Now faith is the substance/essence (hypostasis) of things hoped for, the conviction from evidence (elegchos) of things not seen.
Whatever faith is to you may very well depend on how you translate Hebrews 11:1. Or it may come from how others have translated this verse for you.
Let me give you what I’ve found recently to be very helpful.
I believe the above translation to be the most literal, and in this case appropriate (literal is not always the most appropriate), and nearest to the intended meaning of this verse and extremely important intended definition of faith.
No longer do I think that faith is the working up of certainty with no allowance for doubt. As in, pushing doubt away and never facing anything that makes you doubt.
I believe it to be the very substance or essence of what we do hope for in a real way. This hearkens back to chapter one of Jesus being the essence or substance of God. We could then say the representation of God. Our faith is a representation of things we hope for. Here we get into the imaginative mind.
Faith is not a convincing ourselves of facts that must be true. That’s not a representation.
Think of someone you love right now.
Did you find yourself reciting their height, weight, age, or eye color? Or did you picture a representation of them in your mind?
Could this be how faith works? Representing or substantiating our hoped for reality?
Conviction from evidence of things not seen.
I am convicted by the evidence of the universe that there is a God and that this God is beautiful and loving. Do I know this from being there when God created it all? Of course not. So does doubt sometimes creep in? Of course it does. But I am boldly confident in the evidence to the point that there is a conviction of what is real and even hoped for.
Soli Deo Gloria