A persons faith is the most precious thing they possess. What we are talking about is the system of beliefs that one patterns their life after. With that definition, even the most anti-God individual has a faith. Their faith just happens to be rooted in the non-belief in God and their own set of standards, but make no mistake it is a faith.
As postmodernism has creeped into the religious world, a phrase has begun to be used more and more. That phrase is “my faith” and it is used to say that each person has an individual faith based on their own personal experiences. Because of this, it is taboo to question inconsistencies in a person’s faith. I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say, “Well, its really about having a personal relationship with Jesus” when the inconsistencies of their faith are pressed. Is this right? Is the idea of a unique personal faith biblical?
It is interesting to do a search of “my faith” in the bible. From the get-go we see an obvious inconsistency in our cultures love for “my faith” versus the emphasis the Bible puts on it. “My faith” is found only three times. Now finding biblical evidence, no matter how few verses, is enough to give credence to belief and practice. But in this case the way the phrase is used today and how little it is used in the Bible should give us pause and concern. Let’s look at the three verses.
1. 2 Timothy 3:10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness,
Paul says “my faith” to Timothy, but all we need to do is read the rest of the verse to see how he is using it. He is using it in a sense that his faith is one that is not personal and exclusive to him, but his faith is one that can and should be adopted by the young evangelist. We immediately learn that Paul’s faith was superior than other people’s faith and his should be followed.
The context surrounding verse 10 just piles on. In 3:1 He begins the chapter by talking about people that did have their own personal faith. They would have been the first century version of the “my faith” crowd. Personal faith leads to this great list of negative qualities in professed Christians “Lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy…” Paul’s remedy for a weak personal faith in verse 10 is a superior faith that he has and that can be transferred. Transferred how? By believing the same doctrine, manner of life, and purpose. In verses 14-17 he will explain the process is accomplished through the word of God.
The point is, Paul’s faith was not unique and different, but he adopted the “one faith” of Ephesians 4:5 as his own. We should seek that faith, not our own.
2. James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
In this context James is dealing with people who were hearers of the word and not doers. The context here is really speaking to the daily activities of a Christian and making the case that just talking a big game means nothing in the eyes of God. In this context, James is really arguing against feeling a deeply personal faith and saying, “it doesn’t matter how close you feel to God, if you are not displaying that faith its dead.” This is about as close as we will ever get to the idea of “my faith”, yet James sets the value of that faith at zero.
3. Revelation 2:13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells”
The Apostle John is the one who wrote down the words of Revelation, but if you have a red-letter bible you will see that much of the words spoken in the book are from Jesus himself. All the bible is His word and we do not place a special emphasis on just the words in red, but it is very significant for this verse and our topic. Jesus uses the phrase “my faith” and he uses it in the same way Paul did. They are not praised by the Lord because they had their own personal faith, they are praised because they had Jesus’ faith. Jesus is not speaking to an individual here. He is speaking to the group. He does not say, “you did not deny your own personal faith in me” He says “you did not deny MY Faith”. Please take notice of that. The entire group had the same one. It is the one that we should make sure we have.
Don’t think for a second that acceptable faith comes by individual experiences and feelings. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ (Rom 10:17). I can confidently say I don’t just have faith in Christ, but I also have the faith of Christ because I found it in the word of Christ. This is why I defend and “contend earnestly for the faith(singular) which was delivered once and for all(not changing) to the saints (Jude 3). Can you?