1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (NIV)
The human creature is beyond complex. We are physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual in nature. And these are not compartmentalized. They blur into one another. And it can be difficult to distinguish our experience whether intellectual, emotional, or spiritual. But even our physical bodies can skew our experience through fatigue or sickness.
So then, what is faith? Is faith intellectual, spiritual, emotional? Can faith be physical? I would say the answer is yes and no.
Faith is first a mixture of intellectual and spiritual. Our intellect must comprehend what God has promised, then we must choose to believe in our spirit existing in conjunction with but beyond our intellect. And faith comes with conflict because of the nature of man’s makeup. Let me give you an example.
If an adult child moves away but promises their parents that they will visit often. The parents may wonder if this will really happen, but they can still choose to believe it. True faith occurs when the decision to believe, made in the spirit, not the intellect, overrides the intellect.
Faith is confidence, but chosen confidence. The Bible says to pray for those who are sick and a prayer of faith will heal them. As believers, we must have confidence in this. Nevertheless, we also know that God may not heal those we pray for until they reach Heaven. I can choose to have faith, but struggle. I can have faith that God is going to provide for me as He has promised, but this is a choice to be confident in my spirit, though intellectually I may struggle because I can’t see how God will do it. I may struggle emotionally because my intellect informs my emotion of the possibilities of lack. This may cause fatigue in my body because my heart is down.
Choosing to believe doesn’t alleviate doubts, fear, or fatigue. However, when we understand that a choice to believe must also be a choice to not entertain the doubts, fear, and fatigue that might arise. We take captive those thoughts and bend them forcefully into the faith we have chosen. As we practice this, our spirit relinquishes control to the Holy Spirit. The faith that begins smaller than a mustard seed grows stronger, more confident. This process of forcing our intellect, emotion, and physical selves into submission to our spirit’s faith choice is why many Christians don’t experience confident faith.
Prayer: Teach me Lord to choose to believe and force the rest of my makeup into submission to this choice, then let Your Spirit take over to fill me with confident faith, peace, joy, and love. Amen.