What does it mean that faith is substance? It must first of all mean that faith is an entity apart from anything else whether it is emotions, appearances, circumstances or whatever tangible or intangible we can imagine. Faith has its own particular life, not moved by anything. It is like a bright star shining of its own accord.
Peter walking on water is a faith illustration pointing to that the only thing that kept him from sinking was faith. The substance to carry Peter’s weight was not in the water. The water represents that there is nothing apart from faith that is substance. We like to find substance in perhaps an inner knowing, in peace, an inner seeing, in some sort of confirming emotion, in some sort of inner or outer experience or we look for signs that will give us some measure of substance. But, faith is found in none of these. Its substance is apart from all that. Yet, faith is swallowed up in knowing it is finished, even before we see any evidences.
But, nevertheless, faith is in us and as us. We walk in faith every day, but the paradox is that faith is also a choice – a commitment to something.
Faith also has this quality that it leaves reason in ruins, but yearns to be man’s reason.
Doubt and faith go hand in hand. Doubt is faith’s sparring partner training the faith muscle by its negatives and reverse motions. Faith yearns to be challenged, to be exercised and to be tried against the impossible. The nature of faith is that it rejoices when everything seems utterly hopeless and impossible, because it is the substance of the thing and thus knows it exists against whatever testimony to the contrary.
Faith does not make us its slaves; instead it becomes our servant in the will of God. We cannot find faith, but faith finds us and asks us to receive it so that it can be used by the one to whom it offers itself, and faith attracts to itself the secrets of God so that they are revealed to the one who has faith (to those much given more will be given).
Faith is a response to the Word of God either by how He speaks to us in the Bible concerning who we are or how we respond to His promises, or how He speaks personally to each and every one of us concerning a matter. Like with Mary God always takes the initiative and we receive in faith what He wants to do by us, and His commandments are not burdensome, because we will what He wills. But, faith is also found in: "What do you want me to do for you?"
I once had a question in regards to faith which I addressed to the Spirit. I asked Him how I was to know whether my faith was true or not. He said: “Everything you speak is true.” I didn’t understand what He meant right away. But, later I was reminded about Jesus’ words: “According to your faith be it unto you.” In a sense we speak into existence our own truth. Either a “truth” of bondage or a truth of liberty. Either a “truth” according to reason or a truth according to spiritual realities.
Faith is also a consciousness: It doesn’t spring forth from our thoughts which are the wisdom of man. It springs forth from a consciousness higher than ours and which we now partake from and are one with. Faith generates thoughts, but thoughts cannot generate faith.