Faith is one of those words that seems to scare people. Because a person’s faith is something that is deeply personal, many are afraid to talk about it. I guess that’s why I’m here, to stir things up a bit! You see, faith means something different to everyone. So my question is, what is faith?
Faith, Religion, and Godliness
When I speak of faith, many times others respond by using the word “religion.” Are they the same thing?
You know by now that I use the Bible as my source of truth. In the Bible, the word “religion” is translated from the Greek word thrēskeia, which means “external religious worship, especially that which consists of ceremonies.” Religion is mankind’s way of trying to make himself right with God.
Religion is the opposite of godliness (eusebeia), which comes from the heart rather than external actions. Godliness describes one’s relationship with God rather than one’s actions toward God.
So why do people confuse faith and religion? Many people use the word “faith” to describe a group of people who hold common beliefs. Examples: the Christian faith, the Jewish faith, the Muslim faith.
So perhaps when I speak of faith, especially in business, people think I’m going to try to “convert” them. But it’s actually about how I choose to conduct myself in relationship to God in my life and my business. Then those core principles that I adhere to spill over into my relationships with others, regardless of their personal faith.
What is the Biblical Definition of Faith?
Let’s look to the Bible for our definition of faith.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not [yet] see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV
Hope is not wishing; it is a confident expectation of good. Faith is trust in the character and motives of God. Do you believe that God is good and wants only the best for you? If so, you have Godly faith.
You may have heard the expression that “faith is blind.” This saying is not in the Bible. In fact, it is the opposite of what the Bible teaches. Faith is never blind! God never expects us to believe something He has not promised.
Faith in Business
When I speak of faith in business, I’m talking about making a conscious decision to operate my business on Godly, Biblical principles rather than on worldly principles. For example, let’s look some verses from Colossians that describe how a person of Godly faith should behave.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5 NIV
Hmm… greed is idolatry. Not what the world teaches, is it?
“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:8-10 NIV
Lying is not a Godly principle of faith.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15
Forgiveness, not revenge or the taking of offense.
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:16-17
Most of these attributes are in opposition to how ungodly, worldly people behave. This is what makes a person of faith different. To walk in faith is to walk by the spirit of God in Christ in me. This new creation in us is all that matters.
Living by the world’s ways that are in opposition to God’s ways don’t produce the results we desire in our lives or our businesses.
“For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.” Galatians 5:6 NLT
We are to live by the faith which works by love. Love puts the concerns of others ahead of the concerns for self.
Regardless of the religious organization you affiliate with (or perhaps you shun them), everyone has faith, everyone believes in something that is their source of truth outside of themselves. When I speak of living in faith, I am not speaking of my “religion,” I am speaking of being true to what I believe in my deepest heart and soul.
What is faith to you? Do you live in faith?