“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1, NKJV).
As we read here in this verse, faith is substance. It’s not some ethereal thing. It’s not like smoke, where if you were to try to grab it, your would find your hand empty upon opening your fingers. It’s not like some feeble frame where if you were to try to lean on it, you would fall over. It doesn’t collapse when trials come. Instead, it gets stronger like a muscle with use. It’s a substance. It has a muscle to it.
As James explains to us, faith is made complete by our actions (2:22). It comes into fullness by what we do with it; by our works. Real faith demands action, demands usage. When we are walking in faith, we are walking forward. We are taking steps of faith in the direction of what we see with the eyes of our faith. We are engaging our faith with what God has shown us, with what He has promised us, with what He has spoken to our hearts. We fight the good fight of faith. We take hold of what God has said to us and move with it. It is powerfully substantial.
A.W. Tozer had an interesting commentary on this verse. He said: “Faith is seeing the invisible, but not the nonexistent.” Faith locks its gaze on what is invisible. Does your promise from Him seem immaterial still? What He has promised you does exist already, even if it has not manifested in the natural realm. Even if our five physical senses cannot perceive it, faith can. It already exists in God’s kingdom. The existence of His fulfilled promise to you is not just in theory or imagination or intention, but in actual Reality. God’s kingdom Reality.
The faith God has given you is evidence that He is doing things not yet visible in the unseen realm. He is at work in hidden places. He has called us to partner with Him in the process of moving things from the heavenly realm to the earthly realm. We keep marching forward with those aggressive steps of faith, in step with His Spirit, until what is coming is actually here.
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12, NKJV).
Abraham took matters into his own hands and had a son with Sarah’s handmaiden, discouraged with the long wait for God’s promise. And yet he is called the father of faith. How does this speak into our own faith journeys?