Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things of unseen” (KJV). The NIV renders this verse, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.” Faith is not nothing. It is the invisible substance or heavenly matter from which everything in the universe, seen and unseen is derived. Faith is critical because without it we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6). Four times in Scripture we are told that the just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38) which means that faith is the prescribed way for every believer to live. It is the law of the kingdom of God (Romans 3:27) and the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4-5).
What passes for faith these days, however, is too often presumption or wishful thinking. God honors Bible faith, not presumption, so it is critical to understand the difference between presumption and faith, and how faith is developed and used. F. F. Bosworth famously said, “Faith begins where the will of God is known.” To know the will of God we must know his Word. Unless our believing God is based on the promises of his word, we will most likely be in presumption, and God is not obligated to honor our presumption because we are only authorized to believe what God has said.
To understand the difference between faith and presumption, suppose someone tells a friend you are going to take their family to Disney World. What would mark this as faith and separate it from presumption is if you actually told that person you were going to take them to Disney World. They have no right to believe that if you never said that. It’s the same way with the Word of God. We can’t believe God for things he didn’t say. We just can make something up he didn’t say and declare we are believing God for that because real Bible faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 1:17).
Faith does begin where the will of God is known, but it does not end there. Faith begins where the will of God is known, but it is established in grace, energized by love, developed on a blueprint of hope, undergirded by patience, released by confession, made alive by action, activated by praise, and identified by joy. The process begins when the Holy Spirit creates a vivid picture on your heart of what can be based on the Word. As Jerry Savelle said, “The heart is the canvas, the Word is the paint, and the Holy Spirit is the artist.” The inner image of your heart affects your decisions, direction, and ultimately your destiny. Change that image and you change your future. You can be assured that any picture painted on your heart by the Holy Spirit using the Word of God is always faith and never presumption. That’s something you should believe every time.