Visit any Kindergarten classroom, and you’re sure to see the ABC’s on the wall. No matter the language the Alphabet or its equivalent is the building blocks of writing and communication. That basic understanding of the ABC’s leads to words and the sharing of thoughts, hopes, dreams, feelings, and fears. In the English language, we have twenty-six letters from A to Z. Perhaps you remember learning your ABC’s and the little song that is often used. Maybe you’ve laughed as a youngster struggled with the order and suddenly jumped from f to j. Is there little doubt that the ABC’s are basic and foundational?
For the next 13 weeks, we’re going to go through the ABC’s of Faith. Twenty Six articles exploring aspects of faith moving from A to Z. In many ways faith is like the Alphabet, it is basic to our walk with Jesus. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God,” the writer of Hebrews says. But faith is not about getting things from God, faith is about fully entering into our new life in Jesus.
There is one other distinction we must make before beginning. As we look into faith, the view is not on creedal or religious systems. As in “What faith are you?” We are instead exploring the trust we have in God. It seems like a simple thing yet, as we will see, there is more to faith than meets the eye.
The basic truth is that faith comes from somewhere. No one is capable of self-generating faith. It must be acquired. Paul, writing to the Romans, said that, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, NASB95) I don’t remember the first time I heard the story of Jesus, the cross, and the resurrection and accepted that sliver of faith. That moment in time when words changed from story to eternal truth. Just to be clear I’m not talking about the moment of salvation, I do remember that day. I’m looking further back to that initial first thing, that first step that began my journey. Even though I don’t remember that moment, it did happen.
The writer of Hebrews put down on parchment several important truths concerning faith that will be unpacked over the coming weeks. One such truth is this – “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, NASB95) What is in view for us today is that Jesus is the author and perfecter of faith. The New Living Translation puts it this way –Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Jesus is faith’s beginning and faith’s completer in us.
The first step of acquiring faith is acceptance. We hear and accept. Perhaps the most fundamental first glimmer of faith is simply accepting the possibility that God is. That one simple word must be heard and accepted so that a twinkling of faith may be acquired. But there are so many words, so many truths, that follow and each one must be heard and accepted to become faith.
Most folks reading this are well beyond the beginning. They’ve acquired faith in God, in Jesus, in the cross and resurrection. The question for them is how to grow and increase their faith. Perhaps you would put yourself in that category.
Remember that Jesus is both the initiator and the perfecter of our faith. We can get off track pursuing faith. The math is simple – the more you know Jesus, the more faith you will experience. I don’t mean know Him in the historical and factual sense but in the sense of relationship. That’s where faith begins and where faith grows.
The basic understanding that faith is acquired – that faith is heard, accepted, and received – puts us on the right path to discover aspects of faith we may have never considered. The acknowledgment that Jesus is the author, the initiator, of faith removes the pressure we may feel to make faith work. Faith is elementary like the ABCs. A, B C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, LMNOP, Q, R, S, T, U, V, WX, Y, and Z. Now I know my ABCs, tell me what you think of me.