“What is faith? It is made up of three things— knowledge, belief, and trust. Knowledge comes first… Faith is not a blind thing, for faith begins with knowledge. It is not a speculative thing, for faith believes facts of which it is sure. It is not an unpractical, dreamy thing, for faith trusts and stakes its destiny upon the truth of revelation. That is one way of describing what faith is.”
Have you ever felt your faith withering in an especially tough season of life?
I know that I have.
But God does not expect perfect faith from us. He knows we are flawed and fall short of the mark sometimes. All God needs is for us to keep seeking him, keep showing up. It may look different in different seasons, but our faith is secure because of his faithfulness to us. Whenever we struggle, we can remember the theologian CH Spurgeon’s formula for faith: knowledge, belief, and trust.
Knowledge: The Lord desires relationship with us. And, the more time we spend with him, the more we will get to know him for who he really is, not just what we have been told about him. God’s character and consistency will be revealed to us book after book, in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Knowing him will help us grow in our love and understanding of him, which will be an anchor in times of trouble.
Belief: As Spurgeon says, our faith is not blind because it is rooted in the knowledge of God’s character. The Bible is full of examples of God following through on his promises and staying consistent and true to his plans, the biggest of which being his plan to redeem us through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. When we believe in the gospel, we receive the gift of grace, paid for by Jesus at the cross. He is constantly reminding us of who he is and how much he loves us. He is refueling our belief in him and his mighty name, morning by morning, in a million little ways.
Trust: Our deepest relationships with others are built on a foundation of trust, including our relationship with God. As we learn more about him, we will start to see how his faithfulness plays out not only in the Bible, but in our lives and the lives of those around us. We will start to take notice of those bricks of consistent love and grace laying his foundation in our hearts. He is our Father, and we can trust his paths and plans. We can believe that he is trustworthy by remembering all that he has done and continues to do.
But, as we look to grow our faith in God, we can find comfort that “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
God’s faithfulness is not dependent upon us. He will be faithful when we fall. He will be faithful when we forget. He will be faithful when we fail. His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). He can work out incredible things even with our mustard seed-sized faith (Matthew 17:20).
Our faith comes from knowing down to our very core who God is, believing with our whole heart that he saved us and is continuing to work things out for our good every day (Romans 8:28), and trusting his track record of faithfulness to continue to see us through every situation we face. Ultimately, our faith is not in ourselves, but in God.
When we feel our faith is shaken, we can think back on our foundation of knowledge, belief, and trust. When we know him as Father and believe in him as Savior, we can trust him to provide, deliver, and guide us, no matter what each day brings.