Faith = that confidence, drawn out of us by God’s greatness, which makes us willing to entrust our whole selves to God.
Dr. Agan gave us this definition of faith today in class and I wanted to share it with you. Sometimes we think of faith as a substance that we either have or we don’t. Defining it in terms of confidence and trust makes it clear that we can have greater and lesser measures of it. “Drawn out of us by God’s greatness” means that the source of this faith is God’s Spirit creating this confidence in us. This idea reinforces to us that we can’t get faith on our own.
The question then is “how do we get more faith?” Being a good Presbyterian, Agan couldn’t say that actions we do can increase our faith, and in fact he said as much. Someone then asked “what about spiritual disciplines?” To him the spiritual disciplines put us in the place to encounter God’s Spirit. He said imagine that encountering God’s Spirit is like getting hit by a truck. What would we do if we wanted to get hit by a truck? We would go stand in the middle of the interstate. This positions us to get run over; getting run over being the goal in this analogy. Agan said, though, that people often miss the point of the spiritual disciplines and make them an end in themselves. Using our analogy, it is as if the interstate were something special in itself. “What amazing asphalt” you might say. But that isn’t the point. And in the real world prayer or fasting or solitude aren’t the point; encountering God’s Spirit is. I’ve probably Pentecostalized his language somewhat, but that is the gist of what he was saying. I thought that was very helpful.