All of that is true, but here’s the rub: You can understand and/or do all three of those and still be entirely wrong about faith. How? By misplacing your faith. I do not mean losing it. I mean misplacing it. I mean putting it or placing it in the wrong thing. You can ignore the logical evidence you see and instead see with your heart, and find you should have paid attention to the logical evidence. You can ignore the doubt and act only on the belief, and step directly onto a landmine. You can lean in complete dependence, and collapse because you leaned on the wrong thing. Faith itself is not enough. Faith alone is not a magical source of blessing and goodness. No, it is not faith; it is faith in God. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God (Mark 11.22).
The Scripture is filled with examples for us, both good and bad. Speaking directly to our subject, we find a surprising number of the latter in the area of faith. People have been people in every generation of history. They have believed – and misplaced that belief. I do not like to just give Scripture lists when I blog but this one will be helpful here, I think. All of these are examples of misplaced faith.
-believing in military power
Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
-believing in money
Psalm 49:6 They that trust in their wealth, And boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him:
-believing in crime
Psalm 62:10 Trust not in oppression, And become not vain in robbery: If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.
-believing in humanity
Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.
-believing in politicians
Psalm 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, Nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
-believing everything you hear
Proverbs 14:15 The simple believeth every word: But the prudent man looketh well to his going.
-believing in idols
Isaiah 42:17 They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, That say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.
-believing in the power of your own lies
Isaiah 59:4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: They trust in vanity, and speak lies; They conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.
-believing in your own beauty
Ezekiel 16:15 But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.
-believing in your own goodness
Ezekiel 33:13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
-believing in your friends
Micah 7:5 Trust ye not in a friend, Put ye not confidence in a guide: Keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.
-believing in a false Messiah
Mark 13:21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
-believing in yourself
Philippians 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
-believing an extra-biblical revelation
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
I love the humanity of this list, the sheer continuity of it. I have heard each of these praised at some point or other in my own personal experience. In other words, misplaced faith is something that every generation, indeed, every person has to deal with.
Having faith is not enough. Understanding what that faith is and seeking to live a life of faith is not enough. We must place that faith properly. We must have faith in God.