As defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : LOYALTY b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2): sincerity of intentions
2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction ; especially : a system of religious beliefs
Isn’t it funny how one word can elicit such a range of emotions?
Some people live by that word, faith. They walk with it every day. They wear faith as if it were a badge, and are not afraid to openly speak about it. Like prospectors searching for the perfect diamond, they dig deeper and deeper, hoping to find faith in its purest form. For them, faith is a source of strength, a font of knowledge, a shelter from the storms that life has to offer.
Some have that very same faith, but would never profess their beliefs outside of a church. Their reluctance to speak openly about faith could be a carry-over from the business world, or perhaps the mind-set of our society today. I mean, certain individuals have made removing God from schools, sporting events, courtrooms, all public places their life’s ambition. I can certainly understand one’s hesitance to speak openly about faith in certain circles.
There are those that hide behind their faith, talking the talk, but not walking the walk. These people frequently feel that their faith gives them to free reign to do or say what they please, regardless of the consequences.
Other people don’t know what faith means, according to any of the definitions found in the dictionary; nor do they care to know. I wonder if they truly don’t care, or if they are afraid of what they may learn. Hmmm.
Still others cringe at the mere sound of word, as if they had just swallowed sour milk! These people don’t want any part of that “faith thing”, and often look down at those who profess their faith. It’s as if they see faith as being a personality weakness, or character flaw.
So what is faith, anyway?
Well, obviously faith can be defined using any or all of the definitions offered above or using a combination of those definitions.
I humbly offer you my definition, and a few thoughts on faith.
Faith, for me, quite simply means believing.
In the religious context, I happen to believe in God. And I just happen to be a Catholic. But that doesn’t set me apart from other Christians. I like to use different makes of automobiles as an analogy for different denominations. Say, for instance, that we’re all going to meet at a particular restaurant for dinner. You may get in your Ford, another may get into his Chevy, and I hop into my Infiniti. We all have different vehicles, but we’re all trying to get to the same place, right? Different Christian churches and religious denominations are just like that; we may have different “vehicles”, but we’re all trying to get to the same place!
There are those of us who have come to the conclusion that we don’t believe in anyone or anything greater than ourselves. But even that is a belief, isn’t it? This brings us full circle back to my original statement: faith means believing.
Here are other examples of faith:
You may believe that your spouse will always love you and be true to you. You may go to bed tonight believing that you will wake up tomorrow morning, and that the sun will be in the sky, and that you will still have a job. You may believe that this country will withstand the test of time and remain the land of opportunity that it is. You may believe in God.
Here’s the thing:
You don’t know that your spouse will remain true to you, or that you’ll wake up, or that the sun will be in the sky, or that you will have a job. You don’t know that 2 years from now the United States of America will be the country that it is today. Where God is concerned, you’ve never seen Him, never touched Him, and never heard His voice, at least not in the sense of hearing as we know it.
If you believe in your spouse, or your job, or tomorrow, or this country, or God, or any of the above, then you, my friend, have faith. And oh by the way; it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
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