Faith as Knowing Beyond Knowing

There was a time when I used to think God made perfect sense. This was before I understood that sometimes his ways seem totally reasonable while at others they utterly defy the rules of logic. If there is one thing about God we can always count on, it is his faithfulness. If there is one thing about God we can never count on, it is predictability in how he acts. In light of such uncertainty, how can we ever hope to have an authentic and reliable faith?

Faith runs against every fiber of our rational mind; we are born with a tendency to trust only when we have determined sufficient reason to do so. It is no small thing to shake this instinct. This is why faith in God often becomes most real when we finally understand how entirely dependent we are on him.

In these stormy times, those who chose to trust his faithfulness discover a faith beyond rationality… a knowing beyond knowledge. We become familiar with an assurance that transcends calculated safety. How? Because suffering has a way of strengthening the non-rational elements of faith often missed in more pleasant times. And desperation has a way of motivating us to do whatever it takes to have the kind of faith we know we need.

Brain scientists have discovered that our ability to know something involves not only having rational understanding (making sense of it) but an emotional understanding (experiencing it) and also a behavioral understanding (acting on it). Only when all three of these dimensions are engaged does a person most fully “know” that which he or she is seeking to understand. Even more, such a “fuller knowing” has shown to have the ability of actually generating change in a person’s life… even at the neurological level!

The same principle holds true with faith, since faith also has to do with knowing… knowing God. Our faith grows stronger and more transforming the more we choose to let it inhabit all of our lives… not just our thinking. Such a faith issues from a full bodied response (head, heart, and hands) to God. Our knowledge of God must trickle down from our heads, through our hearts, and into our hands. Therefore, we must use the knowledge we have about God to motivate us to grow in our relationship (experience) with him and in our devotion to practice what we believe by serving others.

Finally, such an embodied faith doesn’t happen by accident; it is the result of hundreds of choices every day where we tell our bodies to say “Yes!” to what we believe. As we do, our faith will grow and we will experience a new knowing beyond knowing. Next week we talk about the process of shifting from earthly desperation to holy desperation.


What Do You Think?

Pick an aspect of your life where God has been challenging you to trust him more. What would a full bodied expression of faith look like regarding this area?


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Author: David Trementozzi

David Trementozzi is married to his wife, Emily and they have three children—Judah, Kaleb, and Halle. David likes to write on topics related to Christian faith and their contemporary relevance. He has a B.A. in Psychology (Messiah College), Masters of Divinity, and Ph.D in Theology (Regent University). David is currently a professor of Theology at Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels, Belgium. To learn more about David, go to the About David page above.