We hear the word used all the time in all sorts of ways: Faith.
The Christian faith.
Walk by faith.
Living by faith.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for.
Keep the switch of faith turned on.
Have faith. Build your faith. Use your faith.
Your faith will see you through.
Since faith is central to Christianity (we're saved by grace through faith), then we ought to know how to clearly define it, obtain it, and use it. According to the Greek language (which the New Testament was written in thousands of years ago), "faith" is a fancy word for a firm persuasion or a conviction based upon hearing. Simply put, faith is what you believe.
Everyone has faith. Everyone believes something. The question is not, "Do you have faith?" The questions we need to ask ourselves (and then answer) are these:
1) What do I believe?
2) Am I allowing my beliefs to govern what I think, say, and do?
If we are truly Christian, then we are followers of Jesus Christ. And if we are truly Christian, we must form our beliefs solely based on God's Word. Then we must take the vital extra step and allow our beliefs to govern our life.
This is the step many Christians omit. It's easier to do whatever we feel like doing. It's less painful to simply go along with the cultural tide of our society. It's easier to think on whatever enters our mind and to say whatever we feel like saying. Basically, it's easier to live according to our feelings and carnal desires than to live by what our heart believes. But until we allow our Christian beliefs to govern what we think, say, and do, our Bible-based beliefs lie dormant and do us little good. Which in turn means that there will be little difference between our thoughts, words, and actions and those of non-Christians.
And that would be a crying shame.