Years ago I preached for a great church close to Atlantic City, New Jersey on the East Coast. The title of my message was "Faith Takes Faith." Stop to think about this for a minute.
The very concept of faith presumes that we have questions without answers.
Living a life of faith, following God's plan for our lives, presumes an uncertainty that everything will turn out okay, requiring from us a deep and continual trust and dependence on God.
Smith Wigglesworth, noted for great healings across Europe in the past century and called by Church historians "The Apostle of Faith", once stated "Great faith only comes through great trials."
Many of us want to be people of great faith. Most of us don't want to endure the process.
Hebrews 11 has been labeled the "faith chapter" in the Bible for it's wonderful description of faith. The writer of Hebrews states, "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen ... And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him."
He goes on to list examples of people of faith, adding:
"All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them ... How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us."
The truth is - living a life of faith requires ... lots of faith! While we may sense the nearness of God and His help at every turn, it is easy to doubt our own ability to hear God and to be assured we are clearly following His plan. We can only trust and hope in Him that He is able to work in and through us despite our humanity.
We can receive faith in our time of need by reading the Word of God - "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17). But we should not be surprised at our continual need to return to the promises of God - while we are here on earth, in this flesh.
Consequently, our continual need for greater faith keeps us dependent on God's grace, a close relationship with Him in prayer and reading of the Scripture!