Faith is not a choice

Something I’ve been reflecting on recently.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

Faith is not a thing that can be placed. It is not a commodity that we possess, like so many chips at a casino, to place on a specific number in hopes that the roulette wheel lands on our guess…

Faith is a perception of reality. An “assurance” and a “conviction”.

Faith and belief are the same concept, as used in the new testament.

Faith does have an object. You believe in something. More accurately, having faith is accepting as reality, a concept, truth, statement of fact, etc.

When you faith something, (believe something), you aren’t choosing to acknowledge one reality over the next arbitrarily. Your reality shifts to include the thing you have faith in.

It is an “enlightenment” of sorts, though not in the buddhist sense, but in the “fumbling around in a dark room until someone flips the light-switch on” sense.

We are not told to “place our faith”, we are told to “have faith in God!” or another way to put it “believe God!”. It is also my conviction that this is not something an individual can do on their own. This sort of belief is a work of the Holy Spirit.

Do a word study on Faith with this lens. See what you come up with.

This is a thought in process and I’d be interested in hearing what you have to say about it. It is unrefined and needs help, which is why I posted it. Help.

(this post originally appeared at, I am slowly moving my theologically oriented posts from there to here.)





3 responses to “Faith is not a choice”

  1. Bettina Avatar

    I agree that faith does not rely solely on an individual's actions or convictions, that outside forces also work to shape it. But the individual does play some part, and in that way faith is a choice. How does one's perception of reality shift if the person, even if he doesn't do the shifting himself, isn't at least open to the powers that would shift it for him?

    1. Matt Heerema Avatar

      Good way to put it. But what you are describing isn't choice, it's reception. "Open to the powers that shift it."

      And in this way I agree with you.

      A good analogy I've heard (and showed up in the comments section at the other blog) was this: "I dare you to try and believe that the sun will not come up tomorrow."

      There is no way you could do that sincerely UNLESS someone with undeniable authority proved conclusively (showed you undeniable proof) that it won't happen. And at that point, what is the choice?

      Thanks for thinking hard and speaking out, Betina!

  2. Bettina Avatar

    You're welcome. Could you explain that analogy a little more, though? Is faith in God supposed to be like believing the sun won't come up tomorrow? That would be like turning your worldview almost completely around rather than "shifting" it.

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