First of all, let’s clear up some of the basics. Everyone has some faith. It is inherent within every human. God puts faith in us as a part of our makeup. We would not be human without faith. (This may be the one issue that does truly distinguish us from the animals.) Paul teaches us in Romans 1 that God has revealed himself to every human. In Ephesians 2.8 he tells us that it is through faith (a gift of God) that we receive the grace (another gift of God) that allows us to be saved. God’s grace gives us faith so that we can receive God’s grace.

What we have in 1 Corinthians 12, however, is something entirely different. God grants a gift of faith to work beyond what we expect to experience in the natural order of things. This supernatural gifting of faith is often seen in conjunction with gifts of healing and miracles (Matthew 17.20). When it seems that there is no way for God’s will to be accomplished, the believer in Jesus may receive a gift of faith that will allow him to believe for a miracle, a healing, a sign, etc. Often you will see the gift of faith and the gift of healing working in the same individual.

There are two words of caution for us.
·       Faith is different than belief. We can believe in ourselves, our potential, or our favorite sports team. Anyone can believe anything, including things that are not at all true. In contrast, faith comes from God. It’s origin is completely outside of the self. Pray, lest you confuse the two.
·       Faith is different than hope. I can hope that I get a better job. I hope that the conflict in the Middle East gets solved. I might hope that I win the lottery. Unfortunately, hope is little more than wishful thinking or superstition in many cases. Faith, on the other hand, comes from God, the source of all truth. Our experience allows us to have knowledge of God’s person that fills us with faith.

Finally, we must always remember that the object of our faith is God. It may be tempting to have faith in a particular leader, or even in ourselves. But in reality we should only have faith in the Lord himself.
·       Never put your faith in a person, no matter how gifted he or she may be. Let a charismatic leader inspire your faith in God.
·       You should not have faith in your church. Love your church and be fiercely committed to it. Allow your church to teach you and inspire you, but have faith in God.
·       Don’t have faith in a book, a sermon or any other “teaching.” All of these things should point you to God,  the one in whom we should have faith.
·       The hardest thought might be that we must not have faith in faith. Being filled with faith will perpetuate more faith, but faith ought to never be an end in itself. We have faith in God to build our faith and to do his work in our world.