"Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see..." Hebrews 11:1
And thus begins the beginning of the most famous "faith chapter" in all the 1,189 chapters in the whole Bible, including, if you read on, practical examples from real human lives. But first - you know me! - I want to take issue with the way, most of the time, we've heard and been taught and internalized the meaning of this very well-known opening verse. Take a read-through again in the Phillips translation and, then, in the NIV:
Yet the way it seems we've heard and understood this verse is at a position of remove, like "faith" is some remote action of shooting hopes out into the unknown darkness. The actual Greek wording would beg to differ, though: consider it:
“Faith is the foundation of the things hoped-for, the proof of things not presently seen.”
I think, oftentimes, we think of "faith" as a means to get somewhere - to peace, to calm, to Heaven - when, in fact, to believe means you've already arrived. Faith is the Heavenly we can hold onto; it's the economy of Life itself; as the King James' captures it so perfectly, it is "the substance" - the tangible, touchable - of what we claim to believe.
For us to first just sit in a room and truly believe what we say we believe about Jesus is the most powerful human activity available to us. All true Christian doings can only proceed from there.
What - and how - do we really believe?