I have been pondering the subject of faith. I find that understanding faith and beyond that, growing in faith is most advantageous to us as Christians. We are to walk by faith because the Bible says we walk by faith and not by sight. We are to live by faith because the just shall live by faith. We are only saved through faith and without faith, it is impossible to please God. Consequently, faith is particularly central to our lives and we focus on a small part of this grand concept which is the bedrock of Christianity in this post.
In the previous post, I hypothesized that ours is a generation of faithless and unfaithful Christians; a hypothesis hinged mostly on the scarcity of noteworthy proofs as we saw from the patriarchs of our faith. I do however believe all Christians possess a level of faith because faith is required to be saved at all. To say we have absolutely no faith will be implying that we are all yet unsaved. We do have some faith but it is the most basic level of faith; the faith for salvation. What we have failed to do is grow in faith.
We start out with the faith that gets us saved and we ought to grow from there. The apostles who worked closely with Jesus as He walked the earth were on several occasions reproached by Him for their lack of faith. However these same faithless men were able to overturn entire cities as catalysts of revival. The same men who after Jesus died on the cross went back to their jobs would later say to the revered council, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Nothing was going to stop them from preaching the gospel. What caused this drastic change? They grew in faith. We ought to do the same.
How then does one grow in faith? Among other factors, faith is primarily a function of the knowledge of God in us. Faith is a function of light. Let’s elaborate on what I call the ‘head versus heart conundrum’. There is head knowledge of God and there is heart knowledge of God. Likewise there is a head belief of God and there is a heart belief of God.
Most Christians possess head knowledge of God but not heart knowledge. Head knowledge is to know about God but heart knowledge is based on insight and revelation, oftentimes from the Word and by the Holy Spirit. This is a very modest but extremely loaded statement. Faith is a result of heart knowledge which has its source in revelation from the Word and by the Holy Spirit. The Word + Holy Spirit = Revelation = Faith.
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draws back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” – Hebrews 10:38 (KJV)
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4 (KJV)
When we unite these two scriptures, it becomes apparent that there is an indelible link between faith and the Word. Head knowledge is having information while heart knowledge is having revelation. Information about God is not the same thing as revelation. You can recite the entire Bible and store all available information about God, but it cannot produce faith until the Holy Spirit reveals the truth therein and it becomes heart knowledge. The head stores facts but the heart knows truths. That explains why knowledge of the truth sets free and not knowledge of facts. Truth is known in the heart.
It is heart knowledge and not head knowledge that causes one to be strong and do exploits. It is a revelation that is caught that concretizes our faith in God. The head is designed by God to reason. Any knowledge in the head will be defeated or supported by logic and for this reason, head knowledge cannot produce faith. Head knowledge will be subdued by logic and reason because that is what the head does. It reasons. The heart knowledge is not logical and cannot be reasoned with thus it stirs to action that appears foolish. Only the heart can be sure of what it hasn’t seen. The head does not possess that capacity. Usually, when people ‘fall in love’, their decisions start to slowly defy logic. It is a heart matter and cannot be explained.
Job said to God, “I have been hearing about you with the hearing of the ear but now my eyes see you.” Similarly, we have been hearing so much about God. We have taken in all the information but our eyes are yet to see Him.
The second thing to recognize is that head knowledge leads to head belief while heart knowledge leads to heart belief which is faith. Once belief enters the heart, it becomes faith because it starts to stir action and by extension produce proofs. Faith is a result of a heart belief. The deepest part of you knows. This is something you naturally can’t be sure of yet you are fully persuaded of it. This is a result of a heart belief.
9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. – Romans 10:9-10 (NLT)
22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. – Mark 11:22-24 (NLT)
It is clear from these scriptures that faith is about believing in your heart and not your head. Jesus said to the father of the boy with a mute spirit in Mark 9, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” His response is so profound. He says, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief.” He believed in his head but there were elements of unbelief in his heart hence the seemingly oxymoronic response.
Head knowledge becomes heart knowledge only by revelation and revelation comes by meditating on the information; basically, light shines through and it hits you like a brick. Meditation is the practice of pondering deeply with probing questions and regurgitation of the Word of God. Reading and studying the Word will give information but meditation produces revelation. The aim is to know God and not just know about God; having a close personal relationship which fuels revelation and is fueled by revelation. It is a catch 22. Shalom.