Where does faith in Jesus come from?
Is faith something that God gives or does faith originate from within the believer? Why does it seem as though some are full of faith while others cannot believe in God at all? Many act as though faith in Jesus was a choice that they made, and it can certainly feel that way. Is that what is really going on? Why does it matter?
It is my belief that faith is a gift from God.
Here are some scriptures that have helped convince me that faith comes from God:
John 6:44 – No man can come to me, except that Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him at the last day.
Romans 12:3 – For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.
Galatians 5:22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith
Hebrews 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
When considering ideas about Christian doctrine, we each have to make our own judgments based on the scripture and what we know about God.
I have discovered that truth given of God will have a certain affect. Such truths will encourage righteousness, not wickedness. So, when attempting to decide what is true, we can ask ourselves, which belief fosters righteousness? Which belief helps us to grow in the faith?
Let’s consider this.
If we believe that faith is merely a choice that we make and something that originates from within us, there are possible consequences.
We might begin to think too highly of ourselves. We might despise those who do not have faith or become fearful towards those who challenge the faith. We can also run into trouble when dealing with doubt.
If we think faith is something we control, then our moments of weakness can be unnecessarily difficult to bear. We can become overly hard on ourselves. There is another danger; we might look to science, reason, or other “rational” explanations of God instead of going to Jesus Himself. Although people have found some use in looking for scientific proof of God, there will always be room for doubt that way.
On the other hand, if we believe that faith comes from God, there are more desirable affects.
We are likely to be more humble-minded and patient with those who do not have faith. We can also find comfort when dealing with doubt. Although it is natural to struggle with faith and these times can be painful and very hard, knowing that God gave us our faith can help tremendously. We know that He will give us everything we need to grow in the faith and overcome any obstacle that is standing in our way because Jesus is faithful and true.
With the first mindset you are at greater risk for pride, fear, hate, despair, and a tendency towards faithlessness. With the second mindset you are more likely to grow in humility, patience, peace, and a stronger faith.
There is no substitute for God-given faith that can withstand the temptations of this world and the strength of doubt.
We cannot simply reason our way to Jesus. We need divine persuasion.
Persuasion? Isn’t that in opposition to faith?
Many treat faith as though it is belief without evidence. That is not exactly the case.
We do not look for earthly evidence alone when dealing with things that are not of this world. We need access to God. God is a spirit. Through relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we have this access. We have evidence. We have divine persuasion.
Here are some scriptures to consider:
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 – Now we have received, not the sprit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things we also speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveith not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Romans 8: 38-39 – For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is beneficial to know that faith is not blind belief, but rather it is divine persuasion that comes from Jesus Himself!
Look for Jesus. Talk to Him.
If you don’t have faith, the best thing you can do is seek Jesus. Prayer can feel awkward at first, and that is okay. Humbly ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you, and keep asking. Although Jesus is not a person like you or I, He is a person. He appreciates persistence. It shows that you care and acknowledge that He is in control of the faith you’re looking for. This is good for you. It is good to know that you need Him, so sometimes He allows us to feel that desperation.
Don’t give up.
Jesus can hear you and respond with compassion no matter how bad a person you think you are. If we were born perfect we would not need Him. He made you and He knows you already. You cannot hide from Him, so talk to Him. Find the mercy and faith that only Jesus can give.
If you have some faith, ask Jesus to help you have greater faith. We can always seek more from God, no matter how far we think we have come. We all have room to grow in the faith.
Hebrews 11:6 – But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Although faith comes from God, we are actively participating in our Christian journey. For example, by faith we know that Jesus rewards those who seek Him.
We will think about this idea in the next article. What should we do with the faith that we are given?
Do you have questions or comments about this article? Do you have a faith story that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!