Faith is that ambiguous abstraction that usually sits on the living table next to the family Bible. How amazing is it that the one thing that we most need in our spiritual walk is the one thing we least understand. What is faith? The book of Hebrews says simply that it is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” How do you get it? The Bible in its concise, simplistic manner says it best “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” The only way to receive faith is to hear the word of God, and hearing is impossible without someone being sent who can preach and teach the word. George Rutler is such a man. He is a man of faith who believes that the Bible is the guide we must follow if we want to live a life pleasing to God.
Rutler is an alumnus of Dartmouth College and has graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins, Oxford, and the Angelicum University in Rome. This pastor of St. Michael’s Church in New York has demonstrated his faith in more than one crisis and in doing so has encouraged those who in a time of calamity felt hopeless and lost to look to the Lord for guidance. For this spiritual leader, the Cross is the heart of faith. If you lose the Cross and the suffering it symbolizes you lose your faith.
The Bible is filled with exhortations that encourage us when we feel weak or that our faith has failed. It first does this by reminding us of God’s love. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son,” faith is built around that love. All of us in times of trouble gravitate to sources of love.
“God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3) This passage assures us that we have it. Too often our lack of strength is due to our thinking that we don’t have faith. But from the beginning God in his mercy knew what we would need to make it in this life so he gifted every man with faith.
Trust is another spiritual and emotional element that is needed to strengthen our faith. “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not to your own understanding” the book of Proverbs says. Faith becomes weak when we take our eyes off of God and look at things through our own personal filters. George Rutler, spiritual leader of St. Michael’s the Archangel, says we must always look to the Cross. It is what happened there that helps us understand why we should trust in God. The reason is because he was willing to die for us. If we live in that reality, our faith becomes effective and strong.
The essence of faith, the thing faith must be built on is the word of God. That word in our heart, our mind, and our mouth creates an indelible mark in the world. It literally releases God into your situations.