Faith, and how to operate in it, is one of the most difficult concepts to grasp. All the answers- faith is a gift from God, just believe God, faith is trust in God's promises-are all true, but still leave us unsure when confronted with the very situations in which we most need to use faith.
Jesus Christ talked about it.
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Matthew 17:20
The Apostles talked about it. But without faith it is impossible to please him: Hebrews 11:6
Christians today talk about it, yet, we still cannot fully answer the most basic questions concerning faith;
1.What is faith?
2.How do we get faith?
3.How can we know we have faith?
4.How do we use faith?
It is clear that God expects us to both have faith and to use faith in our daily lives, but how do we get to the place where we are confident to use faith in God and his word to effect change in our circumstances?
Mark 9:23-24 ( NIV ) “‘If you can’?” said Jesus.“Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
Let's look at these four questions
1.What is faith? “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17;
Faith is a decision on our part to choose to believe what God has said about a given subject. When we pray and ask God to direct our steps, we commit ourselves to opening our spirit to receive from God, then, as we go about our activities, we choose to believe our steps are truly directed by him. That is what faith is, the choice that allows God an entrance into our lives and activities. The rest of it is His business.
My husband, Bob, says faith is simple. I think he has a point. Understanding faith is difficult, in part, because it is so simple. God's word says it, we believe it. We add nothing of our own works to the word of God except this-we must choose to believe God's word. Have you ever read a scripture passage, say, from the Psalms, and thought to yourself, “Oh, that is such a nice thought, I pray it could be true in my life?” That is not faith, it is wishful thinking.
2.How do we get faith? Faith is essentially belief in God's word. We cannot believe, however, in something we do not know. In other words, we must know what God's word says in order to believe or exercise faith in it. Regular reading, studying, and memorizing of scripture are essential in the fully grown life of faith, but going to the Bible and taking one verse or part of a verse is enough to know what God says about something. I once heard this likened to a business contract. In a contract, each line binds the the one who issued the contract to certain terms that cannot be changed. The one who receives the contract can count on and hold the other party to those terms just as they are stated in the contract.
3.How can we know we have faith? This question is out of order here. I put it next because of the way we think. We think we have to know we have faith before we can use it. That is out of order, we use our faith, or exercise it, to become stronger and more confident in the use of it. Let's go to the next question to explain further.
4.How do we use our faith? The word of God contains within it the power to create faith. After all, the universe and everything in it was created by the word of God. (see Gen 1) For those who doubt this, consider that Einstein proved that matter and energy are simply different forms of the same thing. God's word contains such power, or energy, that creation occurred when He spoke. He spoke, and it was.
We use faith, our faith, which is God's gift of faith, in the word of God, by
- Knowing and meditating on God's promise concerning the situation.
- Speaking God's promise out loud to ourselves so we can hear it.
- Choosing to believe that God will honor his contract with us. He is true to his word, or faithful to his promise.
- Not waiting for the feeling to come.
We find the promise, we choose to believe God, we speak the promise out loud to ourselves, and we allow the word of God to do its work. Somewhere along the way, when we do this over and over, we reach a point of complete confidence that it is so, the promise is real and we will see the result. We cannot manufacture this feeling, we do not seek it, God's promise is true from the beginning, but this assurance is a wonderful by-product of walking through these steps. In order to effect the change in our circumstances so they line up with God's word, we must go through these steps and keep going through them. We cannot do this once or twice and see it happen for us, there must be a commitment on our part to go after it. Faith doesn't happen by accident, we actively seek it in order for the kingdom of God to reign in our lives.
Romans 10:17 ( NIV ) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
Until next time by faith in Jesus Christ-