As Christians, we use the term faith quite often. In fact, our culture is full of phrases pertaining to faith. You may be familiar with sayings such as, “taking a blind leap of faith” or people telling you that “things will work out if you just have enough faith.” Recently, I have been reflecting on what our culture sees as faith and if it actually reflects what the Bible says faith is.
Is faith blind? Are we really expected to have absolute trust in what we do not know?
There is a scene in Walt Disney’s rendition of Peter Pan that I feel captures what is commonly thought of as faith. In the scene, Peter Pan is attempting to teach the Darling children how to fly so that they could travel with him to Neverland. He demonstrates his abilities and each of the children mimic him with no success. After thinking for a moment, He remembers the secret formula for flying… faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust. The children proceed in their attempt to fly after being sprinkled with pixie dust and thinking lovely, happy thoughts. This time they succeed. The children then leave their home with Peter Pan and soar to Neverland.
What exactly does this tell us about faith?
In the story, the children would be able to fly if they simply believed that they could. Faith and trust are equivalent to thinking happy thoughts. If we tell ourselves that something will happen then it is sure to happen. Faith is seen as trusting in your own ability to make something happen with positive thinking even when things seem impossible. You can do anything if you just believe that you can. This notion is almost as ridiculous as believing that you can defy gravity by sprinkling pixie dust all over yourself.
Today’s culture has strayed far from what the biblical idea of faith is. Faith is not based on a set of ideas, philosophy, mind games or intuition.
Biblical faith is a relationship of trust in God.
We do not just have authentic trust in God because we are told to or because we will our minds to but we base our faith on God’s past record of faithfulness in our lives and through scripture. In Exodus 3:14 God tells Moses, “I Am who I Am.” In the next verse, He further clarifies His identity by saying that He is, “The God of your Fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” God wanted to communicate to the Israelites that He could be trusted and all they would have to do is look at what He had done in the past for their ancestors. The same idea is repeated in the New Testament. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” This verse restates the truth of the Old Testament; God never changes and the past proves that He can be trusted today and forever.