My preferred definition of faith is Dr. Frederick K. C. Price’s. He said, “Faith is what you do because you believe.” Put differently, faith is what you do on the basis of your belief. Belief, on the other hand, is what you know and hold to be true. Belief, therefore, is the substrate on which faith grows.
When you act on your belief or belief system, it becomes faith. This has implications when you’re evaluating the results you’ve achieved with the aim of improving on them. I will come to that later on in this article.
Everyone has faith
The above definition of faith alludes to the fact that everyone has a measure of faith. I say this because everyone does one thing or the other. When you enter your car in the morning, take a taxi or board an airplane, that’s faith in action. You do all the above because you believe that your car, the taxi or airplane will take you to your destination. If for any reason, you doubt that any of those means of transportation will take you to your destination, you would likely not make use of them.
It’s a misconception to call some persons, people of faith. To the extent that we all engage in one activity or the other, it means we all have faith. Even when people refuse to take action, it’s also based on certain beliefs. The only difference is that when someone consistently refuses to take action for reasons of whatever belief they have, we never say s/he is acting in faith. We call him or her a fearful person.
Many other examples of the faith people exhibit abound. For example, when you’re ill and you go to see your doctor, it’s based on your belief that the doctor will solve your health problems. The act of going to see your doctor is faith.
Faith and Decision Making
Your belief and your faith (what you do) are influenced by three possible outcomes: uncertainty, risk and certainty. With uncertainty, you have little or no information on which you can base your decision. It’s advisable not to operate in this sphere because the outcome is highly unpredictable. Notwithstanding the unpredictability of decisions made on this premise, some people are comfortable operating here. These are people we call gamblers.
Risks are situations whereby you have some information on which to base your decision. That is, your belief is routed in some information you’ve been able to access. It’s worthwhile to mention that you can transform uncertainty to risk situation by gathering valuable information. As a matter of fact, most decision making process regarding a new subject area start with uncertainty. It’s in gathering information about the decision to be made that you end up with risk situation where you can then decide based on the probability of outcomes.
Certainty situations, however, are ideal conditions people hardly attain because nobody has perfect (complete) information concerning anything. Even if it were possible to attain perfect information, the time period it would take to arrive at that point would most likely result in not much benefit because the less risk-averse persons would have taken advantage of whatever opportunities there are. When you over-analyze issues, in which case you try to minimize your risks, the reward also diminishes because of the direct relationship between risks and returns.
The path to certainty of outcome
Certainty as previously explained is a situation whereby you act based on perfect or complete information. This takes us to something fundamental about belief, which is that belief is always in certain things or persons.
Your faith could either be in one of three things: objects, persons (including yourself) or a Supreme Being (whatever your idea of that Supreme Being is). For me the Supreme Being is the living God, the creator of the heavens and earth.
Every act of faith based on the belief in objects, persons and Supreme Beings other than the living God will result in uncertainty or risky outcomes because none of these things have access to perfect information and are therefore unable to pass same to those that believe in them.
However, my personal experience with the living God is that whenever I act in faith based on my belief on His revelation to me, the outcomes are desirable – all the time. This has led to my conclusion that it’s only faith in the living God that results in certainty of outcome.
This is however not surprising because the Scripture says that God knows the end from the beginning. As a result, He can show you the end of whatever action you’re about to take and when you take the action, the result will always coincide with what He has shown you.
To the extent that you can’t live without faith, it stands to reason that you endeavour to make sure your acts of faith bring about the desired results with certainty. This can only happen when the object of your faith is God.
If you’re desirous of achieving certainty of outcomes in all your activities in life, your best choice is to believe in God and act based on your belief in who He is, as expounded in His word – the Bible. When you do, you would never have cause to worry about the outcome of what you do. I’ve lived a better part of my adult life this way and I can tell you – It works!