Listening or seeing – which is more important?
What is real faith?
Faith is our conduit to the Divine treasure box, it is what differentiates us from the World, it is what drives us, empowers us and sustains us. It’s our acceptance of God’s (Facebook) friend request. It’s also the one aspect of our Christian life that is intensely solitary and personal; unlike worship, prayer and study it can only ever be a one-to-One.
Even with such a cornerstone of our relationship with God, there is still a distinction between the Hebraic and Greek approach. Hebraically, faith is the act of believing, where God is a challenge, a wrestling match, as it was with Israel, when he was known as Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32). It’s full-on engagement, it can even be a struggle. Sometimes there’s a lot of bondage to loosen first. True abiding faith doesn’t always come without a struggle.
Our relationship with God should, in true Hebraic style, encompass both the spiritual and the physical. We should look to God for everything that makes up our lives, from spiritual needs to very real physical needs such as health, family and income. In terms of that latter consideration, I believe that a healthy view should cut out the middleman (i.e. your employer) and always consider God as your financial sustainer. If you operate within a mindset of everything I do is for the Lord, then He will look after your financial needs, though not always in predictable ways.
The Greek inclination is more like grappling with creeds, concepts and doctrines, rather than God Himself. It is engaging with the rules and regulations, rather than the source, the idea rather than the reality. This doesn’t mean that the Greek mind can’t have sufficient faith for salvation. But there is an inclination in our hearts (me included) to take refuge in peripheries rather than out-and-out engagement at the coal-face. There may also be a restraint to really going for it, with some of the issues mentioned earlier. There’s a lot of faith needed to believe that God created everything in six days and to be willing to defend this belief to your Christian peers, let alone non-believers. We must be willing to seem simple, naïve, even stupid in the eyes of the World and if our brothers and sisters in Christ think likewise, then the problem is surely theirs!
Consider the scenario of scientists claiming to have found life on Mars, albeit tiny microscopic life, but living and breathing (presumably) organisms. How would this affect your faith? If your faith was of the Greek variety, then this could be a hammer blow, because evidence has been presented that seems to be at odds with the clear doctrines taught, particularly those concerning Creation. Someone with a Hebraic faith, instead, would take up this matter with God in prayer and engage with Him and demand answers. Evidence can never disprove the existence of God, just our arguments for His existence.
This is an extract from the book, Hebraic Church, available for £10 at http://www.sppublishing.com/hebraic-church-101-p.asp