Mark 9:17-23: Father (in the crowd): 17 Teacher, I have brought my son to You. He is filled with an unclean spirit. He cannot speak, 18 and when the spirit takes control of him, he is thrown to the ground to wail and moan, to foam at the mouth, to grind his teeth, and to stiffen up. I brought him to Your followers, but they could do nothing with him. Can You help us?Jesus: 19 O faithless generation, how long must I be among you? How long do I have to put up with you? Bring the boy to Me.20 They brought the boy toward Jesus; but as soon as He drew near, the spirit took control of the boy and threw him on the ground, where he rolled, foaming at the mouth. Jesus (to the father): 21 How long has he been like this? Father: Since he was a baby. 22 This spirit has thrown him often into the fire and sometimes into the water, trying to destroy him. I have run out of options; I have tried everything. But if there’s anything You can do, please, have pity on us and help us. Jesus: 23 What do you mean, “If there’s anything?” All things are possible, if you only believe. Father (crying in desperation): 24 I believe, Lord. Help me to believe!
Do you feel like you have run out of options? Have you tried everything? Do you pray this wimpy prayer to God “Lord if there is anything you can do!” God is thinking “Anything I can do? Anything I can do? Do you forget who you are talking to? I am God, the Creator of the heavens and earth; who has no beginning or end, who is the first and the last, who holds the entire universe in his hand and you ask if you can do anything?”
Job 26:7-14 He stretches out the northern sky over vast reaches of emptiness; He hangs the earth itself on nothing.8 He binds up the waters into His clouds, but the cloud does not burst from the strain.
9 He conceals the sight of His throne and spreads His clouds over it to hide it from view.10 He has encircled the waters with a horizon-boundary: the line between day and night, light and darkness.
11 The very pillars that hold up the sky quake and are astounded by His reprisals. 12 By His power, He stilled the sea, quelling the chaos; by His wisdom, He pierced Rahab, evil of the sea; 13 By His breath, the heavens are made beautifully clear; by His hand that ancient serpent—even as it attempted escape—is pierced through.14 And all of this, all of these are the mere edges of His capabilities.
We are privy to only a whisper of His power. Who then dares to claim understanding of His thunderous might?
If you can do anything? Oh how we have failed to see the bigness and majesty of our God. We make God too small and place around his neck the chains of human limitation. Therefore our faith is weak and without power. Jeremiah 9:3: Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you of great things, things beyond what you can imagine, things you could never have known. Jeremiah 32:27: Look! I am the Eternal, the God of all living things. Is anything too difficult for Me? Our prayer should be Lord help me believe. Help to eradicate my unbelief!
Luke 1:37,38a: For with God nothing shall be impossible.38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.
This is earth shattering, life changing faith-“Be unto me according to your word” for with God NOTHING is impossible. ALL things are possible to him or her who believes. It is not be it unto be according to my fears, my anxieties, my unbelief, my abilities, my strengths, my education, my bank accounts, my connections, my circumstances or according to the world news, current culture, current economy, work of politics, current legislation or the stereotypes of society. Be it unto me according to thy Word! Let my life become your Word. Let me reflect your Word with every thought, every action and every deed. This is the type of faith that God requires and Christians need to awaken to. Simply put it is a child-like faith from a pure heart in our loving Heavenly Father.
My heart for you in this teaching is beautifully expressed in I Thessalonians 3 that as “a brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ” I may “establish and exhort you in your faith” that you not be moved by the pressures of this life and that through fervent prayer this teaching may help to “supply what is lacking in your faith.” I also pray part of the great prayer of Ephesians 1 concerning this teaching “that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened that you may know (ginosko-fully experience as a reality in your life) the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe.” Finally I pray that like the Thessalonian believers your “faith grows abundantly.” II Thessalonians 1.
I Timothy 1:5: Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: II Timothy 1:5: When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
God wants our faith to be “unfeigned.” The Greek word for “unfeigned” means “without play acting, without playing the part, without hypocrisy, without being a stage-actor.” Are we play-acting with our faith? Are we stage actors when it comes to our faith? Do we play a part and put on a good show, but have no substance to our faith? Are we hypocrites when it comes to our faith? God desires that our faith always be unfeigned, that it is genuine, sincere, rock solid, confident, bold and unwavering. The Word of God demands that our faith be unfeigned so it is not a fake outward show, but an inner conviction and reality.
The Vital Mixture
We must first understand that our knowledge of the Bible and its timeless truths must be mixed with a vital ingredient or it does us little good and has very little impact in our Christian walk. We all have a lot of head knowledge of Scripture which is a wonderful starting point, but this knowledge needs to be ignited in our hearts by this ingredient which acts like the match that lights the fire or the catalyst that starts an explosion of the power of God in our lives. Our knowledge of the Word of God must be mixed with faith or it is of no profit to our lives. Knowing the Bible and being able to articulate that knowledge are not going to make your life, ministry or family situation improve. You can memorize the whole Bible and still live in defeat. You can raise your children according to biblical principles and still not see any fruit of that in their behavior and attitudes. .Something is wrong; faith is missing.
Hebrews 4:2: For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. There’s a chemistry to take place. For example, when hydrogen is mixed with oxygen in the presence of heat, a chemical reaction takes place and water is produced. Two separate elements, when combined, yield an entirely different result than if they were never mixed. This is true in life as well. There’s a chemistry that needs to occur in our lives—in what we see, hear and know from Scriptures being mixed with faith. You may have needs or promises from God, but if they are never mixed with the element of faith, you will never see the reaction take place to bring those to fruition. “All things are possible to him who believes!” (Mark 9:23). Our own solutions never work—they never worked for me and they will never work for you. The real solution to the variety of situations we face in life will only come by faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God].” God works by faith. Unless all that we know, all that we have heard in church services and in the books we’ve read is mixed with faith, it isn’t worth anything. The Bible cannot save anyone. The Bible cannot set you free from sickness or demon-possession. The Bible cannot provide your funds. Knowledge of the Bible will not make you a better person. Knowing the Scriptures didn’t help the Pharisees. Don’t fool yourself. Satan can quote Scriptures more fluently than any of us.
In speaking of the Israelites as they came for the first time to the border of the Promised Land, they knew the Word. They knew the promises. But still, they died out in the wilderness. This happened not because they didn’t know what God wanted for them, but because they didn’t mix all their knowledge with faith. That is the reason why, although God had promised them the land, He did not bring them into that promise. The Israelites came to the border of the Promised Land, but they couldn’t enter because of their unbelief. They saw the giants in the land. They saw the fortified cities. They saw the impossibilities. And 10 of the spies said (paraphrase), “We simply cannot do it.” These spies were telling the truth. They were not lying. They could not do it; the armies of Israel were just not strong enough. Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who brought back a different report, believing they would see victory, did not argue with the others about the impossibilities. They did not say, “You bunch of liars, be quiet.” No. Instead they replied, “If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey’ ” (Numbers 14:8). Through faith, Joshua and Caleb knew that God was able, and that made all the difference.
KP Yohannon: Faith is still what makes the difference today. I am constantly amazed when I see beautiful, childlike faith in action. I can hardly believe it when I read letters from simple Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists who know hardly anything about the Bible. They write and say, “I believed what you said on the radio, and this is what God did. So now we believe in Jesus too. ”One particular family who was listening to one of our broadcasts heard that “Jesus can do anything.” At the time, this family had a sick goat. Do you know what they did? I love this. It’s such childlike faith, so simple, so believing. They took the radio and placed it on the sick goat, believing that the Jesus they heard about through the radio could heal the goat. Sure enough, their goat got up and walked around, completely healed!
Please understand—nobody tells these people to do these sorts of things. They hear about Jesus, that He loves them, that He died and was raised for them, that He does miracles—and they simply believe. Their faith is so unquestioning. “God said it. Jesus is able. So I believe.” And it works! Logic cannot explain it and I cannot explain it, other than the truth that “according to your faith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:29). Yet what is seemingly so simple can be extremely difficult for a lot of us. We like to understand how things work, and we take pride in our ability to figure things out. But the realm of faith does not dwell in logic and formulas.
Faith is sacred territory that can only be apprehended through the wide believing eyes of a little child. This divine territory holds untold blessings in its bosom, however those blessings will be gleaned only by those who rise up and claim them with the unabashed faith of a five-year old. Faith is confidence, assurance, all-out trust that someone who said he would do something will in fact do it. Our modern dilemma we just don’t believe what the Bible says. We believe bits and pieces but we don’t actually believe that the living substance of the life of Jesus, let alone Job, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Daniel, Elijah, Elisha, Peter, James, John and Paul is intended to be planted squarely in the midst of our bodies and energize us to live lives like theirs. We just don’t buy it. We wriggle beneath a hovering doubt when notions of being victorious over our addictions, being freed from our lusts, or conquering our fears comes up in conversation. And we have no grid whatsoever for notions of walking on water, calming storms, giving sight to the blind or raising the death. Faith enables us to have the courage of David, the strength of Samson, the boldness of Paul, the compassion of Jesus, the audacity of Moses, the power of Elisha and the earth shaking prayer life of Elijah. The spirit of God and the Word of God combined with faith makes us unstoppable in a more than conqueror lifestyle. Faith believes the impossible and ignites God to act.
The Christian life is a fight or battle of faith as everything in the world and our flesh cries out against faith. “12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” I Timothy 6:10
How can we grow in the mountain-moving faith that we read about in the pages of our Bible—stories of Daniel in the lion’s den and the little boy David with his sling? The answer is found in God’s Word. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The purpose of God’s Word is to help grow our faith in Almighty God and His promises. When we know His promises and believe Him, taking Him at His Word, we walk in victory. Faith is the victory!
In Hebrews 11:1 we find the definition of faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” What does Scripture say that faith is? First, it says that faith is the substance. .Faith is so real it is called substance. Substance is the material of which something is made, the building blocks of it. Your faith is the substance, the building blocks of God’s promises! The Greek word used for this particular word substance is hupostasis. Hupostasis means “that which stands under,” the basis of something or that which supports the thing. From the second part of Hebrews 11:1, we see that faith is the “evidence of things not seen.” In a courtroom, the judge and jury expect to see some type of evidence proving that whatever a person is charged with is indeed true. The evidence presented determines the outcome of the case. Your faith is also the evidence, determining the outcome of what you are believing for.
Faith directly relates to the invisible, to things that we cannot see with our eyes or handle with our senses. When I was learning about faith years ago, this was the place where the Lord first opened my eyes—that my five senses, no matter how hard I try, will not be able to explain faith or put it into practice and use. Faith is not dealing with what I can see with my eyes or touch with my hands. For example, consider the verse in Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” I don’t know how to figure this out. How in the world, with my natural senses, can I just believe and be saved? It is totally outside of my logic and my senses, something I cannot comprehend with my mind. Our senses only relate to this visible world. But faith takes us beyond the visible to the invisible, to the underlying reality by which the whole universe was formed, which is by the Word of God. Hebrews 11:3 says, “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.”Faith deals exclusively with believing God and His Word. It is with this foundation that biblical faith is distinguished from all else.
Faith has dogged persistence and audacious nerve –“Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. Luke 11:5b-8 NASB. What does it mean to have faith? For most of us, it means to believe certain things, to have a statement of faith, to confess certain doctrines as truth. Sometimes it also means to act in certain ways, to go to church, to say certain prayers. Yeshua told a parable about faith one time, but His little story paints a very different picture. The Greek word translated “persistence” is anaideia. “Probably the Hebrew word that best translates the Greek term anaideia is a form of the word chutzpah. In current English, perhaps ‘raw nerve’ would be a better definition. ‘Chutzpah’ means ‘brazen tenacity’ or ‘bold perseverance.’ ‘Relentless diligence’ or even ‘impudence’ is very near the meaning. The conclusion is almost inescapable. . . Does Jesus define faith as determined nerve?” Our view of faith is anemic. Yeshua’s view of faith is dogged persistence and unrelenting determination. His view of faith is Jacob at Jabbok, Elijah on Mount Carmel and Paul’s thrice-pled prayer. Faith is never letting go no matter what. It has far less to do with what I believe than it does with what I do. In fact, I might even suggest that biblical faith is most effective when I am intellectually convinced that what I am about to do is impossible. At the edge of the Sea of Reeds, faith is lifting up my hands. At Jericho, it is walking in silence. In front of Nebuchadnezzar’s oven, it is declaring my resolve. In a Jewish village, it is willingly bearing the shame of pregnancy. “This is impossible” – and that’s why I do it.
A friend comes to the door in the middle of the night. You don’t care about his problem. You turn your back on all social propriety and expectations. But he just won’t quit! Just like that judge, you finally give in because he won’t stop annoying you. How many of us won’t give up annoying God until He delivers! How many of us won’t let go until He blesses? Too few warriors, too many wimps. Cowering under theological bed sheets, we are afraid to require God to deliver. Moses wasn’t. “You can’t do this, Lord, or the world will think You are nothing but a tyrant.” That takes real cojones. Chutzpah. There is no “Jesus meek and mild.” Read the stories again. The man of faith was as brazen as they get. Everywhere you look He is shouting, “Don’t you see what God is doing here?” Do we? Is your theology preventing you from having faith?
Hebrew is a pictographic language and the word picture for faith or believe is as follows: The root for the word “believe” is aleph-mem-nun – aman. The Hebrew word picture is: mem – waters, nun – the quickening of life, aleph – strength. Thus, “the strength of the living waters.” Faith or believing brings the strength of living waters into our lives.
God has something in mind for each of us. He has this in mind long before we get started on our journey toward the place He is going to show us. Along the way, most of us get off track. There is a Greek word for this. It is planasthe. It means “to cause to wander, to lead astray, to seduce or mislead” but we translate it as “deceive”. Abraham got off track when he deceived himself into thinking he had to protect his own life in order for God’s promise to be fulfilled. We do the same thing. We don’t see how things are going to work out for us. We worry about the money, our health, the job or any number of “protection” items. And so we begin to take care of those things our own way. We deceive ourselves into thinking that God needs us to lend a hand to His promise. Just like Abraham, we eventually discover that we have made a mess. The first thing we need to know about faith is that it is God’s plan for us, not our plan worked out with an acknowledging nod toward God. Faith does not begin with us. Faith begins with God. First, God acts on our behalf. His intentions always precede ours. In fact, about the only thing He asks is for us to follow. He didn’t say to Abraham, “Now, get out there and make things happen. Go up the road until you think you have arrived. Set up shop. Build a city. Make babies. Get wealthy and build a big church. Then, when you have done all that, I’ll come back and inspect your efforts”. No, God said, “Follow along and I will show you something. I’ll show you when I’m ready. You just tag along behind”. Funny thing. Jesus said almost the same words. “Follow me”.
Faith begins with God. Actually, it’s a good thing that it does. If faith began with us, we would certainly mess it up. And even better, when we do mess it up, God can still bring about His intentions for us. Abraham messed it up several times. God still produced the results He wanted. God had to deal with all the mess that Abraham made along the way. Extra children. Broken relationships. Bad company. An abused wife. But God was more than able to manage all that mess and still get Abraham where God wanted him to be. Just a bunch of extra baggage that Abraham packed into the trip. If faith begins with God, why do we carry along so much extra stuff? Why are we always trying to “fix” things that God forgot about? “Wait a minute, God! Did you forget that I have to pay that bill? Did you forget about that assignment I need to do? Hey, what about my plans to take that job? Did you forget I need a new car? Don’t you remember that my husband doesn’t treat me right?” When faith begins with God, we have absolute assurance that faith will arrive at its intended destination. We’re not in charge, thank God! So, relax! Follow along. Stop adding to the pile you’re carrying. God knows what you need. It’s His train. You’re just a passenger. The greatest struggle of faith is to remember who owns the train. Faith is remembering who’s who. The reason the Bible includes all those stories about the failures of faith’s heroes is to remind us that faith is about God, not about us. And God is able. He is able to take any mess, any circumstance and any problem – the stuff that just seems like there is no way in the world it will ever work – and bring about His intentions. God has purposes for you. He will see that they are carried out. Faith is the confidence that God is on my side, that I can trust Him completely. He knows what He is doing. I don’t have to second-guess His arrangements.
That’s exactly what got Abraham in so much trouble. He knew God had plans. He knew God made promises. But he second-guessed how it was going to be done. So, he did what we all do – the commonsense thing. He went to Egypt. He lied to protect himself. He decided that sex with Hagar wasn’t such a bad idea. He told the kings another lie. Instead of waiting for God, he said to himself, “Hey, what gives here anyway? God made me a promise but things look pretty bad. I guess I’d better do something to make all this come true”. God repaired the damage, but the damage didn’t need to be done. Abraham was an impatient man. Aren’t we the same? Are we ready to wait for God? Do you rely completely on the peace that we have? We know that God has restored the relationship. Why can’t we find comfort in that restoration? Is anything more important? Jesus tells us the same thing (isn’t is amazing that Jesus just reminds us of all those Old Testament lessons we forgot). He says, “Why do you worry about what will happen to you? Don’t you know that your heavenly Father knows all of your needs? Seek Him first – follow along – and let Him take care of the rest”. Faith is God first – and God second. First, God comes after us. Second, God looks after us.
Hebrews 11:6a: “And without faith it is impossible to please him.” Romans 14:23b: “For whatever is not of faith is sin”
Skip Moen: The New Testament word for sin is hamartia. It literally means “missing the mark”. In this case, it might as well mean “doing it our way”. It is the Frank Sinatra principle (“I did it my way”). And, by the way, just in case you didn’t know it, Frank Sinatra was not God (neither was Elvis). If I think that I can assist God by doing things my way, I am certainly going to miss the mark. Abraham found out the hard way. God didn’t visit him for thirteen years while Ishmael grew up. For thirteen years, Abraham looked every day on the consequences of doing it his way. For thirteen years, Sarah and Abraham had to deal every day with the results of doing it their way. Not a very happy marriage. And the other mother, Hagar, was right there in their faces every day. There was no option of divorcing and moving across the country. There were no restraining orders. There was no child visitation. Sometimes the consequences of our foolishness need to stay with us to remind us that faith is about God’s way, not ours.
“And without faith it is impossible to please [God]” Hebrews 11:6. Notice that the verse in Hebrews doesn’t say, “Without faith it’s pretty hard to please God”. It doesn’t say, “Most of the time without faith it’s tough to please God”. It says that it is impossible. The Greek word is adunaton. It literally means “is not able” or “can’t be done”. Isn’t that amazing! With faith, God is able. Without faith, we are not able. In other words, if I remember that God is in charge, then I know that God is able. But if I forget that God is in charge, then it turns out that I am not able ultimately to please Him because I did not let Him do what He is able to do. How simple is that! God is able. Let Him do it. Sin is just deciding that God is not able and I need to do it. That insults God. No wonder He is displeased.
Sarah wants to enjoy the prestige of being associated with a great man – her husband. God has promised he will be the father of many, a high honor indeed. But Sarah doesn’t have a child. She knows that she doesn’t have a child because God has not yet allowed her to have a child. She recognizes God’s sovereignty when it comes to her body, but she is not willing to recognize God’s sovereignty over the rest of her world. So, she decides to sing along with Frank. She thinks, “God is not able to take care of this. I’ll have to do it myself”. So, she comes up with a plan that she knows Abraham won’t refuse. Pretty soon they are all humming along with Frank. When we think God is not able, we deny God’s faithfulness toward us. We call God a liar. It doesn’t work out very well.
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:3,4,6-8
Oswald Chambers reminds us that whenever we encounter doubt in our walk with God, we need to stop. God does not promote doubt. God is very clear about what He wants us to do, even if what He tells us is only a tiny step of the whole plan. In fact, I don’t know a single person who ever knew the whole plan from the beginning. I doubt (there’s that word again) that even Jesus knew it all for day one. The Bible tells us that he had to grow up learning obedience just like we have to (Hebrews 5:8). That’s very comforting. If Jesus had to learn to follow, why should I think that I can just run ahead? Now James tells us that if we are going to do something with our faith, we need to not start an internal dispute with ourselves. That’s what this word doubt means. The Greek is diakrino. It comes from the idea of separating or choosing between one thing and another. There are two other words that are translated “doubt”. One is dialogismos. It means “to debate through words” or “argument”. It is used in the New Testament for the idea of evil thoughts or argument. It usually has the sense of trying to justify your actions – arguing with God about how “right” your sin really is. The other is distazo. Here the idea is that you are stuck between two courses of action. There are two pictures that help us see the meaning: a man standing at a crossroads, not knowing which way to go and a balance scale, equally weighted on each side, tipping back and forth. It means, “to hesitate, to waver, to be uncertain”. It is not argumentative or evil. It is just being stuck in the middle. God help me, I don’t know which way to go! James sees diakrino because he does not want us to think about trying to justify ourselves before God nor does he want us to think about simple hesitation. He wants us to see that this kind of doubt is about debating what is the right selection.
We come to a crossroads as we tag along behind God. But God is out just out of sight. We can’t quite see which way He went. So, we have to choose. Right or left. We waver (distazo). We remember Oswald Chambers. Stop! We fix our mind on the mind of Christ and then we feel we should go right. We don’t argue with God about it (“You know, God, you really didn’t make it clear and besides, it looks so nice down the road on the left and I just couldn’t help it”). We take a step to the right. Suddenly we are besieged with doubt – the diakrino kind. Wait! What if this isn’t the right way? Maybe I didn’t hear it correctly? Maybe I should have prayed more? How do I know I am really doing what God wants? Maybe I need a sign? I should open the Bible and find a verse. But what if that doesn’t work either? Diakrino is the doubt that stops acting on faith because it doesn’t believe that God can repair mistakes. It believes God has only one way and if I miss it, I will never recover. The entire universe depends on me making the right choice. The pressure is too much. What will I do now? James says, “Go forward. God is able to correct you if you are on the wrong path. He’ll get you back on track. But He can’t do anything until you start to move. Just standing there debating with yourself will accomplish nothing”. Once again Oswald Chambers reminds us that when we move forward on faith, God will simply close the doors if we are off course. Then we can retreat and start again. Remember, its God journey. He’s in charge. So get up and get moving. Don’t be afraid to put your trust on Him. He is able.
Faith that brings about the promises of God is powerful only because of whom the faith is placed in. God’s very nature and character is faithfulness and goodness. He is always constant and true. So is His Word. Neither He nor His Word will ever change. “For I am the LORD, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). And God watches over His Word to make sure it comes to pass. Isaiah 55:10–11 says, “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Because of this truth, we can confidently believe God, knowing that He does not change, that He is full of goodness and that what He said in His Word will happen!
Faith is not denying what is happening in your life or what you are experiencing. It is not pretending that you do not see the dangers or the problems before you. Like I mentioned earlier, Caleb and Joshua saw the strength of those who inhabited the Promised Land. They did not deny that the cities were fortified or that the giants were real. Faith is not denying that you are sick when you are horribly ill. It is not denying that your finances have run short when you are out of funds. Rather, faith is seeing all the problems before you with your earthly eyes, yet not using those eyes to see the solution. God is greater than every difficult situation we face. Faith sees God for who He is, for His ability and for His promises, and believes on Him in the midst of all the difficulties known. By faith we are able to look beyond the problems and solutions of man to see Him who is invisible and can do the impossible!
From the world’s perspective, faith often looks foolish and illogical. But faith trusts God to do what He has promised, no matter how foolish the steps He asks us to take may seem. There is nothing of man’s way in faith. Faith led David to face a giant with a simple slingshot and five stones (see 1 Samuel 17). Faith led Joshua to command a makeshift army to walk around a walled city, blowing trumpets and shouting for their victory (see Joshua 6). Please put yourself in these men’s place for a moment and realize how humbling or frightening these things must have been. But remember, no matter how foolish or ridiculous Joshua and the children of Israel looked while walking around the city of Jericho for seven days, it was by their faith that the walls did come down! In the end, faith always wins out!
In 2 Kings 5 the story is told of Naaman the leper who was sent to Elisha the prophet to be healed of his leprosy. When he arrived at the prophet’s door, Naaman was told, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean” (v. 10). But Naaman didn’t like that solution. The Jordan River was just some distant, muddy water to him. In verses 11–12 we are told that “Naaman became furious, and went away and said, ‘Indeed, I said to myself, “He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.” Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage.” The ways of God seemed foolish to Naaman—so much so that he stormed away from the prophet’s home, still a leper. Naaman responded with human logic. He thought he knew the best way for his healing to happen, and when he heard something as foolish as dipping in some distant river, he wouldn’t accept it. Just when he was about to return home, his servants met him saying, “ ‘If the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, “Wash, and be clean”?’ So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (2 Kings 5:13–14). When we do it God’s way, believing Him above the ways of man and our own reasoning, we will see the power of God at work and will receive the promises of God. Remember that “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Little children believe with reckless abandon. If a father tells his son to jump from a burning, two-story building, the son will jump. He will not stand there and think about physics and gravity and calculate if his father is strong enough to catch him. He doesn’t reason with logic and think, “I might hurt myself. Maybe I should look for another way down.” No. He simply jumps in faith. Someone he trusts said to do it, so the son jumps and is saved. We need to be like this—trusting God so completely, so confidently. We must learn to lean on His understanding rather than our own (see Proverbs 3).
A complex, reasoned faith doesn’t cure leprosy, kill giants or cause walls to crumble. A complex faith only imprisons us in a maze of theological wonderland. I am not saying to run out and do things that don’t make sense. I am not saying to think of some ridiculous thing you want and believe for it. Some extreme groups preach this false kind of faith. They say just pray it and claim it and God will send an angel to bring the Rolls Royce or whatever elaborate thing you may want. That is not faith—it is madness. That is feeding the desires of the flesh in the name of faith. You can’t use faith to get what you want for yourself. Faith only brings to you what God wants for you. Have faith in God—the kind of faith that David had, the faith that defeats huge giants with simple stones. Let God do what He has promised to do. Listen to what He says in His Word and follow it. Even if you can’t understand it fully, do it. Don’t be like Naaman and let your reasoning postpone the promises of God at work in your life. Believe Him and step out in faith. Faith throws itself onto God and holds Him to His character and His Word. Faith never fails because God never fails.
Second Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Here we see that there is a clear distinction between faith and sight. The two are opposites; each excludes the other. When we walk by faith, we don’t have to worry about how things look. If we walk by sight, there is no room for faith. We can see where we are going and so we simply follow the path we see. If you know how something is going to happen or know how to solve your problems on your own, you don’t need faith. You don’t need God if you can work it out without Him. But the truth is we always need God. Thus, we must always live by faith.
We are a culture that demands to see proof. Scientists spend years running experiments just to show that some medicine or treatment works. Much like Thomas, who wouldn’t believe the Lord Jesus had risen until he put his hand in His pierced side, we find it hard to believe anything we cannot see, declaring “seeing is believing.” Please, let us not be like this. Jesus said in John 20:29, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The Bible shows us a way of life that isn’t dependent on only what we can see. Psalm 27:13 says, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (emphasis added). Matthew 21:22 says, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (emphasis added). Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (emphasis added). In each of these passages, which comes first, believing or seeing? Believing, of course! First we believe and then we see! So, if you want to see something happen, start believing. Stop trying to see it first. In John 11:20–21 we read, “Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ ” But Jesus answered Martha by gently reminding her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40, emphasis added). said (paraphrase), “Please don’t look at the facts, only believe. Believe first and then you will see.” We cannot figure this out—yet we don’t always need to. God requires nothing but our belief, even if it is only as small as a mustard seed. Have you ever seen a mustard seed? They are incredibly small, like a tiny little speck, the smallest seed of all plants! Even faith just that small, Jesus said, is able to move mountains! “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20, NIV).
The Bible says, “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Sin is walking your own road, regardless of whether the road you choose looks good or bad to the rest of society. Even today, a lot of Christian work is done by sight. There are Christian people who think they know how to carry out God’s work. They think they know how to win the lost, grow fruitful ministries or attract the youth. But the truth is that if what you are doing is not done by faith, God will not bless it. God is deeply concerned that we do His work, His way, by faith. It is simply how things function in the kingdom of God
I want to encourage you to understand this. It is so important and so crucial that day by day, in every situation, in every way, we choose to walk by faith. I can say from years and years of experience in this journey, those who are willing to take God’s Word at face value and act in belief are the ones who experience His promises. But for those who try to explain it, figure it out or work out the promises on their own, there is only defeat.
Eric Ludy: Do you still have your boyish or girlish believing soul? Or did you lose that treasure in this doubting, seriously faith-impaired world? Do you still possess that rare jewel of spirit that refuses to turn its back on hope and holds the cynical voice of man in derision, or are you swimming in the morass of unbelief. If you have lost your boyish believing soul, it’s not too late to get it back. It’s not too late to say to God, “Make me little once again, dear Lord, make me little in mind, soft in heart, trusting in soul. ‘Please bring me back to that age of spiritual innocence when I simply believed that You are all-powerful and fully capable of doing precisely what You claim You can do.” Very few have experienced the divine swagger of faith of God’s anointed. It’s divine adrenaline pumping through the soul. It’s pure and unwavering confidence that smirks at all opposition and whispers under the breath, “Nothing can intimidate me!” This swagger of faith makes a man or woman unstoppable, unquenchable and impervious to fear. Very few believers in our generation have ever felt this sensation, this blazing reality of the Christian existence. It’s not pride, arrogance or egotism-rather, its feeling the courage of God fuse into your spine and the bravery of God flood your heart. It’s a feeling of impenetrability, a sense of indestructibility and a clear grasp of the reality that God holds you in the hollow of His almighty hand. It’s as if your soul is captured in the solid resin of God’s power and there is now a barrier of impervious grace encompassing your life. We need to live in the reality of the power we have been given in the new birth, igniting its power by our faith.
Live in the reality of these great words of God and mix faith with them to see them explode in power in our lives.
Luke 10:18: And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. I Peter 1:5a: Who are kept by the power of God through faith.
2 Samuel 22:30-35 For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall. 31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. 34 He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places.35 He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
Faith is a Psalm 91 lifestyle: Psalm 911 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.2 This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.9 If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,10 no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.11 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.13 You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.15 When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.16 I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Romans 8:31: So what should we say about all of this? If God is on our side, then tell me: whom shall we fear? Ephesians 6:16: Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one.
Jesus Christ is coming back. How will he find your faith when he returns? Luke 8:18b “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Pray to God for your faith every day, that it grows, that it abounds in audacious, unwavering, confidence and trust in our mighty God. Nothing is impossible with God for the man or woman that has faith in Him and His Word. Fight the good fight of faith until the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!