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 Faith

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Statesman63
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PostSubject: Faith   Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:36 am

Faith

Being that faith is so important to the Christian life, let’s make sure we fully understand it.  Some of my statements might sound redundant, but I want to be sure that we conceptualize faith clearly.  

We are told in Ephesians 6 that faith is part of our spiritual armor in this spiritual battle called life.  It is referred to as the shield of faith.  A shield, of course, protects the person from death or injury.   This spiritual shield, which is a real invisible shield that we are supposed to take up, protects us from spiritual death, which includes anxiety and fear.  The Roman shield, called the scutum, was 3 and half feet high and about 2 feet wide.  When in battle, a Roman soldier would kneel down on one knee and the shield would protect the entire body.  The front and back were usually painted red.  When we are in our spiritual battle, we need to kneel in prayer and pick up our shield of faith, dipped in the crimson red blood of Jesus, which protects our entire body.  To understand this, the “shield of faith” can be restated “the shield that is faith.”  Faith is the shield.  The only way to fight this spiritual battle with spiritual enemies called demons is to use spiritual weapons.  Physical weapons do absolutely nothing against our battle.  Stop fighting with your human physical weapons!  Use God’s weapons He supplied you with.  Your human weapons might get you by coping wise, but only God’s weapons can win this battle at the root cause.  It says in Ephesians 6:16 that this shield of faith is able to extinguish all of the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Note the superlative “all.”  Satan cannot touch you if you properly use this shield.  His arrows are hot and he’s shooting at us so you will want to be sure you take up this shield.  The only way his arrows can get through is if you let down your shield, that is, if you lack faith in that given moment of battle.  

(Some Scriptures to look up: Psalm 91:4-5, Gen. 15:1, Psalm 7:10, 28:7, 33:20, 1 Peter 1:5.) Psalm 91:4 says His faithfulness will be your shield.  When we have faith in God He is faithful in His promises to us.  When we pick up our shield of faith, God adds to it the shield of Himself and protects us.  

Like all of God’s spiritual armament he provides us with, human power is not part of the wardrobe.  Our power against the evil heavenly forces has nothing to do with our abilities.  Faith is not the belief that you can accomplish something, because that would be relying on your human ability, which inflicts absolutely no damage to our spiritual enemies.   The object of our faith is what is important.  

Let’s define faith.  Faith is being fully convinced of the truth.  Faith is being fully convinced God’s word is true even when you do not see or perceive any evidence of it being so.  Faith is believing that it is so even while it is not so, that it might become so simply because God said so.  It setting out while believing that it will be when you get there just as God said it will be beforehand.  Faith is agreeing with what God said and acting on it.  It is knowing that what God said must be real and that God is the absolute source of truth itself.  I must stress this: faith is acting like God is telling the truth.  It is not merely believing with the mind; it is acting out with the feet.  Without the action, faith is just talk and is not faith.  Faith is keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus despite the storms and distractions that surround you.  To look at anything other than Jesus, is to take your eyes off of faith and to drop your shield that is protecting you.  Faith is a disowning of anything that disagrees with God’s word.  Faith is being certain that what God spoke is while still unseen and not yet experienced.  If you see it beforehand, it is not faith and it takes no faith to believe it.  Faith can only be faith if it is based on the unseen and not yet experienced condition.  If you do not yet see the peace that you as a Christian should be experiencing through faith in order to see the peace you do not have, that is a good thing, because it means that your peace is a candidate for faith; read on…

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).  Faith is believing in advance, or as the NLV puts it: “What is faith?  It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen.  It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.”   You cannot hope for something that you see or have in advance.  Faith is spiritually having before physically receiving.   It is believing before seeing the results.  Faith is acting on a promise from the spiritual world that can be access physically by trusting in the One who gave the promise.  When we dissect faith with a scalpel, we find that Jesus is at the center of it.  Faith in anything that does not hold Jesus as its object and focus is not faith.  Jesus is the battery that powers faith and gives it substance.  We are to live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  What your eyes tell you is not the truth of the matter.  The spiritual forces behind the physical are more true than the physical that your eyes see because the spiritual can override the physical and its rules at any time.  Your eyes might see a fiery furnace that kills, but Jesus can join you in that furnace, override the laws of fire, and turn that furnace into a comfortable play pen.  

Faith is not believing something that does not exist.  It is not a hope for something immaterial.  Faith is a hope in something concrete and real, but unseen.  What we are believing in is what God promised in His Word, therefore, although unseen, and not yet obtained physically, faith is believing something that is real because the God of Truth said so.  Faith is being convinced that the unseen thing has already been deposited into your account waiting your withdrawal.  The debit card that we use for our spiritual blessings from God is faith.  Or as the King James indicates: faith is a substance (Hebrews 11:1).  It is invisible stuff, yet real stuff that exist in the spiritual realm, awaiting transfer into the physical world when you access it by faith.   This faith substance is used to activate the God given grace that He has already supplied to make the thing show up in your life.  The grace deposit from God is already there because Ephesians 1:3 says that he “blessed us (past tense) in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing.”  Please notice that it says that EVERY blessing that we will ever receive from God has already been given us, but the problem is their location.  All of our blessings for our entire life that He has already supplied us with are located in the heavenly places and are accessed faith only.   So if the heavenly places are where our blessings are at, that is where we need to hang out in order to retrieve them.   Peace and rest from anxiety and fear have already been blessed to you because at the cross, Jesus defeated Satan, took away the sting of death, and blessed you with every spiritual blessing in Himself.  In addition to that, He also spoke, “Peace I leave with you.  My peace I leave with you.”  Our blessings are in the unseen spiritual bank that must be withdrawn by faith.  

Faith must be attached, or connected to something or someone to be real.  We cannot have faith in the idea of some abstract entity called faith.  You cannot conjure up more faith, by repeating powerless repetitions like, “I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe!”  Your belief must be attached to someone in order for it to be legitimate faith.  The legitimacy of faith is only initialized when its source is Jesus Christ.  

Faith has nothing to do with our feelings.  We defined it by our feet moving not by our emotions emoting.  Your emotions have nothing to do with your faith.  One can feel full of faith and have no faith (for example, a Jehovah’s Witness who believes in a false god); and one can feel deficient in faith and yet be full of faith.  Jesus said that the faith of the tiny mustard seed can move mountains.  Saving faith requires only that one believes in Jesus and His finished work at the cross as being sufficient payment for one’s sins (though we are saved to do good works Ephesians 2:10).  Faith for living requires action of the feet.  Faith acts on God’s commands.  This is important because anxiety makes one feel like he or she lacks the faith to accomplish a task.  It tries to keep us from acting in faith.  Regardless of how we feel, faith has to do with the One in whom we trust, and acting out that belief.  The body has its own feelings.  Just because your body is feeling afraid, do not let that paralyze you.  The power of the Holy Spirit is manifested when we act out truth regardless of how we feel.  Do not equate your power or lack of with how your body feels.

Faith does not compromise God’s position on an issue.  Daniel had faith, but his faith led him into the lion’s den as a death sentence because he would not compromise praying to God.  Faith takes risks for God’s kingdom.  It stands against opposition.  It does not look at apparent safety first because it trusts that God protects the obedient servant.  

This faith stuff is quantitative.  It can be measured even though it cannot be seen.  The measures of faith the bible gives are much faith, mustard seed-size faith, little faith, and no faith.  In Matthew 9:29, Jesus says, “According to your faith will it be done to you.”  He proclaimed this while healing someone’s sight.  He wants us to know that the weight of your faith determines how much grace is granted to you.  With much faith much will be granted.  With no faith, nothing will be granted.  Do not confuse when Jesus says, “O ye of little faith” with mustard seed-size faith.  When Jesus says “O ye of little faith,” He is often referring to someone who is not demonstrating any faith.  The “little” that He is referring to is that they are at least relating to the One in whom they must have faith in, but they are not focusing their faith on Him. Jesus said that all we need is mustard-seed sized faith.  It is not the quantity of faith that is important, but the source of our faith.  If the source of our faith is Jesus, then a mustard-seed size faith is enough.  If Jesus is the source of our faith, we must act on it in order for that mustard-seed (one of the smallest seeds in the world) faith grows into a huge mustard plant.  So going back to the measures, “little faith” is no faith; “mustard-seed size faith” is sufficient faith, but with hesitations (it includes acting out the faith); “much faith” is acting out the faith with no hesitations.  The source of the faith is the key.

Faith moves mountains—trials and tribulations—in your life.  Faith moves mountains; mountains will not move your faith as long as the object of your faith is in Jesus Christ.  The trials can move what your eyes see, but keep your eyes on Jesus in spite of the storm you are in.  We are told in Hebrews 12:2 to fix our eyes on Jesus because He is the author and perfecter of our faith.  Faith is faith only when Jesus is the focus.  When you have the focus right, even when the mountain is bigger than the faith, faith wins.  The mountain can be bigger than your mustard seed sized faith, but because the object of your faith is Jesus, your faith is stronger.   A huge mountain or trial is conquered by a tiny bitty faith because Jesus is a big God who reigns supreme over the mountain or trial.  He is completely in control when we apparently are not.  Mustard seed faith is small, but it is focused on Jesus Christ.  
Faith is the key that moves God’s favor on your behalf.   Romans 5:2 says that we gain access to grace by our faith in Jesus.   God only operates on your behalf in the arena of faith.  Jesus would often say to a person, “Your faith has healed you.”  (Confer with Acts 14:9.)

Trials are good and necessary.  They nourish faith.  In fact, without the trial, faith stagnates and never grows.  James 1:3 says, “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  Verse 4 says, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.”  Trials are blessings from God because they make us stronger servants in the end.  We should thank God for the trial.  What use is faith without a trial?  That’s called simply living.  Faith (other than eternal saving faith) does not exist without a trial.  Trials are necessary for faith cultivation.  Whenever you are in a trial, remember that it is for your growth not for your downfall (as long as you repented of your sins).  God and Satan were both in on Job’s trials.  They both used the same trials but their purposes were different.  Satan came up with the trials to bring Job to his downfall.  God allowed Satan to do what he did, but God used the same trials to strengthen Job, increase his faith, and make him stronger in the end.  While Satan may be attacking you, God is strengthening and teaching you through the same trial.  Faith understands that God is in control and is somehow orchestrating all things for the good for those who love Him.  The bigger the trial, the bigger the growth of faith for the one who stands firm in Christ Jesus.  If you focus on what Satan wants you to focus on, there is no growth.  Trials also nourish a closer relationship with God.  When God brings you through yesterday, you now know that He will bring you through today and you become stronger and trust God more.   

So let’s cover faith’s opposite: unbelief.  Trials never cancel faith.  Unbelief is the only thing that cancels faith. Cancelling faith cancels your blessing.  Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God.  On several occasions Jesus refused to perform miracles because of the people’s lack of faith.  It may sound harsh, but unbelief is calling God a liar. Jesus says in John 20:27, “Stop doubting and believe.” Romans 14:23 says that anything that does not come from faith is sin.  

Faith is needed to overcome our fears and anxiety.  Jesus said to his disciples in Mark 4:40, “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”  The disciples were afraid because of the storm.  We have to have faith that Jesus has the power to rebuke our storms.  His questions imply that faith itself takes away our fear.  When you know that Jesus has your back there is no fear.  2 Corinthians 1:24 says it is by faith you stand firm.  1 John 5:4-5 reads, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
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