Faith, the Foundation of Virtues
“… God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith.”
Faith is planted by God in the human heart from its first beat of life. It is faith that assures the innocent child that he or she is safe in the sanctity of his mothers womb.
This subconscious assurance is nothing less than the biblical definition of faith – “the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.” Hebrews 11:1 TLB
Most mothers can sense the trust that the little one has placed in them and adjust their lifestyles accordingly to become the safest haven their special little one could hope for. And a short time later the baby arrives to joyful tears, thankful hearts, and whispered prayers of dedication, asking God by faith for the wisdom and resources to provide for every need of this perfect, beautiful, wholly dependent, tiny child. Faith to faith.
Unfortunately, there are families full of brokenness where the caregivers themselves have battled, or are battling addiction, abuse, or some other evil and have reduced living to fearful, timid existence. Faith is not cultivated here, it is starved and beaten down. Survival reigns. The beautiful, affirming virtue of faith is lost and people begin living out of selfishness instead of hope. They deny the existence of God and sadly, in ignorance, are played the fool by Satan who wants only to steal your joy, kill your faith and destroy your destiny – “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” Ps.14:1
But the seed God planted is not dead, just dormant. And all it takes for a life to be restored is for one to look to God, turn to Him with whatever microscopic bit of faith remains and you find that He is right there, arms outstretched, waiting to love you and remake you into a person of faith.
“… Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 NLT
It is for this we are made. It is the essence of human nature. For virtuous faith is moving and active, not the opposite, fearful and inactive. Father Abraham was called righteous because of His faith, (Genesis 15:6) and what did Abrahams faith look like? It was bold, always in motion. He was told by God to gather his people and possessions and move to a land he didn’t know, and he up and left, with only the unction of God as his reason. (Genesis12:3) He believed God and did as God said – Faith. This happened time after time in his life.
The virtuous Christian life begins with John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Faith in Christ is not mental ascent, it is active. Faith moves us to repentance, baptism, communion, and the cultivation of the virtues by the grace of God. We act by faith in the light of God’s truth.
Life is meant to be lived by faith, believing in the loving purpose of God to be manifest in every situation, and moving forward without fear because He is good, and has called us to be lighthouses of confidence and faith in a world of fear and selfish dormancy.
If the virtues were a building, faith would be the foundation. Dig deep and fill your life with active, God-honoring faith, and the walls of love, hope, gentleness, self-control, and the rest will stand strong against any storm of life.
Recently I was holding one of our grand daughters, a little bundle of energy about 11 months old. She spotted something she wanted to investigate on a side table by the couch where we were sitting. She started navigating that way, up and over Papa’s left arm. Reaching. I gave plenty of leash, so to speak, wondering how this might end. Just when she got to the point where her admirable core strength wouldn’t hold her up anymore, she looked back at me for a moment.
Probably she knew she was going a little too far and expected me to reel her in. Or possibly she just wanted to confirm who was holding her. It was Papa. She was safe. So she turned back to her task and nearly jumped out of my arms stretching for the object she desired. I had a solid grip on one of her ankles so she was never in harms way, but she sure helped an old man understand a little more about faith. She knew she was free to move as far as possible within Papa’s grip. She wasn’t about to sit still and let life come to her, she want to go get it.