You know what that is, right?
Faith is believing something that is not there -- like the wind. In John 3, Jesus gave this very same metaphor to Nicodemus. "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8, ESV).
Faith requires commitment without giving hard evidence (or, in some cases, it gives hard evidence for the very opposite of what is promised). Faith requires submission, humility, and love. It requires us to give ourselves up to the mercy of hope, and believe someone else's word -- with nothing to back it. Faith and ego really go well together, eh?
Anyway, now that we hace definitions cleared up, let's go over this year's focuses and see why they all require faith...
IT TAKES FAITH:
- to give full fledged loyalty to someone you have never met, to someone who does not always appear to be on your side.
- to promise your love to someone when you do not know if you will get love in return, when are not sure how long the love will last, or when you have been hurt many times before.
- to know that you truly can be obedient and perfect in God's sight, and to know that His law is both perfect and right for you.
- to believe in a story that you never saw, and to know that God does not ever change His law.
- to believe that God would like to dwell in you and through you -- and to let Him!
- to remember that God still loves you regardless of what you have done; to forgive someone who may never like you anyway; and to believe that God has given you true peace.
- to believe that Jesus stands between you and the great Judge (you can't see them, can you?)
- to know that your prayers mean something, and that God hears you all of the time.
- to share a God you have never seen, and
- to risk everything to do it.
- to move to a place where your dependence is fully on God, like Abraham did.
Faith is a risk -- one that may leave us hurt. That's why we need the faith of a child: in other words, naivety, fully trusting all of the time. And if we put our faith in the right Person, we can be assured of fulfillment in the future.
"At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:1-3, KJV).