Faith can be defined as “accepting the reality of what God has said.” Faith is not simply believing that something good will happen, or that it will “just all work out”; it is not “feeling warm about the possibilities of the future”. One wrong definition of faith is, “belief in something for which there is no proof”. Better, and more accurate to the biblical idea, faith is “fidelity to promises.” Biblically speaking, it is simply accepting God’s words as truth.

One day a man was having lunch with his friend, the skeptic. He said, “I have faith in God.”

The skeptic looked at him and responded: “Prove it!”

“Okay,” said the man, “To show you how great my faith in God is, I’m going to climb in an airplane, fly to 10,000 feet, and jump out—without a parachute! I have faith in God.”

So, the faithful man boarded an airplane; when the altimeter reached ten thousand feet, he walked to the door. Opening it, he cried in a loud voice: “I BE-lieve! Oh God, save me! I believe you will!”

And then he jumped.

At his funeral, the skeptic commented, “He certainly proved to me he had faith.”

Amusing, yes? What was the faithful man’s problem? His faith was not able to save him, because he misunderstood what constitutes true faith. God has never, ever promised to protect some fool who jumps out of an airplane at ten thousand feet. Faith can only be held for something God has promised, not for any and every fool thing imaginable we want. Just as God did not say, “Let there be purple people with green spots”, so God’s promises are limited, too. Do not leap unless God tells you.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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