Living by Faith
For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7)
These profound words of the Spirit penned by Paul the apostle to the Corinthian Christians give a clear and precise overview of the Christian life: we live by faith, not by sensory perception. The same truth is reiterated in Romans 1:17: “…the just shall live by (his) faith”.
It is imperative to understand that Christianity is a life of faith; it has nothing to do with your senses. You were born again by faith, and you can only live the Christian life successfully by faith; there’s no other way.
Faith is a lifestyle; it’s not something you pick up to use whenever you want to get something from the Lord. You can strengthen your faith, stir it, grow it or increase it. Living by faith is living from your spirit according to God’s Word. You look into the mirror of God and are changed, transfigured into the same image of God’s glory that you see, from glory to glory.
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”.
(2 Corinthians 3:18)
As you do this, the forces of life in the Kingdom are revealed to you and released into your world. They work within you and attract to you the people, resources, circumstances and materials that are consistent with your new nature in Christ Jesus. When you declare that you have dominion over the devil, the world, and its circumstances, that reality is established as you proclaim, Hallelujah!
Hebrews 11:6 says without faith, it’s impossible to please God; that means you can’t live for Him without faith. To please Him is to live by faith every day, meaning that everything in your life is directed according to His Word; your confidence is on the eternal realities of the Kingdom and not the earthly, transient, temporal circumstances of life. Our faith is based on what God has said in his Word, not on the evidence of people’s experiences. Then our faith is no longer faith, we slip into Thomas’ experience and only accept what we see. Remember faith is the substance of things not seen. How many of us have judged God’s actions through the lives of others and not His Word? When the evidence of life conflicts with what the Word of God says, we tend to believe the evidence of life’s experiences and reject the plain Word of God.
Jesus was more upset by the lack of faith He saw in people than their sinful mistakes.
And the Lord said, “Listen to the words of the unjust judge. Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He continue to defer their help? I tell you; He will promptly carry out justice on their behalf. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:6-8)
Here Jesus says that help will speedily be given, but poses the question, will there be the faith to carry it out?
Matthew 8:26 shows Jesus’ exasperation with his disciple lack of faith.
He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
Another example of how important faith was to Jesus is the healing of the boy with seizures:
When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus and knelt before Him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not heal him.” “O unbelieving and perverse generation!” Jesus replied. “How long must I remain with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to Me.” Then Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.”
And then Jesus explains the reason for their failure.
Afterwards the disciples came to Jesus privately and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out? Because you have so little faith,” He answered. “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
It is never God withholding, it’s always us. Jesus has just said nothing would be impossible if you had a heart of faith, and I don’t mean a head of faith, if must be from the heart.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus said to them. “Truly I tell you that if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and has no doubt in his heart but believes that it will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Notice the importance of the heart of faith. Most of us manage the mental stage of faith, but fail to get it into our hear; fear is the sign that faith has not fully entered into our hearts.
A subject relevant to our present Covid-19 crisis is fear. Fear is the opposite of faith. If you had confidence in the promises of God, you would lose your fear. When Jesus says to you, “Let not your heart be trouble,” it is impossible to do unless you believe that God’s promises are 100% trustworthy. When you fear, you are in opposition to God, and according to Hebrews 11:6, as mentioned before, you cannot please God. God doesn’t condemn you, you are covered in grace, but He cannot help you as He would like to. God can only take you are far as your faith will go. What I’m going to say next is difficult for me as this can touch sensitive areas of some folk’s experience, but it must be said if we want to grow in our faith with God.
When God gives us a promise, e.g. Isaiah 54:17 “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. or “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19), do you believe it’s true, one hundred per cent, or do you just hope it’s true? Maybe in the past you’ve waited on the Lord for something and it’s not come through for you. So, you use the usual get out clause, you draw back from accusing God of lying so you say, “It probably wasn’t God’s will.” It never occurs to us that our heart might be the problem, and God is desperate to bless you with everything He’s got, but there is a blockage somewhere. It’s a complex problem - I too have had battles with this - but the first thing we must establish is the Word of God never fails and the promises of God are an anchor that never breaks.
We know God’s will for us in the example I gave. He’s said it, “No weapon forged against you will prevail” and “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. If we are in doubt about God’s will in a given situation, find out from the Word what God has to say about it. It will be clear. Then if we fail, it is not God failing to come through - His Word never fails - it’s us. Once we recognise that we have a part to play in the relationship, then we can start moving forward in faith and start seeing the manifestation in our life of God’s promises. Remember a seed has to grow, so we must be prepared for a season of growth before we see the results. Meditate on the Word, spend time, and in time your heart will start to change, and it will take time, so be patient. Remember, you cannot make your heart believe, it is the Spirit that grows faith in your heart. It is something done to you by God.
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
It is when you hear (or read) the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ, mediate on it, and think about it, that it starts to grow at heart level; you become fully convinced in your heart of the truth of God and his promises. Jesus did say “Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”
I want to finish with a few words from Jesus to mediate on:
"If you can?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for one who believes."
“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven, for where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
This brings us neatly into the subject of our authority in Christ. That’s a topic for another time.