Extracted from freecd's thread RESTING IS THE REQUIRED OBEDIENCE (with thanks). Any comments?
[i]Let us quickly look at what Biblical faith is not:
Faith is not an energy that resides within the believer. It is not a power that when built up and focused the believer has the ability to make things happen, even to the point of forcing God's hand. Faith is not a work, a struggle to arrive at a state of mind where the hoped for blessing can be seen or felt as being possessed.
Thousands of believers look upon the acquisition of faith as a mental struggle, or the intense focusing of thoughts on a desired object or promise in order to bring it into being. This is a work of the flesh, arising from the creature mind and has nothing to do with the faith the Bible speaks of which is a rest in God.
Others understand faith as something found in the words of a promise in Scripture. They repeat the words of a promise as if by continually repeating the words, they will cause the desired blessing to become a reality in their lives. This reduces the holy words of Scripture to the level of a magic spell in which they try to manipulate God into doing what He has said.
The Christian understanding of faith radically parts company with witchcraft, New Age, positive thinking, and self-help. All of these have one thing in common. They use words as a formula to gain a desired end. The faith of the Christian has nothing to do with formulas or spells, but it is rooted in the relationship with God that has been established by covenant.
Faith is not directed at the words of a promise but rests in the One who made the promise. The Bible knows nothing about faith being a formula that we can use to extract something from God. Faith is our trust response to the revelation God has given us of Himself. Faith cannot be merely a matter of ones mind. We hold much as true in our mind but we never commit ourselves to it. We are more than mind and faith must include the whole person. Faith may include intense feelings but faith is far more than feeling. It is possible to have overwhelming feelings while we are in an emotionally charged meeting, but we can get up the next morning and live as if nothing ever happened.
Faith is moving our whole person to rest in Christ and what He has accomplished for us and that must be a movement of spirit, mind, emotion, and body. We can liken faith to the eye of the spirit. The physical eye is not aware of itself unless something is wrong. The eye functions by seeing and recording an object. If it becomes self-conscious and looks at itself to see how good of an eye it is, then it ceases to function as an eye. Faith is not self-conscious, morbidly checking on itself to gauge its strength, but faith is continually looking at its object - God revealed in the Lord Jesus.
We do not find Biblical faith within us, either as a natural energy or as a labor, but in beholding and responding to His faithfulness and to His covenant oath. We trust in His character, that what He says, He will do. Faith is a responsive act of trust in a word from God. Faith comes from a revelation of the love and faithfulness of God specifically revealed in Jesus who is the covenant. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.
"...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith..." (Hebrews 12:2)
"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10.17)[/i]