#SWBC2014 - A Faith Journey
Faith and Hope were equivalent to "wish" in my early church experiences.
- "I'm just hoping and praying..."
- "You just gotta have faith brother..."
- "Keep the faith!"
Real faith is powerful. The bible says several times: "The just shall live by faith." The bible goes on to say that it is impossible to please God without Faith.
So then, if the just shall live by faith, and it is impossible to please God without faith, we must come to understand what faith is. The common definitions are somewhat helpful; however, faith is so much more than belief.
I've always felt there was a missing key, which is why I have a hit and miss relationship with God. I've felt that once I found this mysterious key it would unlock the things of God in a new way. It's too early to tell, but I may have found that key.
First I must do some review, for your sake, and for mine.
*Gloria Copeland breaks some of this down well in her articles: Understanding Faith Part 1 and Part 2.
Faith Is Belief?Phil Vischer deals with "faith" in an article countering Atheist Peter Boghossian.
Peter B. Atheist claims faith is:
- Pretending to know things one doesn’t know.
- Belief without evidence.
- An irrational leap over probabilities.
- What is faith, in a nutshell? Faith is putting confidence in the representations or claims of someone or something.
The 1828 Websters dictionary defines faith as:
FAITH, n. [L. fides, fido, to trust; Gr. to persuade, to draw towards any thing, to conciliate; to believe, to obey. In the Greek Lexicon of Hederic it is said, the primitive signification of the verb is to bind and draw or lead, as signifies a rope or cable. But this remark is a little incorrect. The sense of the verb, from which that of rope and binding is derived, is to strain, to draw, and thus to bind or make fast. A rope or cable is that which makes fast. Heb.]
- Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth. I have strong faith or no faith in the testimony of a witness, or in what a historian narrates.
- The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition advanced by another; belief, or probable evidence of any kind.
Strong's Grk 4102 - Pistis: Faith, Assurance, Belief. The conviction of the truth of anything.Even the government has taken use of this word and used it, in the term: Full Faith and Credit.
All of this just falls short of what faith actually is. It's no wonder that Peter B. defined faith as "belief without evidence", given that his definition is the functioning (if not spoken) definition of many religious people today. You hear this term "Blind Faith" as somehow being the ultimate admirable quality. "That guy has real strong faith, he just has blind faith!"
Yet... according to Hebrews 11, "faith" has nothing at all to do with being blind, or lacking evidence. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Hope does not mean wish. Bible Hope means expectation. Faith is the substance of expectation. Expectation is always based on solid evidence and prior experience. It's hard to expect something without those in place.
If a friend I know to be a flake tells me he'll meet me at church on Sunday, I don't even look for him that day. I may check my phone to see if he texts me; however, it's usually with the "expectation" that he has another excuse for not being there.
Whereas, if a man I admire and respect as a man of his word says that he'll meet me at church on Sunday, I will leave early, shower, shave, and be ready. Why? I'm expecting him to come. This is the meaning of Bible Hope. Expectation, based on firm evidence, and prior experience.
There is nothing blind at all about bible expectation, or faith.
Faith A Creative Force
Faith is Substance. It's not just belief. It's not mental assent to an idea or concept. It's creative. God used Faith to create the universe. The earth wasn't made from nothing. It was made from an invisible substance called faith. Faith is creative in nature; because, it is based in God's Word. God's Word is creative in it's nature and substance.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.By faith, we understand that, the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
...as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
If God shows up on a Tuesday and calls it Monday, all the forces in the world will combine and snap into alignment to jump forward or backward to make that statement become true. Faith isn't wishing for something to be, it's calling it what you want it to be and expecting it to line up with that word.
God doesn't look into a dark room and say "It sure is dark in here...". God walks into a dark place and says "Light Be!" and Light Be-es. Genesis Chapter One is the very essence of the nature and function of Faith, in demonstration.
Only God has faith inside of him unto himself. Only God can call things that be not as though they are and fully expect to have those things come to pass, without having to check with anyone else.
Man is created in the image and likeness of God, and he fully functions the way God functions. So man, too, can call those things that be not as though they are; however, man was not built for those thoughts and ideas to originate from within himself. Man's expectation must have a source.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Faith comes by hearing.
Hearing comes by the Word of God.
1. Faith comes by hearing. All faith comes by hearing.
- Faith in the the financial emergency to destroy your life, comes by hearing the news of the emergency, and believing in it's power to do so.
- Faith in the power of God to deliver you from that situation comes by hearing about his promise to deliver you, and believing in His power to do so.
"Hear" is where my understanding broke down...
2. Hearing comes by the Word of God.
For so many years I acted like this meant:
- Hearing comes by being a good little student and knowing a lot about the bible.
- Hearing comes by studying the messages of anointed men and women and knowing them so well you can re-teach them yourself.
- Hearing comes by knowing everything you can about the bible, bible history, having the right theology and doctrine.
Be Still - Be Led - Small Voice
Take a moment and read these verses.... slowly....
10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
1 Kings 19:7-17
... the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
Do you hear a theology test in there anywhere? Read them again...
Come on, read them again...
One more time, read them again....
*******OK - Continue *********
Faith comes by hearing - hearing comes by the Word of God.
Not just bible study. Bible study is good, but the Bible is not the Word of God.
Hold your horses, let me explain...
The Bible contains the Word of God, but the pages, ink, and leather are not the Word of God. It's obvious through observation that many people can take the bible out of context and justify some weird, ungodly things.
Like the story about the woman who was having an affair, and wanted her pastor to bless the divorce and endorse the new relationship. "I was praying, Pastor, and asking God what I should do... and I my bible fell open to Ephesians 4:24 'put on the new man'... so I did!"
No, it's not enough to just read your bible, and be a good student of it. That's good, but that's not going to give you one once of faith more than you had yesterday.
Faith comes when the living, active, present tense, real, voice of God speaks something directly to your heart and you choose to believe that word, instruction, leading... act on it... and see the fruit of that come to pass.
More often than not, God is going to use His written Word in tandem with his spoken Word in that process. It's imperitive that you make the bible a regular part of your spiritual diet. However, if you don't spend at least the same amount of energy and time working on hearing God in your spirit/heart, than you can expect that bible study to continue to be a fairly dry experience over all.
If you don't hear the voice of God in your life, you can't have faith. Period.
So how do you do that?
That's another article. But if you want to get a head start, I put up a short post on being led on my bible study journal site.
This Weeks Resource:
- Kenneth Copeland Ministries: Free eBook "Tune In To The Voice Of God"
- "Practicing His Presence" Brother Lawrenec and Frank Laubach
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And now I leave you with a question:
What are YOUR best practices for hearing God day to day?