Mind, Character and Personality/Faith
A Definition of Faith—Faith, saving faith, is to be taught. The definition of this faith in Jesus Christ may be described in few words: It is the act of the soul by which the whole man is given over to the guardianship and control of Jesus Christ. He abides in Christ and Christ abides in the soul by faith as supreme. The believer commits his soul and body to God and with assurance may say, Christ is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. All who will do this will be saved unto life eternal. There will be an assurance that the soul is washed in the blood of Christ and clothed with His righteousness and precious in the sight of Jesus. Our thoughts and our hopes are on the second advent of our Lord. That is the day when the Judge of all the earth will reward the trust of His people.—MS 6, 1889.
Other Definitions—Through faith we receive the grace of God, but faith is not our Saviour. It earns nothing. It is the hand by which we lay hold upon Christ and appropriate His merits.—The Desire of Ages, 175 (1898).
Faith is trusting God—believing that He loves us and knows best what is for our good. Thus, instead of our own, (p.532) it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership and accepts its blessing. Truth, uprightness, purity, have been pointed out as secrets of life’s success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these principles.—Education, 253 (1903).
Simple in Operation—Faith is simple in its operation and powerful in its results. Many professed Christians, who have a knowledge of the Sacred Word and believe its truth, fail in the childlike trust that is essential to the religion of Jesus. They do not reach out with that peculiar touch that brings the virtue of healing to the soul.—Redemption: The Miracles of Christ 3:97 (1874). (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 6:1074.)
Humility Is Not Faith—Humility, meekness, and obedience are not faith; but they are the effects, or fruit, of faith.—Testimonies for the Church 5:438 (1885).
Faith Gives Self-reliance—These things [the account of Paul’s trust in God] were not written merely that we might read and wonder, but that the same faith which wrought in God’s servants of old might work in us. In no less marked a manner than He wrought then will He work now wherever there are hearts of faith to be channels of His power.
Let the self-distrustful, whose lack of self-reliance leads them to shrink from care and responsibility, be taught reliance upon God. Thus many a one who otherwise would be but a cipher in the world, perhaps only a helpless burden, will be able to say with the apostle Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).—Education, 256 (1903).
Faith Needed Every Step of the Way—Faith is needed in the smaller no less than in the greater affairs of life. (p.533) In all our daily interests and occupations the sustaining strength of God becomes real to us through an abiding trust.—Education, 255 (1903).
Teach Faith—How to exercise faith should be made very plain. To every promise of God there are conditions. If we are willing to do His will, all His strength is ours. Whatever gift He promises is in the promise itself. “The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). As surely as the oak is in the acorn, so surely is the gift of God in His promise. If we receive the promise, we have the gift.—Education, 253 (1903).
Faith Has Precious Lessons for Children—For the child ... who is quick to resent injuries, faith has precious lessons. The disposition to resist evil or to avenge wrong is often prompted by a keen sense of justice and an active, energetic spirit. Let such a child be taught that God is the eternal guardian of right. He has a tender care for the beings whom He has so loved as to give His Dearest Beloved to save. He will deal with every wrongdoer.—Education, 256, 257 (1903).
Mind to Be Educated to Exercise Faith—Faith works by love and purifies the soul from all selfishness. Thus the soul is perfected in love. And having found grace and mercy through Christ’s precious blood, how can we fail to be tender and merciful? “By grace are ye saved through faith” (Ephesians 5:8). The mind should be educated to exercise faith rather than to cherish doubt and suspicion and jealousy. We are too prone to look at obstacles as impossibilities.
To have faith in the promises of God, to walk forward by faith, pressing on without being governed by circumstances, is a lesson hard to learn. Yet it is a positive necessity that every child of God learn this lesson. The grace of God through Christ is to be ever cherished; for it is given to us as the only way of approaching God. Faith in the words of God, spoken by Christ enshrouded in the (p.534) pillar of cloud, would have enabled the children of Israel to leave a record of a very different character. Their lack of faith in God gave them a very checkered history.—MS 43, 1898.
Faith and Presumption—Some have professed to have great faith in God and to have special gifts and special answers to their prayers, although the evidence was lacking. They mistook presumption for faith. The prayer of faith is never lost; but to claim that it will be always answered in the very way and for the particular thing we have expected is presumption.—Testimonies for the Church 1:231 (1861).
Presumption Is Satan’s Counterfeit—Faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption, for presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression.
Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.—The Desire of Ages, 126 (1898).
Cultivate Faith—Those who talk faith and cultivate faith will have faith; but those who cherish and express doubts will have doubts.—Testimonies for the Church 5:302 (1885).
Do not think that because you have made mistakes you must always be under condemnation, for this is not necessary. Do not permit the truth to be depreciated before your mind because those who profess it do not live consistent lives. Cherish faith in the truth of the third (p.535) angel’s message. If you do not cultivate faith, its importance will gradually lose its place in your mind and heart. You will have an experience like that of the foolish virgins, who did not supply oil for their lamps, and their light went out. Faith should be cultivated. If it has become weak, it is like a sickly plant that should be placed in the sunshine and carefully watered and tended.—Lt 97, 1895.
Faith Rises Above the Shadows—When clouds come between your soul and God, when all around you is dark and forbidding, when the enemy stands ready to rob the soul of its integrity to God and the truth, and when error stands out plausible and attractive, then it is time to pray and exercise faith in God.... Cherishing faith, the soul is enabled to rise beyond itself and penetrate the hellish shadow which the enemy casts athwart the pathway of every soul that is striving for an immortal crown.—Lt 30, 1896. (HC 126.)
Faith Rests Upon Evidence—The word of the Lord, spoken through His servants, is received by many with questionings and fears. And many will defer their obedience to the warning and reproofs given, waiting till every shadow of uncertainty is removed from their minds. The unbelief that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to the evidence that God is pleased to give. He requires of His people faith that rests upon the weight of evidence, not upon perfect knowledge. Those followers of Christ who accept the light that God sends them must obey the voice of God speaking to them when there are many other voices crying out against it. It requires discernment to distinguish the voice of God.—Testimonies for the Church 3:258 (1873).
We should know for ourselves what constitutes Christianity, what is truth, what is the faith that we have received, what are the Bible rules—the rules given us from the highest authority. There are many who believe, without a reason on which to base their faith, without (p.536) sufficient evidence as to the truth of the matter. If an idea is presented that harmonizes with their own preconceived opinions, they are all ready to accept it. They do not reason from cause to effect. Their faith has no genuine foundation, and in the time of trial they will find that they have built upon the sand.—Lt 4, 1889.
Faith Should Be Expressed—If we would give more expression to our faith, rejoice more in the blessings that we know we have—the great mercy, forbearance, and love of God—we would daily have greater strength. Have not the precious words spoken by Christ, the Prince of God, an assurance and power that should have great influence upon us, that our heavenly Father is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him than parents are to give good gifts to their children?—Lt 7, 1892. (Selected Messages 2:243.)
Faith Not to Be Confused With Feeling—Many have confused ideas as to what constitutes faith, and they live altogether below their privileges. They confuse feeling and faith, and are continually distressed and perplexed in mind; for Satan takes all possible advantage of their ignorance and inexperience....
We are to accept of Christ as our personal Saviour, or we shall fail in our attempt to be overcomers. It will not answer for us to hold ourselves aloof from Him, to believe that our friend or our neighbor may have Him for a personal Saviour but that we may not experience His pardoning love. We are to believe that we are chosen of God, to be saved by the exercise of faith, through the grace of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit; and we are to praise and glorify God for such a marvelous manifestation of His unmerited favor.
It is the love of God that draws the soul of Christ, to be graciously received and presented to the Father. Through the work of the Spirit the divine relationship between God and the sinner is renewed. The Father says: “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people. I will (p.537) exercise forgiving love toward them and bestow upon them My joy. They shall be to Me a peculiar treasure; for this people whom I have formed for Myself shall show forth My praise.”—Sanitarium Announcement, 2, 1893. (HC 77.)
Faith and Feeling Are Distinct—Feeling and faith are as distinct from each other as the east is from the west. Faith is not dependent on feeling. Daily we should dedicate ourselves to God and believe that Christ understands and accepts the sacrifice, without examining ourselves to see if we have that degree of feeling that we think should correspond with our faith. Have we not the assurance that our heavenly Father is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him in faith than parents are to give good gifts to their children? We should go forward as if to every prayer that we send to the throne of God we heard the response from the One whose promises never fail. Even when depressed by sadness, it is our privilege to make melody in our hearts to God. When we do this, the mists and clouds will be rolled back, and we will pass from the shadow and darkness into the clear sunshine of His presence.—MS 75, 1893. (HC 120.)
Not a Matter of Impulse—Many pass long years in darkness and doubt because they do not feel as they desire. But feeling has nothing to do with faith. That faith which works by love and purifies the soul is not a matter of impulse. It ventures out upon the promises of God, firmly believing that what He has said, He is able also to perform. Our souls may be trained to believe, taught to rely upon the Word of God. That Word declares that “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17), not by feeling.—The Youth’s Instructor, July 8, 1897. (HC 119.)
Do Not Rely on Feelings—Let us put away everything like distrust and want of faith in Jesus. Let us commence a life of simple, childlike trust, not relying upon feeling but upon faith. Do not dishonor Jesus by doubting His precious (p.538) promises. He wants us to believe in Him with unwavering faith.—Lt 49, 1888. (HC 119.)
Act Positively in Faith—Keep looking unto Jesus, offering up silent prayers in faith, taking hold of His strength, whether you have any manifest feeling or not. Go right forward as if every prayer offered was lodged in the throne of God and responded to by the One whose promises never fail. Go right along, singing and making melody to God in your hearts, even when depressed by a sense of weight and sadness. I tell you as one who knows, light will come, joy will be ours, and the mists and clouds will be rolled back. And we pass from the oppressive power of the shadow and darkness into the clear sunshine of His presence.—Lt 7, 1892. (Selected Messages 2:242, 243.)
Faith and Evidence of Christianity—When you receive help and comfort, sing to the praise of God. Talk with God. Thus you will become a friend of God. You will rely on Him. You will obtain a faith that will trust whether you feel like trusting or not. Remember that feeling is not an evidence that you are a Christian. Implicit faith in God shows that you are His child. Trust in God. He will never disappoint you. He says, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:18, 19). We do not see Christ in person. It is by faith that we behold Him. Our faith grasps His promises. Thus it was that Enoch walked with God.—MS 27, 1901.
Faith Is Real—Moses did not merely think of God, he saw Him. God was the constant vision before him. Never did he lose sight of His face.
To Moses faith was no guesswork; it was a reality. He believed that God ruled his life in particular; and in all its details he acknowledged Him. For strength to withstand every temptation, he trusted in Him.—Education, 63 (1903). (p.539) Faith in Christ, Not the Robe—As He was passing, she [the infirm woman] reached forward and succeeded in barely touching the border of His garment. That moment she knew that she was healed. Her faith was centered, not in the robe, but in Him who wore the robe. In that one touch was concentrated the faith of her life, and instantly her pain and feebleness disappeared. Instantly she felt the thrill as of an electric current passing through every fiber of her being. There came over her a sensation of perfect health. “Straightway ... she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague” (Mark 5:29).—Lt 111, 1904.
Faith Is Not in Things—There was no healing power in the garment. It was faith in the Person who wore the garment which restored her to health.—MS 105, 1901.
Faith Discriminates—Faith is the medium through which truth or error finds a lodging place in the mind. It is by the same act of mind that truth or error is received, but it makes a decided difference whether we believe the Word of God or the sayings of men. When Christ revealed Himself to Paul and he was convinced that he was persecuting Jesus in the person of His saints, he accepted the truth as it is in Jesus. A transforming power was manifested on mind and character, and he became a new man in Christ Jesus. He received the truth so fully that neither earth nor hell could shake his faith.—The Signs of the Times, June 5, 1893. (Selected Messages 1:346.)
Faith a Mighty Healer—Faith is a mightier conqueror than death. If the sick can be led to fix their eyes in faith upon the Mighty Healer, we shall see wonderful results. It will bring life to the body and to the soul.—The Ministry of Healing, 62 (1905).
Daily Exercise of Faith—I find that I have to fight the good fight of faith every day. I have to exercise all my (p.540) faith and not rely upon feeling; I have to act as though I knew the Lord heard me and would answer me and bless me. Faith is not a happy flight of feeling; it is simply taking God at His word—believing that He will fulfill His promises because He said He would.—Lt 49, 1888. (HC 119.)
Faith Works—When you look to Calvary, it is not to quiet your soul in the nonperformance of duty, not to compose yourself to sleep, but to create faith in Jesus, faith that will work, purifying the soul from the slime of selfishness. When we lay hold of Christ by faith, our work has just begun.
Every man has corrupt and sinful habits that must be overcome by vigorous warfare. Every soul is required to fight the fight of faith. If one is a follower of Christ, he cannot be sharp in deal, he cannot be hardhearted, devoid of sympathy. He cannot be coarse in his speech. He cannot be full of pomposity and self-esteem. He cannot be overbearing, nor can he use harsh words, and censure and condemn.—MS 16, 1890. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 6:1111.)
Molds the Life—The life is molded by the faith. If light and truth is within our reach and we neglect to improve the privilege of hearing and seeing it, we virtually reject it; we are choosing darkness rather than light.—The Great Controversy, 597 (1888).
Faith Promises Success—We shall have success if we move forward in faith, determined to do the work of God intelligently. We must not allow ourselves to be hindered by men who love to stand on the negative side, showing very little faith. God’s missionary work is to be carried forward by men of much faith and is steadily to grow in force and efficiency.—Lt 233, 1904.
Faith Purifies the Soul—Faith, living faith, we must have, a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. We (p.541) must learn to take everything to the Lord with simplicity and earnest faith. The greatest burden we have to bear in this life is self. Unless we learn in the school of Christ to be meek and lowly, we shall miss precious opportunities and privileges for becoming acquainted with Jesus. Self is the most difficult thing we have to manage. In laying off burdens, let us not forget to lay self at the feet of Christ.
Hand yourself over to Jesus, to be molded and fashioned by Him, that you may be made vessels unto honor. Your temptations, your ideas, your feelings, must all be laid at the foot of the cross. Then the soul is ready to listen to words of divine instruction. Jesus will give you to drink of the water which flows from the river of God. Under the softening and subduing influence of His Spirit your coldness and listlessness will disappear. Christ will be in you a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.—Lt 57, 1887.
Opens Secrets of Life’s Success—True faith and true prayer—how strong they are! They are as two arms by which the human suppliant lays hold upon the power of Infinite Love. Faith is trusting in God—believing that He loves us and knows what is for our best good. Thus, instead of our own way, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership and accepts its blessing. Truth, uprightness, purity, are pointed out as secrets of life’s success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these. Every good impulse or aspiration is the gift of God; faith receives from God the life that alone can produce true growth and efficiency.—Gospel Workers, 259 (1915).