Everyone has faith in something.
But the author of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews has a specific kind of faith in view when he writes, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6).
This text raises questions in my mind. Is the reward of seeking God getting what I’m pursuing him for? Or is the reward finding a God who is infinitely better and wiser than I am.
I also keep coming back to something the Bible tells us about “the father of our faith.” In the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans he says about Abraham, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Rom 4:19-21).
Paul’s description of Abraham’s faith suggests that God is pleased by the kind of belief that relies on what he has said. Yet other parts of the Bible seem to picture people of faith entrusting themselves to God because of the powerful things he has done in creation and history to reveal the kind of God he is (Joshua 2:9-11). Maybe the common factor is that God asks us to entrust ourselves to him on the basis of what he has told us about himself through his written word and the wonder of creation (Psalm 19; Romans 1:19-20)
Would be interested in how you think through the difference between having faith in God, and wishful thinking? Do you agree that casually or carelessly talking about “believing God” for something can say more about our desires than his promises?