Help! I need illustrations to define faith

Have you ever considered how hard it is to define words like love, hope, or even faith?


Have you ever considered how hard it is to define words like love, hope, or even faith? Shouldn’t we at least have a definition of faith, since this is a ‘faith column’? As a Christian I turn to God’s word to define faith. “Faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence (certainty) of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)

Sometimes definitions can be a clear as mud, which is why Hebrews 11 gives over 15 illustrations of faith to explain it. Actually, throughout the Bible God illustrates what faith is, especially faith in Jesus.

Why does God use and give us so many illustrations of believing in Jesus? First, faith is impossible without God. Unbelief comes naturally to us; faith is unnatural. Faith is given to us by God. (Ephesians 2:8) Second, everyone is different. We all have different situations and personalities; if God had only given us one picture of faith, it might not have suited everyone in every situation. (Hebrews 12:1) I don’t mean there are many roads to God; it simply means God gives faith to many different kinds of people in different situations. Third, God desires faith in Jesus. (John 3:16) Let’s open our Bibles beside the newspaper and be encouraged by ten illustrations of what it means to have faith:

1. Believing in Jesus (Acts 16:31): Instead of being pessimistic cynics who doubt and question Jesus and His word, we become optimistic believers who put full confidence in Him and all that He says.

2. Coming to Jesus (Matt. 11:28): Instead of hiding from Jesus like outlaws trying to evade the RCMP, we move towards Him as one who gives rest from our burden of guilt.

3. Trusting in Jesus (Prov. 3:5): Instead of leaning on our understanding, we put all our confidence in Him as our Savior. We are then leaning on Him like we would when we lean on or trust a sturdy bridge to carry us across a river. Would you trust an unreliable bridge to carry you across a raging river?

4. Looking to Jesus (Is. 45:22): Instead of shutting our eyes to Jesus, we see Him as a suitable and perfect Savior in and through His word.

5. Resting in Jesus (Heb. 4:10,11): Instead of laboring and sweating to build our own little shack, we give up all our works and walk through the open door of the palace of salvation He has already built and there rest in perfect peace with God.

6. Receiving Jesus (John 1:12): Instead of trying to give Jesus our best efforts, we simply receive Jesus and His perfect work. Faith is an instrument like an IV tube transferring fluids into your body or an umbilical cord connecting an infant in the womb to the strength and nourishment of his mother.

7. Calling upon Jesus (Rom. 10:13): Instead of ignoring or refusing to pick up His call, perhaps even cursing on the line or hanging up on Him; we start calling upon His name for everything.

8. Turning to Jesus (Ez. 33:11, 1 Thess. 1:9): Instead of following our own GPS over the cliff of idolatry to certain destruction, we turn in the opposite direction and start following His GPS to eternal life.

9. Obeying Jesus (Eph. 6:10-18): Instead of fighting against Jesus; we fly the white flag of surrender, hand over our weapons of rebellion, and take up the spiritual weapons of the Lord.

10. Clinging to Jesus (Gen. 32:24-26): Instead of clinging to sinful pleasures; we cling to Jesus and pray, “I will not let You go until my hope is certain and sure.”

There are many other illustrations of faith as well proving faith is perfectly pictured in the Bible; so my question is this, “Do you believe that He doesn’t want you to believe in Jesus?”

Scott Dibbet is a pastor at the Lacombe Free Reformed Church.