WHAT IS THE EVIDENCE OF FAITH?

Can faith be proven? What is the evidence of faith?
By: Rev. Phil Dieke, Associate Pastor of Disciple and Digital Ministry

The other day my daughter lost a tooth while at school. Amazingly, the tooth made it home and she insisted we put it under her pillow for the tooth fairy. As they were getting ready for bed my oldest daughter asked, “Is the tooth fairy real or do you give us money?” 
“What do you think?” I asked.
She responded, “Well, I believe the tooth fairy is real, but my friend said she read on the internet that the tooth fairy is not real and parents put money under our pillow. But I know… not everything is real on the internet.” 
What a lovely, and complicated conversation. I believe the tooth fairy is real… not everything is real on the internet. There is some truth to all of her statements, even if not all of it is factual. Will her heart be broken when she one day learns that the tooth fairy does exist, but it is indeed her dad? Will she always remember that not everything is real on the internet (dear God I hope so!). 
Conversations on belief, truth, and faith are tricky to say the least, yet they are important as we establish and continue to evolve our worldview.
What criteria do we use to determine what is true?
Why do we believe certain things and not others?
What evidence do we require to have faith?
What is the evidence of faith?
Evidence is defined as “the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid,” (dictionary.com). The body of facts. We don’t often talk about facts when we talk about faith. Facts are based on that which is seen, faith that which is unseen (see Hebrews 11:1). Based on this criteria, it is hard to determine the evidence of faith, specifically the Christian faith.
How would you prove your Christian faith?
Can faith be proven? 
To identify evidence of faith, it is important to have a solid understanding of what faith is. Often faith is associated with belief, and while belief plays its role, to reduce faith only to belief does not do justice to the Greek word pistis - the word translated as faith in the scriptures. While belief is a component, faith is more than just an intellectual understanding. Another word used to understand pistis is trust. 
How does trust play a role in faith?
In my opinion belief only gets us so far when it comes to faith. I can believe something, but that belief may or may not influence my behavior. Trust, on the other hand, trust alongside belief influences my actions. Belief is intellectual; trust gets down to the heart. Belief is easily swayed; trust is earned over time.
If faith is a combination of belief and trust, then what is the evidence of faith? Fruit.

Matthew 7:15-20 helps us understand this:
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.

How do you identify this sort of fruit? What is the difference between good and bad fruit? Is fruit associated with belief? With action? Let us know your thoughts and join us for the next few weeks as we explore “Evidence: A Series on Faith that Bears Fruit.”

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