Alyssa Sellers

Defining Faith and Becoming Dependent


faith: verbThe largest app on my phone is the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It takes up a ton of space, but I absolutely love it. I use it all the time because I’m a word nerd. This is one the things I’ve begun admitting to myself.

I love words. I love everything about them; what they mean, how they are used, where they come from and sometimes, because of this love, I fall down the rabbit hole.  Like when I discovered argy-bargy is a synonym for altercation. It’s British. It comes from argle-bargle under which M-W states: reduplication of Scots & English argle, alteration of argue . Isn’t this exciting?!

Somehow I got to here because I looked up the word faith.  The current definition of faith is listed as a noun; as if faith is something you own.

I think faith is a verb; it is only real if it is active.

According to M-W that’s the archaic definition of faith: a transitive verb meaning believe, trust.  Falling deeper into the rabbit hole I find that the word faith is a relative to the Latin word fidere meaning to trust; which is also where the word bide comes from.  Bide means to wait for and has roots in the Greek word peithesthai meaning to believe. Believe is a synonym to trust and to trust means to depend.

And then I come to an abrupt stop because depend, more so dependence, is a really hard word.

Its definition is to place reliance. If we are really truly honest with ourselves we don’t do this. We don’t like to rely on other people. We often view asking for help as a weakness. But when I look at the entirety of the gospel, of the message of Jesus, what he is trying to do is to get us out of our own ways, to teach us dependence. Jesus shows us that by asking for help we are strong. This is the exact opposite to a belief rooted deep inside some of us.

Somewhere in my Jesus education I got this idea that eventually I would be enlightened enough to not need help. I thought at some point I’d be advanced enough, to make it on my own. I imagined life to be like a video game where once I’ve gathered enough faith-coins I can take down Super Koopa all on my own. 

With this in mind, in a particularly difficult moment I had this conversation with Jesus, “I am SO PATHETIC! Seriously, will there ever be a time when I won’t need to come to you LIKE EVERY MINUTE of EVERY STINKING DAY asking for help?!”

And then I imagined Jesus calmly sitting there staring me in the face saying, “You do hear yourself, right? I mean you get that I’m the one in charge here, and it does work better when you do ask for my help. I mean that’s kinda the point of this whole thing.”

And I was all, “OOOOOOOOHHH. Right. “

We were created to depend on God. That’s the goal. Working toward the goal of dependence seems absolutely bizarre in a society that prides itself on self-reliance and pulling oneself up by her boot straps. But that’s what faith is: believing, trusting, waiting, and depending on Jesus, the one God sent. When we are doing it right, we realize how little we can actually achieve on our own and will ask for help more than we have ever done before.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:28-29 NIV


2 thoughts on “Defining Faith and Becoming Dependent

  1. This was exactly what I needed today. Thanks for sharing.


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