Faith:An action or an emotion
It is easy to assume that people understand what faith is. For over a year, I have asked many people what faith is, and what I got was incomplete and chaotic ideas and statements. Above all, most people would refer to Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.", insinuating that faith is emotion based. I decided to search the Bible to find out if faith is an action or an emotion.
I first started my search for the answer of whether or not faith is an action or an emotion,(or both)in the healings by Jesus in the New Testament. I began reading through the book of Matthew. Matthew 8:1-4, after Jesus came down from a mountain, with a crowd following Him, a leper approached Him(action), worshiped Him and asked if Jesus would heal him. Mt. 8:5-10, a Centurion approached Jesus(action) and asked that He heal his servant, sick at home. At first, the things that stood out to me was the facts that the leper "worshiped" Jesus, and the Centurion verbally acknowledges Jesus' authority, and put Jesus above himself! I decided to dig deeper.
My next stop in my search for what faith truly is was Matthew 9:1-8. After getting off a ship, some people brought a man laying on a bed(action), and it is written that this man had palsy. Jesus first forgave the man on the bed, and after some vocalized distaste by some observing scribes, Jesus then told the man to raise(action) and he was healed. Mt. 9:18-26, a certain ruler came to Jesus(action), worshiped Him and stated that his daughter was dead,and as Jesus is on His way to see the girl, a woman who had had a issue of the blood, touched Jesus' clothes(action) and was healed. Jesus told the woman that her faith had healed her and then proceeded to see the ruler's daughter and raised her from the dead. I stopped there, I began to see a pattern, so I wrote an outline of these stories and looked for common factors. I noticed that through out the stories of the good that Jesus did in His life, people either came to Jesus, at great risk to themselves, or was brought to Him(action) and truly believed that Jesus had the power to help them. In the time that Jesus lived, to be unclean(leper, blood issue) and to come into a group of people and risk contact would mean death, and for the woman with the blood issue to TOUCH Jesus, well all I can say is, good thing it was Jesus. Then you have the Centurion who acknowledged that Jesus was above him in authority and the ruler who publicly worshiped Him, while others carried people, tore off roofs, and even faced belittlement to receive help from Jesus. It would seem that it was not enough for them to believe that Jesus was healing, but they had to seek Him out.
I then decided to take a look at some of the Old Testament leaders of faith, and again, I began to see the same pattern. Noah, building the Ark, Abraham, who was told to offer his son a burnt offering, Joseph(who became ruler in Egypt), Moses, King David, and many others, all had the same things in common. They all acted based on what they believed about God in confidence. Perfect example being, King David as a boy, who took it on himself to defend Israel(action), standing there all by himself and stating that the Army he faced had not come against Israel, but had come against God Himself(belief)and then to stand there with a giant and to attack him with a sling shot and three stones(talk about confidence!). David was not confident in his own ability, but in what he knew about God. When we look at Moses, at the crossing of the reed sea in Exodus 14: 10-16, we see that after Moses ane Israel get to the Reed Sea and see the army of Egypt coming, the people cried out to God and then asked Moses if he brought them out to die in the wilderness. Then Moses tried to give some encouraging words, but God spoke to Moses, saying, "why do you cry out to me..lift up your rod and stretch out your hand(action) over the sea." Now, why did Moses follow God's command? Did he believe that God wanted him to stretch out his hand, and did he have the confidence that if he did that, that the seas would part? I would assume that the answer is yes to both questions. Then we have Jeremiah, who seemed to not want to be a prophet, had no friends and who, his own family members tried to kill, because of the message that he delivered for God. Imagine the emotional state he must have been in at any given time going through all that, and then witnessing the captivity of the Jewish people to Babylon. In the book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah expressing his feelings, saying things like it would have been better if he had never been born. Also, Jeremiah is also called by some, "the weeping prophet", due to how he shared his feelings in the book.
Also, I discovered that the Old Testament only had two scriptural references to our english word "faith", the rest of them were found in the New Testament. I came across three words in Hebrew, BATACH, 'to lean on a staff,' HASA, 'to run to a shelter,' and AMEN, which is to say, if God said it then it is, these three words can be descirbed as the Greek word PISTEO, which is differant from, PISTIS, the Greek word for our english word "faith". Where as the Bible would say something like, "With the enemy all around, he had faith in God', in the Hebrew it would say, '...he leaned on God like a staff". The problem with the translation was that we, who speak english, "do not have a verb(s)(for) 'faither' and 'faithing'," (Paster Melissa Scott, L.A. University Cathedral)which are action words, indicating that faith is an action. We can not say, "to faithe", or "we that faithe in God",(Pastor Melissa Scott)in the english language, we can only properly say "we who have faith".
In light of what I had discovered in studying the Word of God, I have personally come to the conclusion that faith is more than just action, but is action, based on belief, in confidence, as said by Dr. Gene Scott and Pastor Melissa Scott, "Action, based upon Belief, sustained by Confidence." To have faith and live in faith, in Christ, and to believe in the identity(Refer to "Identifying Self" by Tyrone Slade)we have in Christ, is to do the works of God.(Refer to "The Works of God" by Tyrone Slade)