When was the last time you were hungry and went empty-handed to a neighbor or stranger to ask for food? Or tired and asked a hotel for a free room because you had nothing to offer in return? It might seem embarrassing, and most of us are thinking we'd never do it. We'd go hungry or sleep in a tent before we asked for charity. Of course, when we were children, we had no problem asking for things. We depended on our parents for all of our needs and asked them for gifts all the time. But something happened as we grew older, didn't it? We became self-sufficient and proud of it and praised for it.
Just as pride keeps us from accepting charity, it will keep us far away from faith. We must humble ourselves and become child-like again in order to receive the gift of faith. We must be HUMBLE to ASK for things, and our American culture teaches us to have pride not humility, to do things yourself and never, ever ask for handouts. Having a personal relationship with Jesus and God the Father, means becoming totally dependent on God over time, which is completely counter-cultural. Being dependent means being weak in our culture, but the truth is, becoming dependent on God means having access to unbelievable other-worldly strength, uncontainable joy, and true abundant life.
Pride truly keeps us from God. If you desire to have faith and a relationship with God, humble yourself, admit your pride, and ask for the gift of faith. Yes, it is charity, and in the King James version of the Bible, the "Love is patient, love is kind" verse (1 Corinthians 13) actually replaces the word "love" with "charity". Charity IS love, and faith is a gift of love. You must be willing to ask in order to receive it. You have nothing at all to offer the Creator of the universe except for your praise and worship. You can't DO anything to earn this gift of faith. You simply come with upturned hands to your Father in heaven, empty yourself of pride, and receive in the name of Jesus.
Does this mean that once we turn to him and learn how to accept God's charity, we now go around asking others for hand-outs and not working hard? Absolutely not. What it means is that we now have strength to work harder and more creatively, to do even more with what we've been given. That with this gift of faith, we actually have something of worth to GIVE to OTHERS. But don't just take my word for it...
"[Jesus said] But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32
"Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes." Acts 3:15
"Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” John 20:27
"This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Romans 1:17
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. ” Matthew 17:20
"So if you sinful people know how to give good to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:11
"Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” John 4:10
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." Luke 11:9
"[Jesus said] You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy." John 16:24