We have five senses that connect us with the world around us; sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. And with how many of these five senses do we connect with God? Zero, zilch, nada, zip. Why is this so, and just how are we supposed to relate to God when our five senses can’t help us?
The reality is that God is not physical in being, He’s not material in nature. Sometimes people refer to the “man upstairs” and/or picture Him with a long gray beard and flowing robe, but most of us realize that these are caricatures and not at all accurate. Actually, it makes perfect sense that God is not a physical or material being; if He were it would mean He was like all of creation, but He can’t be, for He’s the creator of creation. Jesus put it simply when He said, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 ESV)
Stephen Charnock, in his theological volume, The Existence and Attributes of God, states, “And when we say God is a Spirit, it is a negation; He is not a body.” Yes, it can be easiest to understand what it means that God is spirit by saying He has no body. I know, we sometimes talk about the face of God or the hand of God, etc, even the Bible does so. We need to remember, however, that these are anthropomorphic statements, attributing human characteristics to God so we can better grasp how to relate to Him. The fact is, God has no body, He is spirit. So, just how are we supposed to establish and develop a relationship with God who we can’t experience with any of the five senses?
Maybe this illustration can help. When we take out our cell phones we’re counting on having a cell signal. Look around, do you see the cell signal? No. Do you hear it? No. Do you smell it? No. Can you taste it? No. Can you feel it? No. But it’s there (usually). When we want to use our cell phones we have to punch in a code to access its features, including utilizing the cell signal that our five senses can’t pick up but that we, nevertheless, believe is present.
There’s what you could call a code to connecting and relating to God, who is spirit and who we can’t see, hear, taste, smell, or touch. The code is five letters: F-A-I-T-H.
Faith is being sure about something even though we have no tangible proof or solid evidence; we utilize it all the time in our everyday lives. We have faith that the chair we’re about to sit in will hold us up. We have faith that the meal we eat at the restaurant is safe. We have faith that our car will start when we get in it to go some place. We put our faith in people, trusting them to come through for us in one way or another. I know, this faith in people is often broken, and they let us down. The chair we have faith to sit in may collapse, as one did under me (but that’s a story for a different time). The food at the restaurant may give us food poisoning, and the car may not start. Yet, we express faith countless times every day, even though our faith is in that which gives no guarantee to be trustworthy.
God has many attributes, including His being unchanging and faithful, so He is supremely trustworthy, the One in whom we can have complete faith. We may not be able to experience and relate to God with our five senses, but He’s given us a sixth sense, FAITH!
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see… And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1 & 6)