Matters of Faith: It’s a Matter of Faith

Hebrews 11:1 NKJV
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Habari gani? This is the traditional Swahili greeting of Kwanzaa. It means, “What’s the news?” The correct response is with the Swahili word of the day, that is whichever of the six principes is being celebrated. On this final day of Kwanzaa, we recognize the principle of faith, or “Imani.”

Faith is described in the book of Hebrews as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is that thing that keeps us moving forward when everything seems to be pushing us back. It is the cement that holds us together when everything is pulling us apart. It is the glue that helps us hold on when we are loosing our grip. It is the material manifestation of our dreams, and the proof that the Lord hears and answers prayer. Faith is the unspoken language that speaks to the heart of the Lord.

Webster’s Dictionary describes faith as a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof: complete trust.” When one has faith, there is doubt in mind, body or souls that the thing they believe will come to pass. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. When faith is used in the Swahili language in cooperation with the celebration of Kwanzaa, it is unilaterally focused on the African American experience to encourage belief in their own people, their parents, their teachers, their leaders, their righteousness, and their victory over the struggle they’ve endured to get where they are. They are encouraged to have faith and to believe with all their heart and all of their strength. Powerful faith always desires to be a blessing to others.

There is an interesting story found in the book of Matthew that describes a father who bought his epileptic son to Jesus to be healed because His disciples failed. Before healing the lad, Jesus reprimands them as a faithless generation. When His disciples approached Him privately to find out why they couldn’t heal the child, He told them that they could move mountains and that nothing would be impossible for them if they had the faith of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:14-20).

On this first day of the new year, when people reassess and make resolutions to make changes in their lives, faith takes center stage. This writer believes that we were created by an all wise, all loving, all powerful God who has faith in us and only wants what’s best for us. He wants us to move mountains, heal the sick, and change the world. Remembering that “…without faith, it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6), my question to you, and even for myself is, how do we please God?

The faith that we are called to exhibit is not in earthen vessels or in other people. Our faith must be rooted and grounded in the Lord Himself. Just as Jesus taught when He healed the epileptic child, He wants us to experience the joy of our faith while we are yet in the land of the living. In Psalm 27:13, King David wrote, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”

Your faith in the Lord will equip you to smile when everyone around you is frowning, to do right when everybody around you is doing wrong, to stand when everyone around you is sitting, to choose life when everyone around you seems to be choosing death. Whatever your resolution(s) for this new year, have mustard seed faith to see the manifestation of your aspirations. 

“What’s the news?” Imani! It’s just a matter of faith.


Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio here, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM  or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook, Twitter @jlorenr, and email us at  

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