. The word faith is, for example, greatly misunderstood. In the English language, we have no verbal form of the word for “faith.” As a consequence, Bible translators centuries ago began using the word “believe” to connote the meaning of the word “faith.”

Instead of saying, then, “I faith,” which would be grammatically incorrect, we now say, “I believe.”

Herein lies the danger, therefore, if you wish to really understand what faith is. Over the centuries the word “believe” has come to connote “belief in” and, worse, “beliefs.” Instead of faith, therefore, referring to the conduct of one’s life, faith is now often associated with the content of one’s beliefs or that into which one says he believes.

This explains the many different denominations, for example, within Christianity alone. But this would also be true in many other religions. However, within Christianity itself, there are perhaps as many as 35,000 to 50,000 different denominations all sharing one thing in common – each mistakenly believes its beliefs are just a little more “right” than the beliefs of the 49,999 other denominations.

You can understand why this happens when faith itself is reduced to that into which one believes or, worse, the beliefs of that believing group.

I want to suggest to you that faith itself is best understood as the trust one demonstrates in God. Faith is living into one’s fears and anxieties and, in my own situation, nervousness – I tend to get real nervous at times and afraid and scared – and, I find it hard to be at peace inwardly 24/7 because I wrestle against many personal demons.

So, for me, and maybe it’s true for you, too, it is easier to live in-faith than it is to live by faith. I can easily subscribe to the “right” beliefs and I can say easily “I believe in Jesus.” But, when it comes to being completely at peace, knowing that God is caring for me, providing for me, and that I have nothing to fear or be nervous about, it’s not so easy.

What is faith?

I’ve prepared a little video here to illustrate what faith is. View it and then below I’ve provided a few suggestions you might find helpful in how to live by faith.

I’ll mention here three things to do to help you live by faith. If you’d like to read a longer version of this, I have more to say in a blog I wrote for BeliefNet. Just follow the links here.

Otherwise, here goes. Three suggestions to help you know how to live by faith.

1. Practice your faith. What is faith? It is trusting, believing, surrendering, resting upon, casting oneself upon. It’s all of this and more. And, what you and I must do is practice believing…practice trusting. The moment you doubt or feel overwhelmed, find a place to quietly go inward and there lay bare your soul to God.

2. Do not punish yourself when you are overwhelmed by fears, doubts, or, like me, feelings of fearfulness, even nervousness. Jesus understands. So did the Buddha.

3. Use the spiritual practices of prayer and meditation on a regular basis. Not just when things fall apart. Really, your most vulnerable time is when you’re feeling pretty secure and everything is going your way. Make the spiritual practices a daily experience, not an afterthought.

Do these things and you’ll not only discover you’re living by faith but your faith is real, nurturing, and eternally satisfying.

I promise. If it is working for me, it’ll work for you, too. Stick around. Subscribe to my blog or newsletter. I send it out about monthly. Help me promote unity among all traditions. See my Unity pendants and order one for yourself. And, if you’re seeking to walk more closely to God and have not read The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God, get a copy. Paperback. Audible. Or, download an electronic version. You can get these books on my website or at Amazon.

, , , , , , ,

3 Responses to Faith…What Is Faith and How Do I Live by Faith?

  1. Bob Sherbondy October 19, 2014 at 12:04 AM #

    I have a statement on my website that defines the Christian faith as a “heart transplant”. You might find it to be interesting. I invite you to check it out here: http://www.christianityetc.org/faith.php . I’d be interested in your feedback.
    Bob

  2. Richard R Riker October 27, 2014 at 1:16 PM #

    I like your definition of faith. One reason that we have trouble articulating our faith is because it is stored in our brains non verbally and we have difficulty converting our non verbal thoughts into verbal format.

    • Dr. Steve McSwain October 27, 2014 at 1:30 PM #

      You are so right, Richard. I think we all have a hard time articulating our faith-ing. Which is probably in part the explanation for doctrines that we develop. We are attempting to articulate verbally what is really difficult to do. And, therein lies the problem. Doctrines become dogmas when we forget they are only words – just as scripture is a collection of words – and, whenever you give too much authority to words, they become dogmas, and dogmas then become idolatrous. We worship the words instead of that ephemeral Reality toward which the words point. Which is what the Buddha meant when he said, “My finger that points to the moon is NOT the moon.” Thanks so much for your comments. I wish you well on your journey.

%d bloggers like this: