On Imrah Ministries a few days ago, one of the posters (Nathan in this case) wrote What Is Faith?, it's part of a series he's doing. On Heart of Wisdom, Robin wrote about faith and decisions: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.
These sorts of discussions and articles keep bringing to mind the whole idea of faith being seen as something one has to "work up", so many people seem to think this. The idea is often that we have to say we believe until we persuade ourselves. But as these articles show, that's not the case - the faith itself is a gift! Saying we believe when we have no reason to doesn't make sense. It's AFTER God shows us who he is and gives us faith, that we learn to trust Him. How can anyone trust someone they don't know? That's not trust and it isn't faith or faithfulness, that's thinking you're supposed to do something and hope you get it right.
Faith is the evidence according to scripture. That's always been a bit confusing, how can a feeling be evidence? But apparently faith is NOT just a feeling, just like the works that follow are not works we do to maintain faith. The works are what naturally follow because that faith is in us. Works are not goodness and kind acts that we do to show we love God, they're works that happen because that's what comes out of a faithful child of God.
The martyrs, did they work hard to refuse to deny Christ? Can a human body really maintain physical and mental sanity while suffering extreme, hideous torture? Or is it not their determination to withstand that everyone sees, but instead, the faith given them by the spirit inside that does that speaking and withstanding? If it was on a human level, wouldn't their mind not be able to do anything about it? And a human denying Christ to escape torture wouldn't change the truth of God anyway. I think it's the work of faith of the spirit in them, not the human that's holding on to it. That's how I would see faith as evidence, because no human could really do it. I hope I'm never in a position to find out though.