Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Distinguishing Belief and Faith

As I worked my way through my recent series on How to Find Faith, I found myself distinguishing between "belief" and "faith". People often use them interchangably but they are worlds apart.

To believe is merely an intellectual exercise. You can believe in all kinds of things and not have it impact your life. For example, I've believed in George Washington all my life, but George has never made a difference in my life. The same is true for people who believe in Jesus. Simply believing in the fact that he lived on earth and even was/is the Son of God is meaningless if you haven't allowed that belief to impact you. Faith begins where belief ends.

To believe in Jesus is rational. But putting faith in Jesus is irrational! It doesn't make sense to the logical mind. The person who puts faith in Jesus risks giving up control of their daily life to entrust it to an invisible God. Think of two people who "believe" in airplanes yet one never risks flying while the other does. The person who flies has "faith" in airplanes. They have so much confidence in airplanes that they are willing to risk their life to ride one. And since they are willing to risk giving up control and riding an airplane, their life is dramatically impacted. They can be across the world in less than a day to see things that they would never see otherwise.

So it is with faith in God. To "believe" in God means nothing unless you are willing to risk your life to his guidance and yield yourself to His power to live a new life. Don't kid yourself into thinking that believing is enough. God asks for more than your belief. The Bible tells us that God's people live by faith. For more on this read sermons 8 & 9 of my series, How to Find Faith in a World of Doubt.