What is faith?
Hebrews address faith a lot. Mostly revolving around Hebrews chapter 11 and beginning with verse 1
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"
To make something clear, faith can ONLY be based on promises made by God. Our faith is based on the promises of God. Period. God told Abram to start walking and he would lead him to his new land. God told Noah to build an ark and God would save him and his family. Sarah went on faith (at times....) that God would provide her a child because God told her He would. God told Moses to keep the passover and apply the blood because God told him if he did God would spare them. By faith, Joshua marched around the city of Jericho because God told Joshua if he did God would topple the walls.
Do you see the recurring theme? In each of these cases (all described in Hebrews 11 as acts of faith) God had provided a direct promise and it was that promise that these people put their faith in. Now, if Noah had simply woke up one morning, and decided, "you know, this world stinks. I know, I'm going to build a boat because I think God should make this stuff called 'rain' and flood the earth. If I build this boat that will be a great testament to my faith in my idea so God will surely then answer my faith and flood the earth" what would have happened? Nothing. No matter how much faith Noah would have had, it would have been faith based on nothing, so it wouldn't have amounted to anything. Noah didn't have faith in his own idea or some thought he had come up with, the reason Noah had faith (by definition) is because he was sure and certain of a Promise that God had made
Faith is not lasso. So often times we think of faith in the sense that if we only believe (in what??) in what we want enough that we can lasso God and pull him towards our plan. We are walking down a road and God (His plan, His will) is walking down the road 1 street over. If we only have enough faith, we can lasso God and pull him towards us and eventually (if we have enough faith, right?) we can pull him over to the street that we're walking on (our plan, our will).
Is that faith? A cosmic lasso that can bend God to our will? No! Faith isn't us being certain upon what we want, or sure in our spreadsheets and self designed plans. Faith is us and our beliefs being propped up on God and His promises.
The key thing here is that it is based on His promises. If I tell you that I'm going to come over to your house on Tuesday and change the spark plugs in your car, you can be certain (have faith) that I will be there Tuesday to change your spark plugs. But how silly would it be for you to not tell me that your car was even having any trouble at all and just sit on your couch and say "I have faith that Levi will come over on Tuesday and change the spark plugs in my car"? You're going to be left waiting on that couch. See the difference? In the first instance, I told you I was coming. In the second, you didn't tell me, didn't ask me, and I never told you anything.
Let's take it 1 step farther: same example, what if you called my cell phone (that never rings anyway, can you hear me now? no.) and left me a voicemail saying "Hey Levi, I wondered if you would come over to my house on Tuesday and change the spark plugs in my car for me?" but never heard back from me? Digest that one for a minute. Would it be appropriate to 'have faith' that I would come, when you never heard back from me confirming that that was my plan?
How often do we ask God to bless our plan, and then never hear back from Him (have no promise from God in the Bible for what we are asking) and sit around with 'faith' waiting for Him to come over to our street and do our will....