What the Bible Says About Faith

By Andy Stanley
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
©Thinkstock Images

Dispel three myths about faith that your children might believe and help them understand what faith is and the nature of this gift that comes from God.

How elusive is the concept of faith? You may not be able to define it when asked, but its meaning becomes apparent in how you live your life. And your children will pick up on this.

As they observe your life and learn to pray for their own needs, they may think about faith in a way that makes God their own personal genie. Why wouldn’t they want the most powerful Being in the universe, the Creator of all, to do what they want, when they want it? Yet God doesn’t always deliver in the way kids may feel He should.

If your children have arrived at conclusions that don’t reflect what faith in God truly is, you can help them better understand the nature of this gift. Here are three myths you can talk about and dispel:

Myth No. 1:

God doesn’t answer our prayers because we don’t have enough faith.

The problem: Even those of us who have been Christians for a while occasionally wonder why God doesn’t seem to answer our prayers. Your children are no different. They may think that if they have enough faith, their prayers will be answered in the way they want them answered—an “A” on a test, a new bike, for friends to be nice to them.

Your response: The quantity of your child’s faith does not drive the result he wants. To help your child understand this, stress that who he has faith in—Jesus Christ—is more important than how much faith he has.

Myth No. 2:

You can force God to do what you want, if you have enough faith.

The problem: The strength of your child’s faith will ebb and flow if she thinks that faith is a Star Wars-esque “force” that she can train and tame to influence God to do what she wants done.

Your response: Faith is not a formula that your kids merely need to figure out, like the combination to a lock. There is no recipe for doing things a certain way, a strategy that somehow forces God to do what you want done. To help your children understand this, explain that faith is not confidence that something will happen or even hope that it will happen. It is a pure and simple trust that God knows what is best.

Myth No. 3:

Our faith in God rests on His blessings in our lives.

The problem: Your kids may have confidence and hope in what they want God to do and in what He has done for them based off what they see in their circumstances—they got that  “A” on a test, were given that new bike, have those good friends. But faith shouldn’t rest on circumstances alone, because at some point, bad things will happen. Those bad situations mustn’t lead to lost faith or the belief that God isn’t there.

Your response: Help your children see that we must not look at our history of blessings, but instead at God himself, His love, His truth and His character. There is nothing wrong with praising God for the blessings He has given them, but faith must be focused on who God is and not on the comfort in our lives.

What is faith?

Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Kids might desperately hope for something, but faith is being sure of that thing. It is simply the confidence that God is who He says He is and that He’ll do everything He’s promised to do.

This faith is illustrated in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. Paul is drawn close to God, but also has a severe affliction. He responded to it by approaching God at his point of need. He asked confidently, fully expecting God’s grace and mercy. Paul did not receive physical relief, but he did hear God say, “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” Paul chose to embrace his weakness as another means for drawing closer to God. His faith was in God and not in his own circumstances.

As described in Luke 5:12: A man who “was full of leprosy” fell before Jesus and begged, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus healed him because of his faith. It’s as if He said, “That’s all the faith I’m looking for. You recognized who I am and what I’m able to do, and you humbly asked.” The leper’s faith was focused on Jesus, on His power and goodness, not on whether Jesus healed him.

Help your kids recognize that the goal of faith is not to get God to do what we want Him to do; the goal is to get us to live with a right understanding of the character and promises of God. Ultimately, faith comes down to trusting that God knows what He is doing and our believing in what He has promised.

Andy Stanley is the pastor and founder of North Point Ministries, Inc., an organization that has the goal of establishing churches that attract “unchurched” people. His full message about faith can be found in Faith, Hope and Luck, a five-DVD set and study guide

Copyright © 2016 by Andy Stanley. Used by permission.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley is the founder of North Point Ministries and the senior pastor of North Point Community Church, a multi-campus congregation based in Alpharetta, Ga. He is also an author of numerous books including The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating, Ask It, and Deep and Wide. Andy and his wife, Sandra, have three grown children. Learn more about Andy …

You May Also Like

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.

If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.