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Feb 21, 2013
The key to shaping our everyday world is understanding faith - and living by it. We must know what it is, how to get it and how to use it.
In last month’s article on understanding faith, we discovered that faith gives God access into our lives, an opening through which He can funnel all His favor and blessings.
By faith, we choose to receive the promises of God. We receive financial prosperity by faith. We receive divine health and supernatural healing by faith. We receive our spouses, our children, our homes, our food - all our earthly needs and desires - by faith. Our faith is an opening through which God can save us, deliver us, baptize us in His Spirit, anoint us for ministry.
In short, faith is heaven’s window into our lives.
The second principle we learned was that, given the right conditions, faith always comes. Faith is always available when we need it. It’s “on call” to anyone who will give attention to the Word of God (Proverbs 4:20-22).
We receive God’s Word into our hearts by reading it, speaking it, hearing it, meditating on it and acting on it. His Word causes faith to manifest and rise up within our spirit to draw the promises of God—and the provisions of God—from the spiritual realm into this natural realm (Romans 10:17).
So faith comes by hearing the Word of God—and when it is released from our hearts with our mouths, it brings the fulfillment of God’s promises. Faith gives the blessings of God natural reality or substance. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith Doesn’t Sit Around
In the second half of our study of understanding faith, we’re going to look at two more vital principles. The first is—faith acts.
Again, looking to God as our Guide, we find in the book of Genesis that faith is released with words. Faith words demand results of whatever they say.
In Genesis 1, we read an account of Creation that goes something like this:
“In the beginning God said, Let there be light...and there was light. God said, Let there be a firmament...and it was so. God said, Let us make man....”
Do you see the pattern?
“God said...and it was so. God said...and it was so.” God literally spoke all of Creation into existence. Hebrews 11:3 says that the worlds were framed by the Word of God. That is the very same way we frame our world. We are created in God’s image to live like Him!
Notice that Genesis doesn’t say “God thought...and it was so.” No, God spoke. That’s how He operates. That’s how faith operates. What’s more, God has never stopped speaking.
Down through the Old Testament and into the New, we see how God continued to pour His Word into the earth, primarily using prophets to speak His Word. The reason God released all that Word into the earth was to give substance for when the time came for Jesus—the ultimate Word given by God—to appear in the flesh. He brought Jesus into the earth by His Word!
What was that substance?
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is the heavenly materiality, or tangibility, of those things for which you and I hope. But now, here’s where we need to be aware of being deceived.
Oftentimes, many believers think they’re walking in faith when in reality they’re not. They’re actually walking in unbelief. In the first place, they really don’t have what I call true, Bible hope. All they have is a wish list. They’re wishing God would do this for them, and wishing He would do that. They heard how He did it for Brother and Sister So-and-So. And now they’d like Him to do it for them.
I cannot tell you how many people I’ve known in 45 years of ministry who thought they were “ faith people.” For years I watched them hang around the faith teaching, yet never did I see any substance, and never did they see any real changes in their lives and circumstances. What was wrong?
Well, I’ll tell you. When it came to God’s Word, they didn’t use any faith. They merely gave mental assent to it. They didn’t put faith in it enough to act on it. They only agreed with what they read in the Scriptures. (Read James 1:22-26.)
Granted, agreeing with the Word is better than disagreeing with it. But that doesn’t add any substance to it. Agreeing doesn’t change things.
Remember, “God said...and it was so.” God’s act of speaking released faith, or heavenly materiality, to that which He believed. When He said, Light be! He fully expected light to be. His faith took action. It spoke.
Likewise, our faith must take action, and it must take action based on the Word of God.
Get Your Mouth in Gear
I like to describe faith like this: Faith is movement. It’s a mouth in motion.
Here’s an example of what I mean.
Let’s say my body is being attacked with symptoms of sickness.
Thousands of years ago, God spoke a promise about healing into the earth. He spoke through His prophet Isaiah and said: “Surely he hath borne our griefs [sickness, weakness and distress], and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5).
Many years after that prophecy was spoken, Jesus came—God’s promise in the flesh—to fulfill that Word. Galatians 3:13 describes the results of Jesus having come to this earth: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
Looking back on Jesus’ ministry, the Apostle Peter also wrote, “Who his own self [Jesus] bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye WERE healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Now, here I am with symptoms of sickness attacking my body. What do I do?
Remember, faith is what gives substance to that for which you and I hope. In this case, I’m hoping to be delivered from this sickness.
Faith also gives God the opening necessary for Him to pour His favor and blessing into our lives, bringing the manifestation of that promise, and its provisions, from the spiritual realm into the natural realm—which is where my body needs it at the moment.
But now, how does faith make that draw on God’s Word?
By taking action.
And how does my faith take action?
By speaking the Word and then acting as though it is done. Romans 10:6-10 describes the process like this:
But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
The provision for all that God has promised us—health, healing, salvation, protection, prosperity—has already been established in heaven and earth. The work was completed 2,000 years ago. It is like having money in the bank, but to spend it, you have to make a withdrawal. Receiving that provision is up to us. That’s where mouth and motion come into play.
In Isaiah 55:10-11, we read,
For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Our new hearts, like the earth, are good ground for the Word of God. They are the abiding and functioning place for His Word.
Likewise, our mouths are the implements of faith that speak the words out of our hearts to enable us to reap the harvest we desire. We reap that harvest by believing and thus speaking the promises of God into fulfillment. That’s why we read in James 2:14 and 17, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
Our faith must act. The faith stored in our hearts must come out. Otherwise, it is dead and of no use. You release faith with your words.
When the Pharisees tried to back Jesus into a corner concerning His true source of supernatural power, He told them, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things...” (Matthew 12:34-35).
Then, as Jesus explained faith to His disciples, He said, “Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:23-24).
You and I have the responsibility of getting our hearts and mouths in gear, speaking and acting as though we’ve already received the fulfillment of our desire. We believe we receive when we pray. From the moment we release our faith, we must talk and act as though it is done. We must take action by speaking as God spoke and give substance to His promises. As we do, we give substance to something we can drive, something we can eat, something we can wear,something that can heal our bodies. We give substance to our world.
Do Yourself a Favor...
A fourth principle you and I must understand about faith is that it works by love—that is—faith forgives.
Returning to Jesus' teaching on faith in Mark 11, let's read the rest of what He told His disciples on the road to Jerusalem.
“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:24-25).
Now, I understand that when we’ve been hurt and the Holy Spirit reminds us of this verse our flesh wants to say, "yes, but, Lord, You heard the terrible things those people said about me....Yes, but, Lord, You know how that person abused me..."
While the hurt we suffered may have been a cruel and ungodly act against us, nonetheless, we have to walk in love toward those people. After all, God had to forgive. Jesus had to forgive. You and I are no different. We must forgive if we want to walk in faith and in the full favor of God.
Besides, if someone is against you, why do them a favor? Why let them ruin the rest of your life by short-circuiting your faith through unforgiveness?
Don’t let anyone keep you sick, broke, mentally tormented and without joy because of unforgiveness. Don’t help people close the door to God’s blessings in your life, and open the door to every curse loosed in this world. No, forgive them. Stay in the flow of God’s love.
Galatians 5:6 says, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
Faith works by love. It is energized by love. Faith is put into motion by love. Why is that?
Well, most of us are probably familiar with the Apostle Paul’s teaching on love in 1 Corinthians 13. But as we read verses 1-3 in The Amplified Bible, I want us to focus on the connection between faith and love.
If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love...I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers... and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned...but have not love...I gain nothing.
In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam just one “do not.” It was, Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God only gave one command, but it certainly covered a lot of territory.
Today, if you think about it, you and I still only have one “do not”— Don’t get out of love. That’s our one commandment. We are to walk in love, which covers a lot of ground, too. Infact, we see in this passage that our love walk is connected to everything we do in life as believers, including our faith. Paul makes it quite clear that faith—without love—is going nowhere.
Again, we have to ask ourselves, How is it that our faith is so tied into love? Let’s read a little further into 1 Corinthians 13 and we’ll find out.
“Love bears up under anything and everything that comes...its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]...” (verses 7-8, AMP).
God wants us to walk in love because love never fails. He wants the best for us, and since the best is found in love, you and I must walk in love in order to receive God’s best. That’s why Jesus instructed His disciples to forgive when they prayed.
When you and I stand before God in prayer, in a position of faith, we must forgive anyone who has wronged us if we want answers to our prayers. Otherwise, not only do we slam the door shut on the favor of God, we also give place to what we read about in James 3:16—“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
In other words, unforgiveness leads to strife, and strife to every evil work of the devil. When that happens, all the Bible reading in the world won’t change the situation. Only
You and I cannot pick and choose what we want to believe from God’s Word and disregard the rest. It’s all connected, and it all centers around love.
What’s more, as long as we’re on this earth, we will have plenty of opportunities to forgive people—taking no account of evil done to us, paying no attention to suffered wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5, AMP).
Remember, faith without action is dead. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). If we don’t act on the Word of God and forgive, we will never walk in the full measure of God’s favor. In fact, we won’t even get close.
So don’t take offense. Don’t carry around hurts. Release them to the same blood of Jesus which cleansed you, redeemed you and set you free. As you do, you will free yourself to walk in faith...and in the full measure of God’s favor.