American Sign Language – FAITH

Faith is not what you think.

The word “Faith” is not what you think. Most people think it’s about believing or trusting. The Bible-word for FAITH is much than believing and trusting. Take a close look. You may be surprised.

If you were trying to teach your child the meaning of faith, what picture would you use? I would use the one people who are deaf use. I think it is the perfect picture of faith.

Americans who are deaf usually use American Sign Language to communicate. ASL has an excellent sign for the word faith. It clearly pictures the full meaning of the word. To communicate the word or idea of faith in ASL, you position your hands like you’re holding on to a rope for dear life. You are completely dependent on that rope. If you let go, you will fall to your death. Obviously, the key element in the sign is the rope.

Can You See All Four Ingredients of Faith in the Picture?

Look closely at the picture above or watch the video of the woman signing the word faith and you can see all three ingredients it takes to have real, biblical, healthy faith. What are those three necessary elements

  1. A RISK is part of real faith

The essence of faith always involves risk. Faith never completely safe. It’s never a sure thing. Faith is about the future, which you can’t see or know. Real faith always has some questions, uncertainties and some level of fear. Faith is an adventure. When teaching your child or friend the meaning of faith, point out the risk of totally depending on the rope for survival. Faith is that way. It is totally depending on God, whom you cannot see with your physical eyes. It is trusting in someone other than yourself.

  1. A DECISION is required for real faith

 Real faith always includes a personal decision. Faith is your response to a challenge. It’s a choice. It’s an act of your free-will. It’s not just a thought or desire. Faith is not, “I hope so.” It’s a decision that’s been made. Where there’s no choice or decision, there’s no faith. In the picture, notice how the hands of the person of faith. A decision was made to reach out and hold on to the rope. Before we act, we decide to act. We make our choice.

  1. An ACTION is necessary for real faith

 Faith always involves action. Faith is not just what you think, believe, feel or decide. For faith to happen, it must also include what you do. Throughout the Bible, faith without action is considered useless, dead or not faith at all. The picture shows the hands holding on to the rope. The person of faith not only decided to hold on, he or she grabbed hold of the life-line.

  1. An OBJECT is critical for real faith

Faith always includes an object. That is, there is always something or someone you’re committing to, making the risk for, depending on, or following. This final element of faith makes a big difference. Faith can choose to depend on anything or anyone. What is the object on which you’re about to place your full weight? There is only one rope that will hold no matter what comes along is life. That rope is your Heavenly Father, who created the world, everything in it and loves you, knows what’s best of you, has the ability to do anything and is with you always. Hold on to him. That’s healthy faith.

A real faith, healthy faith, includes all four parts — the risk of depending on something other than yourself, the decision to grab hold, the act of putting all of your weight on that object and the object of your faith, the quality of the rope itself.

Do you like this picture of faith?

Do you have a favorite picture that reminds of you faith?

I’m interested.

Author Info

Bill Nichols

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