One might ask how do I know I have faith? Some of you might have already read my previous writing about Faith asking what is it. Well now I am answering the question that I even ask myself…how do I really know if I have faith? Is it something I took and now it’s mine never to be stolen. Do I have to keep up with it? How did I get it? How do I strengthen it? What if I loose it on accident? What about doubts? Those suck! Did lingering poisonous doubt come into my mind and rob my faith? Well if you have asked yourself any of these question, guess what? So have I! I have been thinking about these questions a lot. I’ve been praying or meditating about it and thinking. Faith can be a confusing thing! Especially since we cannot see it. Even MORE confusing we cannot FEEL it and that is what I am going to get into and shed some light on. I think to myself uh faith; I don’t feel it at the moment. I know what I know but do I really know? I don’t feel anything at the moment that confirms this…welcome to the world of feelings led by doubt! I hate feelings! Did I mention they suck? I could do a whole article on feelings but that’s for another day. Today I am discussing faith and how we know we have it. How we strengthen it, and how we keep it. Now bear with me because I’m talking myself through this too! Haha
If you are like me you know what it’s like to be an anxious or worrisome person. You know those people who are constantly freaking out about things out of their control or stuck in the domino effects of worrying about one thing that leads to the next thing to the next and so on until you’re in one big pile of worry that seems to be suffocating you and you cannot get out from all this weight on top of you? Those of you who don’t I envy you! Haha I know I shouldn’t say that, envy is a monster of it’s own and I kid! In some aspect though you know what it’s like to have worry and feel like there is no ridding it. I’m going to go back and define faith like I did in a previous article I wrote. Faith is such a huge thing that the Bible actually gives an exact definition of what it is in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Interesting…I have to think about that one a moment.
The best way for me to understand this concept of having faith without feelings attached was when I was thinking about this concept deeply and I started asking myself questions. Along with the feelings aspect I stared wondering well how do I maintain and increase my faith and keep it strong. How does that happen? I did get some great advice from a spiritual father of mine and he told me simply, it’s confirmation that strengthens your faith. Wow interesting I didn’t think of it that way! Of course it is though! I guess I just needed confirmation! HAHA! Now I believe along with my spiritual father’s advice sparking my train of thought it was truly the Holy Spirit guiding me through this thought process after the fact. I thought to myself okay Marita think about it this way as in a relationship. You are with Anthony. How do you know he loves you and cares for you? Yes he tells you but he shows you and by showing you you have confirmation, which in itself strengthens your beliefs in knowing he cares about you. Well the same applies to God and Jesus in our lives. Say we are dealing with an issue as we most of the time are haha and we pray and pray about it and nothing we do on our own is helping. Then one day something happens and it’s the answer to your prayers. The answer you’ve been looking for. No one else knows about your personal struggle aside from you sharing it with God and even so he knows what you need. This answer or blessing I should say stops you dead in your tracks. Ever have those moments when you think oh my this is exactly what I needed, the answer to my prayers and you just know. You know it’s a God thing. What is that? It’s confirmation that God hears you. It’s confirmation that not only does he hear you and give you exactly what you need, most importantly it confirms that he loves you, cares for you, and that you have been given blessings poured upon you. Then once you recognize that and know it’s a God thing. That right there strengthens your faith. It increases your trust and belief that God is with you and for you. It increases your faith in him. Now don’t get all jaded thinking oh I’ve prayed many times and God never gives me what I want. Okay that’s the problem right there. First off it’s what he wants not what you want and the sooner you realize that and humble yourself the sooner you will reap the rewards of his love. Submit to him and he will give you what you need and bless you with the rewards only set to stow upon his children. Confirmation is in the Word of God. It’s not only personal experiences and testimonies. Testimonies are some of thee most powerful confirmations in the world but God’s written Word is right there as proof as well but the way I like to look at it is that your testimony and experiences in life is the Word of God in action in your life. That’s confirmation.
I touched on confirmation, well what about feelings? Can you tell I save that for last? Feelings get in the way and trick you. I could feel like not going to church but is it what’s best for me? No. Then what happens I go to church and feel amazing afterwards! So feelings are misleading sometimes and can be used against you and against fulfilling God’s will in your life. I’ll save you the lecture on feelings though and cut to the point. I find that one of the hardest things to acknowledge is this: “For we live by faith and not by sight” -2 Corinthians 5:7 It’s hard but what’s harder for me is how can I not be lead by feelings. You would think that feelings should dictate your life. Oh I feel too tired to go to church so I won’t go because my feelings must be the most important thing to follow. Oh I’m bored with reading scripture and I need something more interesting. Oh I don’t feel like forgiving that person because they hurt me. Oh I feel like yelling and being violent with that person because they insulted me. Do you see where feelings can get out of control? I could keep going but I think you get the point. Well it’s the same thing with what some might think are minor feelings about minor things such as feeling something is right or wrong. Just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is. What if it felt right for you to punch that other person in the face because they did something that upset you? Does two wrongs make it right? My point here is that feelings should not dictate our faith and determine its strength. Here is another example. Back to Anthony and I. Now I know Anthony loves me. How do I know this? Because of the confirmation we just talked about but let’s take it a step further. Do I have to feel something to know something? No. I know Anthony loves me. I know he is my boyfriend. Do I have to feel head over heels giddy all day long and every single time someone asks me if he’s my boyfriend to confirm that he is just based on my feelings? No. I know because of the confidence I have and the relationship I’ve built and the confirmation in my life that tells me he is. I do not need to feel giddy every time I confirm with someone he’s my boyfriend to confirm that. I guess the best point I am trying to make here is that I do not need to feel something all the time to confirm what is true. Truth is the truth and regardless of how I “feel” in that present moment, it is not going to change the truth. So faith is not determined by feelings and how I feel one day and how I feel the next. I know things to be true but I don’t need feelings to confirm what I already know. This may be a confusing thing and believe me it is! We live in a world where we live in the flesh. Our lives are controlled with how we feel. It’s confusing! It’s how we were brought up but thank God for Jesus and the word of God and his teaching! Then thank God for the blessings of knowledge and wisdom that he pours onto us when we ask because we need it!
Overall the key thing to remember about Faith is that it cannot be determined by feelings alone. It is a God thing and confirmation from God and the building of that relationship with him is what makes your faith stronger. Look for those confirmations in your life. It may be subtle little things. It may be huge in your face things. Regardless confirmation is confirmation and no matter the size of it, it strengthens your faith. Remember after all, Jesus did say, “The mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree.”…”If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for you.” –Matthew 13:31, 17:20