By GV Potter
The following post was written by a member of our fellowship.
Faith is a crucial link between man and God, yet for many it seems to evaporate as we go through life. We live in a rapidly changing world, and a world full of tangible things we can touch or possess. In our everyday living, we demonstrate faith through everyday activities. For example, we have faith that when we sit in a chair, the chair legs will support us. One can add a multitude of various situations where we have faith in things that our five senses tells us are real. These senses that God has blessed us with (the sense of taste, sound, smell, touch, etc.) are often the very same senses that Satan uses against us. We often become more dependent upon our senses than on the Word of God, keeping us away from God’s blessings. Hebrews 11:6 makes an incredible statement: “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Just think…anything a Christian does in attempting to be a better Christian means nothing if he lacks faith. So, without faith we have no hope or possibility of pleasing God. Faith in what we merely experience with our senses is not sufficient. This is a serious situation to be in. This is a conflict of God’s “Holy Spirit-living-faith” with our “natural-man-faith.” So we must understand what faith is not.
Faith is not just wishful thinking, or believing in things that do not exist, or positive thinking. We often hear people say, “we have our faith,” which means, “we have our religion, ideas, doctrines, and traditional way of doing things passed down through generations.” None of these are a Biblical idea of faith. Many professing Christians believe the Bible is the word of God, but this faith does not change the way they live. This is not a faith that can save, as faith is not a way to manipulate God. Even those who don’t believe in God believe in something, whether they be religious traditions, an understanding of science, something their next door neighbor tells them, a magazine article, the mass media, the educational system, or some combination of all these things. In any event, God is not impressed. Rom.1:22 tells us that by professing to be wise they become fools. Who is better qualified than God to tell us the truth and help us find answers for life and eternity?
Ephesians 2:8 tells us, “We are saved by grace thru faith, it is a gift of God.” This is the kind of faith we need: a God-approved saving faith that results in a transformed life. “You are now a new creation in Christ.” The new works or actions we take in our new life must reveal what we now believe and how we live. Otherwise our faith is dead. Jesus put it this way, “By their fruits you will know them.” Hebrews 11:6 says, “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Notice that the author of Hebrews does not say “seeking things,” but rather “seeking Him.” God is always available to help us, and He gives faith to those who seek it. “My grace is all you need--it works best in weakness,” 2 Cor.12:9. God can and will use you, regardless of your physical condition. We must always mindful that it is God who speaks to us through the Bible, telling us that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by His word.” Even a small amount of faith, small as a grain of mustard seed, is enough to move a mountain. Most Christians don’t doubt that faith works; they just doubt they have enough faith. The point is, it does not take a large amount of faith, but it must be a Holy Spirit-given faith and not a faith dependent on the “natural-man” (sense-based).
Consider that Peter was able to walk on water until he was shaken by the physical circumstances around him and came face to face with the weakness of his human faith. When Jesus reached out His hand to Peter, Jesus asked, “Why do you doubt me?” Think about that. Doubt and fear is what Satan uses to weaken or separate us from our faith.
The Bible says “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1. Notice that faith is a “substance.” You don’t need faith unless you are hoping for something. Hope establishes the goal, and faith is the bridge that gets you there. Faith is not an emotion; it’s a decision you have made through the Holy Spirit in your life, to stand on God’s Word. Notice also that faith is “evidence.” Why would you believe that someone you can’t see on the other end of a phone line would send you something because you ordered it? However, when it is delivered you have “evidence” of your order. More “evidence” is in the Bible and in the physical creation all around us, we cannot see God, and we were not present at the creation, but here we are. Christ’s unseen invisible power was revealed in order to exalt His Father through many miraculous signs: healings, restored sight, and even the raising of the dead. These were given as “evidence” of an unseen power, and “calls those things which do not exist as though they did,” Romans 4:17. We cannot see the wind, but it is easily felt. We cannot see the sound waves and microwaves that exist all around us, but they come alive when we see and hear them in radios, cell phones and televisions. Just because you don’t see or hear something, does not mean it’s not there. Clearly we need God’s supernatural gift of faith which operates beyond the limitations of our “natural man” faith. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Now, having received God’s forgiveness, mercy, grace and God’s gift of faith, we ought to live like it. We are now in possession of the same spirit of faith that the three young Jewish men had, who refused to bow to the image of King Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel. These men were thrown into the fiery furnace, and they survived. Their faith was the “substance” of what they hoped for and was the “evidence” of that which was not seen. Their faith and trust was built on serving God and obeying His commandments. They believed God would deliver them because they were faithful in obeying His commandments and did not bow down to worship other gods.
Nothing shapes our lives like the decisions we make. so get started today! Decide to discipline yourself and decide to grow spiritually. We need to acknowledge we have been given faith, and begin to learn the laws that govern the operation of our God-given living faith. The Bible is our manual with detailed instructions on life both now and hereafter. It is like having a computer and knowing its potential, but not having a clue how to use it. The Apostle Luke quoted Jesus as saying “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Because Jesus had to ask this question, is an indication that faith will be scarce at His return. Living faith is not just believing that God exists; it is demonstrated by our service and obedience to God, knowing that God will increase our faith if we fervently ask Him for it, and if we continually seek to draw closer to Him through prayer, study, and obedience to His Word!
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