Tare faith is believing a source or means can be relied on that is based on something other than the testimony of the Word and Spirit of God. Even believing that God can be relied on, if it is based on something other than the testimony of the Word and Spirit of God, is tare faith.
Tare faith comes from beliefs we acquire or accept with little or no examination of the truth and reliability of the testimony those beliefs are based on. Some of this happens because we trust the witness to tell us the truth. Our parents, teachers, media, and those in authority are primary contributors. As children growing up we rely on them to meet so many of our needs. We accept their testimony and example as truth and learn to rely on the sources and means they rely on.
Consider the example of Santa Claus. The belief that Santa Claus exists and can be relied on once a year to come through with the answer to some of our ‘prayers’ for gifts is a form of tare faith. It is limited and temporary, but it works to illustrate how tare faith is sown into our hearts and why we accept it.
When our parents first told us about Santa Clause we believed them. We relied on our parents to tell us the truth and likely had no reason to think otherwise. So, without examination of the truth of Santa Claus, we acquired a faith that he existed, we could ask him for what we wanted, and once a year we could expect to receive something. Our belief was reinforced with evidence of things seen. We sent letters to Santa Claus with a list of what we wanted. On Christmas day many of those very things were under the tree - gifts labeled “from Santa.” He could be seen at the mall, in parades, and the TV news tracked him on radar. Our peers also believed and they received gifts from him too.
Tare faith is received much like Santa Claus faith. We believe and rely on the world’s supply for wage system for supply and on its health care system for healing. When the supply for wage systems fails us we blame ourselves for taking the wrong path and not having the right skills. If the health care systems fails us we accept its limitations as being the best available, or at least the best supply of health we can afford relying on our wage and insurance. It does not occur to us that these systems are unreliable enough we should seek another source and mean to meet our need. We have learned to rely on these systems from the teaching and example of our parents and family, our teachers, the media, and our peers. Reliance on these systems rather than God is a great hindrance to successful prayer.
We rely on sensory evidence to measure what is true. We guide our steps by this evidence and it determines the outcomes we experience. We learn and make adjustments. Without thinking we adjust for completeness and timeliness of what we have seen. If what we are observing is highly temporary - say the location of a person, we make a different adjustment than we might make for something less temporary - say the location of a mountain.
A subtle trap is relying on the sensory evidence of past experience to believe that God can be relied on to meet our need: we believe that God can be relied on to meet our need because he has met our needs without fail for the last ten days. It seems like real faith as it is trusting God is reliable, but the basis of the belief is our experience, not the testimony of the Word and Spirit of God. When we wonder how it is that the people of Israel failed to have faith in God after having seen (experienced) everything God did delivering them out of Egypt, that is evidence of our leaning on tare faith.
Tare faith chokes real faith and is one of the key components of doubt. Overcoming tare faith works to also overcome doubt.