Every so often, I still find myself having to explain faith to someone and especially when that someone has made faith so much more complicated than it needs to be. Let’s set a foundation for the simplicity of faith first.
Matthew 18:2-3, Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
And, Luke 18:17, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Why do you think that Jesus is so adamant about us bearing the character and nature of little children when it comes to the Kingdom of God? For one thing, we have all witnessed the innocence and humility of little children. They say for the most part what is on their minds without malice and they innocently believe what they are told by those they deem more knowledgeable. When they DO ask questions of someone more mature, it is never with malevolent intent, but rather with humble sincerity.
So even though the two passages of Scripture do not mention faith explicitly, they definitely imply that our relation to faith should be childlike or one of simplicity. It has been said as well as observed that the characteristics that make faith or any other spiritual characteristic so relevant is the beauty of a childlike attitude; trust, joy, innocence, curiosity, wonder and unquestioning forgiveness!
As children, didn’t we all for the most part, look up with absolute trust, to our parents? It is only after a child matures enough and sees the possible contradictions in a parents statements that a child starts to doubt, but at first, in their innocence, they always believe what their parents tell them.
So it is in the Kingdom of God! Remember when your spirit was first renewed or born-again? Remember the trust and the innocence with which you listened to every word that a preacher or teacher told you and accepted it without total sincerity and without question? That’s what children do! It is true that in the Kingdom of God we are to mature in our understanding, but not necessarily in our character, as Jesus commanded in Matthew and Luke.
The Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 14:20, “Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.”
Now I’m going to put forth a rhetorical question for you to consider; why is faith so important? Yes, — this was sort of a way to set you up, for it leads me to one of my favorite Scriptures that I love to meditate and think upon and no doubt you will recognize me using it often:
Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
I love the way this was translated into English for the English language though many have stated it is a hard language to learn, as a second or alternate language, there are ways to garner ideas and context from the way something is phrased in English.
For example; if I reiterate the Scripture in Hebrews, “without faith it is impossible to please Him,” then because of the way it is phrased we can make a direct implication that IF “without faith it’s impossible,” it would then stand to reason that just the opposite applies and then we can imply that “WITH faith it IS POSSIBLE,” to do what faith is intended to do. In actuality it is a simple thing to rightly assume with the English language, but most who have been raised and taught the English language from youth will just read the original format and keep on going without a second thought. It takes going back and actually looking at what the writer of Hebrews is trying to say. He uses a double-negative within the sentence to make a positive point. “Without, and impossible,” then becomes the positive outcome which means, “with and possible!”
So back to the question as to why faith is so important and the answer that follows; “for he who comes to God MUST believe that He is, (He is what?), He is God, and because He IS God, He is a rewarder of those who DILIGENTLY seek Him!” The beginning of the sentence leads to the why of the beginning, but DO NOT overlook one of the key issues that the writer is stating: WITH FAITH WE CAN PLEASE GOD!!
This is the part that always excites me when I consider this Scripture. Think of it (and yes, I have said it many times before), God Almighty, the Creator of all that ever was, ever is and ever will be, the One we acknowledge as our Heavenly Father CAN BE PLEASED by His very own creation!! Think about the awesomeness of this idea! He created us and the universe around us and everything in it for as far as the mind can comprehend and yet, the simplicity of us believing in Him AS God, our Heavenly Father actually brings Him pleasure!! On such a grander level, it is as us as children, doing all we can to make our parents happy and proud of us! Yet with God Almighty it is a matter simply believing, of simple childlike faith IN Him!
So now we have laid the foundation of why simple, childlike, innocent, trusting in God and what He says, faith is so important in our relationship with God Almighty as our Heavenly Father, but it still begs the question that has been asked for ever, “what IS faith?”
Okay, you might think this is another way to set you up for a simple answer, but let’s explore one of the most well-known verses in the Holy Bible:
Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Yes, there have been countless upon countless teachings based on this passage of Scripture alone and it has been explained over and over again, but keep in mind, the faith we are exploring is NOT hard to understand but simple in it’s childlike innocence!
There have been an awesome amount of teaching on “Now faith,” with the emphasis on faith in the here and now, but that is NOT the context the writer of this Scripture is making! “Now,” is the continuation of a thought that ends in the previous chapter. Remember, the chapter and verse delineation was added LONG after the letters were written and only added (yes I still believe by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), to make the study of the texts easier for the student of the Word.
But I digress; and everybody is familiar with teachers that have taken this sentence apart word by word and tried to teach it with word studies. That does have it’s place but keeping in the flow of simplicity and the character of childlike faith, I offer you an illustration or analogy I have used for years.
I come from, let’s just say an electrical/mechanical background in my secular career and so this idea came to me at a very young age in the ministry. Everybody can relate to being a child and either being actively shown or at least watching an adult enter into a darkened room, reach out to a switch or button on the wall and the next thing you know is the room is flooded with light! Your parents could have shown you, when you flip this switch or push this button, it will turn the light in the room on. You have experienced your parents doing it and you have accomplished this same feat all with the same expected result; it was dark and flipping the switch creates light.
As a child, you have no concept of why when you press that switch, a light comes on but you soon learn that every time you do that, there is light. You come to expect light where there was only darkness. After time and experience, you do not give it a second thought upon entering that room, it is not something that you are HOPING to happen, you come to EXPECT it to happen because of your experience OR because someone told you it would happen!
Imagine your dad sitting in his easy chair, reading the newspaper and it’s getting later in the day, the outside light is dimming and you walk into the room where he is and he turns to you and says, “Hey kiddo, would you please turn on the lights for me?” You don’t think twice about it, you locate the switch, flip it and there is light and your father is pleased because now he can get back to what he was doing! “Thanks, kiddo!” and you beam with delight because you made your dad, whom you love happy with a simple little act!
You don’t turn around and break down the process in your mind every time you accomplish it. “Wow! Dad asked me to turn the light on, and because I love him, I didn’t question whether there was power, or a light bulb, or the wiring was okay. I sure am glad the light came on because I was wondering what would happen if it didn’t and would dad be upset at me and so forth and so on!” WE DON’T DO THAT!
You see dad showed us and told us that when you flip the switch, light streams forth. How does faith come? The same way, our Father tells us and shows us and then the Light, shines forth. Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Understand this; faith comes to us by hearing the Word of God! By hearing God, our Heavenly Father speak, whether to our hearts and spirit or through His written Word. These two will NEVER contradict and that is where faith comes to a believer’s heart!
Yet in its simplest form, THAT is what faith is. Our Heavenly Father has told us things written down for our sakes in His Word and because He IS God and our Heavenly Father, we believe (and as we mature we KNOW) them to be true and when He asks us to do whatever, move forward, move back, stand, pray, etc., etc., you get the picture, we do it without questioning, without worrying (supposedly). The thoughts as to what if it doesn’t work, what if there’s no power, no light bulb, etc., etc., doesn’t even enter our minds (or it shouldn’t while walking in true faith) and we move ahead in our daily walk and journey learning the intimacies of a Father and son/daughter relationship with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings!
Remember this; you don’t consider the power source that feeds the circuits that give you light in your homes. So it is in the spiritual; the Holy Spirit is our power source and when He is working and we are walking within that power, we don’t give it a second thought. The Holy Spirit directs our thoughts and sights to the Light, Christ Jesus!
Yes, the more you experience what the Father tells you and the truth of it, the easier it gets as our relationship with Him matures. Yet, the innocence, the trust and joy and the childlike nature of the relationship stays simple. As the Apostle Paul pointed out, our understanding matures, but our character in relation to the Father stays childlike.
The Prophet Daniel had predicted that in the last days knowledge would be on the increase (Daniel 12:4) and we can see that it has. Now I have stated this before also, that even though our knowledge has increased, wisdom and especially spiritual wisdom has dramatically and continues to decrease! It seems that has man has become more intelligent, the arrogance and pride of his intelligence has caused him to look at simple things in unnecessarily complex ways and thus loses the innocence and trust that characterizes the childlike attitude that Jesus says exemplifies the Kingdom of God!! This portrays the evidence that human-nature has not evolved for the better despite the increase of more knowledge! So sad, but oh so true!
You say you love the Lord and have surrendered to Him? You say you are a Christian, a follower and a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose mission is to SHOW us the Father? Then your heart motive SHOULD be to PLEASE the Father and the easiest way to do that is in the title of this article; how? Simply, Faith!