Dear Ministry Friends,
What about the "faith message?"
If it is true, it is one of the most important and powerful truths
available to mankind. If there is nothing to it, then it is a
dangerous deception. What does the Bible say?
First, the Bible is full of teaching
about faith, so it must be important. It seems to be a central
theme in a believer's relationship to God in both the Old and
New Testaments. To be a "believer," one has to believe
which requires "faith" that God's Word is true
or trustworthy. Of course, a person cannot even get saved without
faith as Ephesians
2:8 tells us,"For by grace you have been saved
Other scriptures on faith include:
1) "The just shall live by faith."
3:11). 2) "Without faith it is impossible
to please God." (Hebrews
11:6). 3) "Whatever is not of faith is sin."
Wow! This faith stuff must be very
important to God. And based on "mountain moving" scriptures
11:23-24, it must be very powerful for a believer's life.
But anything that is powerful can also be dangerous. I can't cover
faith comprehensively in a newsletter, but we can discuss some
So what is scriptural faith and how
should it be used? First, faith is believing or trusting in God.
It can be used for receiving salvation, guidance, healing, protection,
or anything else that comes from God. Faith is the substance of
things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews
11:1). It's believing God's Word.
Since we have never seen God, our
faith technically has to be in what He has said. His words are
recorded in the Bible. So our faith is based on God's words. Having
faith in those words is what got us saved. Romans
10:11 says, "How then shall they call on Him in
whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him
of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a
Some "faith preachers"
have turned off many Christians. But it is possible that it's
actually their motives, egos, and techniques that are really the
cause of our disgust, while their actual doctrinal positions may
be very helpful. And wouldn't the devil try to discredit them
(those faith preachers) by working to misguide their motives,
egos, and techniques, if he couldn't shake them off the truth
they discovered in scripture?
Jesus admired "great faith"
8:10), so we should obviously try to increase our faith to
be pleasing to Him. How does faith increase? Faith increases the
same way our muscles do. There are two ways by feeding
them and exercising them. We feed our faith by reading God's words
10:17 and Hebrews
5:12). We exercise our faith by actively using it (just like
using our bodies). Whatever we don't use, we lose. It's called
"atrophy of the muscles" in the human body, and it happens
to a believer's faith the same way.
These two aspects of faith are where
we human beings have failed. First, we have starved our faith
by not having time in God's Word each day. Then when we tried
to use our faith when a problem arose, we failed to have the spiritual
strength needed to win. People have tended to blame God (sovereignty
theology) when it is really our own fault! See Mark
4:14-20 for teaching from Jesus on what steals God's Word
from our daily devotions. And see Ezekiel
18:25 on our tendency to blame God. I know, I've done it many
God still can and will help us through
a difficulty (because we are His children and we are in covenant
with Him), but things would go easier for us if we kept our faith
built up. (For example: the disciples could not cast out an evil
spirit, but Jesus could and Jesus said they could not because
of their unbelief. See Matthew
The second aspect of faith where
we have all failed many times is in the exercise or application
of it. The greatest problem in the "faith movement"
was that people tended to make "formulas" out of faith.
This gave rise to it being called "name it and claim it."
And the "formula" did not work for the majority of those
that tried it, so the faith movement was discarded by many. Maybe
they tried faith without works (corresponding deeds and action
- see James
2:17 & 26
in the Amplified translation). Actually, many of them just had
hope instead of true faith in God. And they were just copying
what another believer or minister said to do.
God works very individually with
each believer. He told Gideon to put torches in clay pots to win
a military victory. But this "formula" was never used
again! The same is true with Joshua marching around the walls
of Jericho and shouting to make them fall. Moses was even denied
access to the Promised Land because he made a "formula"
for getting water out of rocks. (The first time God told him to
strike the rock. The second time Moses was supposed to speak to
the rock, but he struck it instead because that worked
the last time! Compare Exodus
17:5-6 with Numbers
Faith should not be practiced from
formulas, it should be practiced from relationship. True faith
in someone is based on relationship with that person, not formulas
for dealing with people. We must "hear from God" individually
for the steps to solve individual problems. For example, in the
same health crisis: one person should have surgery, another should
use a natural health treatment, and another should just "believe
God's Word." If we want to impose on others what worked for
us, people may get into trouble. And what worked for the same
person one time might not be the way God plans to solve the same
problem the next time (just ask Moses)!
The sons and daughters of God are to be led by His Spirit! (See
That is why the first book I chose
to publish was How to be Led by the Spirit, Volume One.
I have been offering one copy at no charge to help people who
are a part of our ministry. I also have posted it on our ministry
web site (www.wordsoflife.org) for those who
have access to the Internet. These truths can be a matter of life
We must "hear from God"
on a daily basis even a minute by minute basis if
we want to experience the overcoming life God desires for each
of us. We have all usually lived so far beneath it that many believers
doubt it is even attainable!
But our lack of experiencing something
from God does not prove it is unavailable. Many lost people think
salvation is not available to them. Many fundamental Christians
think the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit are not available
(when millions have already received). Many believers have died
waiting on God to heal them when He was waiting on them
to have faith (God is not a "respecter of persons,"
but He has shown in the Bible that He respects faith!).
The overcoming life is available.
But we have to fight for it. The apostle Paul called it "the
good fight of faith" (1st
Timothy 6:12, 2nd
Timothy 4:8). It is not easy, and it is not a formula, but
it is worth it. We need to overcome not to lavish the spoils
of victory on ourselves but to bring glory to God and fulfill
His purpose for our lives. Some "faith people" have
used their faith to heap luxuries of affluence upon themselves,
and again they turned people off to any concept of applied faith
in their own lives. But we should not "throw the baby out
with the bath water."
Let us all be people of great faith,
and correctly understand and apply the principles of faith. Let
us overcome through faith to give glory to God and fulfill His
purposes not to impress others with the results of our
faith. And let's keep following God regardless of how successful
we are in the process!
Growing in faith,