In my humble opinion, one of the most controversial misunderstood and difficult things to understand is faith. I was awakened from a nap the other day by a phone call from a very dear friend. After she asked me about a situation, I was asked how I was doing. We have been asking each other this question for nearly 10 years now and many times compare notes regarding our various maladies. I was honest about some of the struggles I was encountering with my teeth/jaw/sinus etc. I was then preached to for nearly 20 minutes about how I needed more faith to get healed. I know my friend was only trying to encourage me, but it reminded me of a principle I have known for 45 years which is that you don't badger someone about faith when they are down. The time to instruct and inspire is when a person is feeling well, not when they are feeling bad.
I gently reminded this person that the only reason I am even alive is because of faith. Not only my faith but the mutual faith of people like my wife, you and her. As it turned out, she had been watching some preachers on television talking about faith and healing and it inspired her to share the stuff with me. I reminded her that I was in a ministry that taught and practiced this material for many years but that God instructed me differently regarding faith and healing about seven years ago. She remembered that time and that was the end of the sermon.
Jesus said that if you have faith, you can move mountains. How many mountains have literally been moved by faith? None that I know of; yet, there is no single principle from the Word of God that generates more condemnation, confusion and conflict among believers than faith and the apparent lack of it. Christians have beaten each other up using faith as a hammer for generations. If you just had more faith brother, you would get healed is the clarion call of those who insist on believing that all problems in life are the result of too little faith. Perhaps they are, but beating someone over the head with the too little faith stick rarely, if ever, helps someone get more faith.
Unless Christians understand the different meanings of the word faith in the Bible, confusion will reign and good believers will end up questioning, condemning and giving up on themselves because they just can't muster enough faith to warrant God's blessings on their lives. I have known people who spent all of their lives torturing themselves over the faith (or the lack of) issue. Many time people end up questioning their faith in Christ as their Savior. Most of the time when this happens, the person ends up quitting the faith and return to their former life.
There is no way to tackle the issue of faith in one blog. I am praying that in due time I can share what I know about this subject and how simple it is. Faith is not complicated nor is it like pulling teeth. Faith is a natural outcropping of trust and belief and not a gruesome task equal to trying to pull an elephant out of quicksand. Faith is something that happens within the heart of a person and is between an individual and God. No one has the right to question another person's faith nor does anyone have the right to condemn someone for an apparent lack of faith.
Faith begins with believing God is God and that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord. Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation for salvation and comes from hearing and believing God's Word according to Romans 10:9, 10. Faith in what Christ accomplished, faith in the promises of God and faith in the integrity of the Word of God represent the overwhelming usages of the word faith in the New Testament. Faith as it relates to a specific situation comes up (especially in the Gospels), but the bedrock upon which the Epistles rest is faith in the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ and how that faith reflects in our daily walk in Christ Jesus.
Once a person is saved, it is impossible to get anymore faith. Once a person receives the faith of Jesus Christ, what other faith is available? The faith of Jesus Christ is the ultimate definition and expression of all faith is. Having faith to be healed, heal others, raise a dead person, get a dream job, make tons of money, win a baseball game and endless other situations is better defined as to believe . Whereas our faith in Jesus Christ is a guaranteed reality, our ability to believe in a specific situation is influenced by so many things, it is anything but assured. Yet, the single greatest area that trips believers up and causes them to fall into condemnation and make foolish mistakes in life is their perceived lack of faith .
The more we understand grace; the greater our understanding of faith will be. The more we understand our purpose in this life (from God's point of view); the greater our understanding of faith will be. The more we understand what is available, how to receive and what to do if it is not available; the greater our understanding of faith will be. The more we understand Romans, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians and what is recorded in other eptistles; the more we understand faith. Finally, the more we understand what is truly important to God; the more we will understand faith and grace, which go hand in hand in defining who we are in Christ Jesus.
I love to talk about faith. Oh, not the sort of thing that a lot of people believe to be "faith" but real true faith which we see portrayed in Hebrews 11. There we find the names of people from the Bible whose stories we are familiar with but we also find these unnamed people mentioned who:
"...were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." Hebrews 11:35b-38
These people had faith in God no matter what. Their faith in God was not based upon what God did or did not do. It was based upon God and God alone. They certainly rejoiced when God delivered them from their afflictions but when they had to endure them, they "kept on walking" knowing that God is faithful and was with them, even if they couldn't see or hear Him.
It is unknown how many people Jesus healed or how many people witnessed miracles during His public ministry but how many of those people were at the cross that day?
It is easy to preach faith when your upon the mountain tops ,but when your in the valley not so easy !
Faith though a small word has stretched from five letters to the whole word of Christ Jesus .
Be forever blessed