Faith is an abstract concept. Sometimes difficult to define and hard to describe. So how do we know if we are “doing it right?” How do we know if our faith is strong and genuine?
Although there is no official “faith test,” the eleventh chapter of Hebrews gives us a long list of real-life examples. These men and women, while not perfect, lived lives that demonstrated abiding faith in God. Faith that endured through any and every trial and into the eternity.
The individuals described in this “hall of faith” are different. They came from different backgrounds, faced different trials. God delivered some from their temporal struggles and others He delivered to glory. While their lives may have been different, their faith exhibited common characteristics.
A Faith Example for Us
The following faith characteristics, demonstrated in Hebrews 11, form a picture of what genuine, enduring faith looks like. We can evaluate our own faith by the faith of those who walked before us. But don’t be discouraged if you feel your faith falls short. These examples are from a lifetime, a life well-lived over time. Instead, let their faith encourage and challenge you to keep moving forward, to keep trusting, to continue to abide.
10 Characteristics of Lasting Faith
If you have time, read Hebrews 11:1-40 before you read through the list below.
- Assurance of God’s Promises (vs 1) – Faith is not living with our fingers crossed, it’s a firm confidence in God and His promises to us.
- Sacrificial lifestyle (vs 4) – Faith gives God our first and our best.
- Continuously seeds God (vs 6) – Faith is not a one-time decision. Faith chooses to believe in God and follow Him each day.
- Obeys in hard things (vs 7) – A life of faith is rarely “easy.” Obedience to God often runs contrary to our culture, and maybe even your family.
- Trusts God when we don’t understand (vs 8, 17) – We don’t often see God’s big picture. Usually we just see the next step, then the next. Sometimes the next step doesn’t even make sense to us, but faith trusts God has a plan and the power to carry it out.
- Keeps an eternal focus (vs 10, 13) – The best of God’s promises to us are eternal, they won’t be fully realized in this life.
- Trusts God to do the impossible (vs 11, 19) – Circumstances may feel insurmountable, but faith knows God is all-powerful.
- Fears God rather than man (vs 23, 27) – Faith doesn’t allow threats by man to keep it from obeying God.
- Doesn’t run after temporal pleasures (vs 25, 26) – Faith chooses God over the pleasure of sin and the love of money.
- Endures persecution for the sake of Christ (vs 35-38) – Although faith doesn’t seek persecution, it stands firm in God when it comes.
Faith Needs an Object
Our faith – our “belief, trust, and confidence” – needs an object. Our faith must be in something or Someone. The one true God, the Creator of all that is, is the only One worthy of our faith. Let’s us put our faith in God. He will not let us down.
You may also find these articles helpful:
- 6 Surprising Characteristics of Faith
- What does the Bible Say about Faith?
- A Simple Definition of Faith by Billy Graham
- 5 Signs of Authentic Faith