Q. What’s faith?
In simple terms … faith is relying on God no matter what is going on around you or to you.
Q. What’s so important about faith?
- Satan can’t manipulate faith
- You can’t repent without faith
- You can’t forgive without faith
- You need faith to believe the world was created by the Word of God, Hebrews 11:3
- You need faith to believe that Jesus is God
- You can’t be humble without faith
- You can’t be saved without faith, Hebrews 11:6
- You can’t love without faith, Galatians 5:6
- Faith blocks sin, Romans 14:23
- Faith blocks contamination, Hebrews 12:15
Q. What’s some characteristics of faith?
- Faith doesn’t know, Hebrews 11:8
- Faith doesn’t necessarily get, Hebrews 11:13,39
- Faith lives and grows in hard times, Hebrews 11:36
- Faith isn’t gained by being a good person, eg. Rahab (Hebrews 11:31)
Everyone does good deeds to prove they are a Christian, but good works do not prove faith eg the rich young ruler, and good works don’t build faith, but faith is evidenced by good works, James 2, and deeds are only good when they are done by faith.
Q. How do you get this faith?
You can’t manufacture your own faith. Faith comes from God and it’s given to you by God. The seed of faith is implanted in your spirit at the time you surrender to the will of God, and accept Him as Creator and Lord of your life.
Q. Is this a once-off experience?
No. Faith starts when you surrender to the will of the Lord Jesus, but must be exercised daily (Luke 9:23) to make it grow to salvation.
Q. Does everyone have the same level of faith?
No. God allocates faith according to His will and plan, Romans 12:3,6. This strategy exposes a person’s real inner attitude. If you choose envy instead of thanksgiving because someone has a better deal than you, or if you choose mood because people aren’t nice to you or won’t do what you want, it exposes that you don’t really deserve the gift, and if you stay in that frame of attitude, your gift will be withdrawn, Luke 19:26.
Faith is given as a seed and grows according to how you tend and water the seed.
Q. Can you lose this faith?
Yes. Just like a natural seed planted in the earth, the spiritual seed of faith planted in your spirit can grow into a great tree or conversely, the seed can wither and die. It depends how you look after it. The parable of the sower and the seed in Mark 4:13 confirms this.
- Worldliness shrivels the seed … Solomon lost the seed through inter-marriage with Egypt.
- Caring more about the opinion of men than of God shrivels the seed, John 12:42,43
- The legalism of rightness shrivels the seed. The Pharisees were right and proper, but their rightness killed Christ.
- Disrespect of Sabbath will shrivel the seed.
- Disrespect of authority will shrivel the seed.
- Choosing to have a mood because your feelings are hurt will shrivel the seed.
The principle of once-saved-always-saved is only true if you retain your faith. You can be cut off the vine, John 15:6, Romans 11:20-22.
Q. What makes faith grow?
Just like the human body needs constant exercise to sustain life otherwise it withers and dies, in the same way, you have to exercise this faith or your spirit will die. You exercise faith by …
- Taking every opportunity to submit to authority from your heart. Defiance or disrespect of authority or judgment against authority will shrivel your faith. In fact, the 5th commandment says that blatant disrespect of your parents will shorten your life, Exodus 20:12.
- Separating from worldliness. Opening your heart to worldliness is spiritual adultery in God’s book, James 4:4. In other words, if the world does it and we just copy it, your faith will begin to shrivel eg. divorce
- Respect for God’s Sabbath. If you glibly merchandise with the world on God’s day of rest, your faith will begin to wither. Most Christians don’t think twice about shopping and restaurant-ing and cinema-ing on God’s day.
- Accepting correction as healthy for your soul. Most people take correction as rejection, but Hebrews 12 states if your take correction as a ‘put-down’ you are not a son, but a bastard. Objecting to correction stagnates your faith.
- Meditating on the Word of God daily, Joshua 1:7,8
- Suffering … including being misjudged or put-down. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Faith grows under testing and pain, 1 Thessalonians 2:20, 2 Thes.1:3.
- Failing eg. Peter denied Christ
- Fighting your moods.
Q. Can you be a Christian and only partially surrendered?
Yes. Judas functioned under the Spirit of God but he did not find salvation. King Saul fell to the same fate, 1 Samuel 16:14. Samson functioned under the Spirit of God, then God took His Spirit from Him, and then restored His Spirit when he humbled himself at his death.
Q. Can you be saved for heaven if you are only partially surrendered?
No. Like Christian in ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, he went on a journey to find the celestial city with faith in his heart, but he wasn’t saved till he totally surrendered and bowed his knee to the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross. Only then did his burden fall from off his back. Life is a journey and God gives faith to you to give you the opportunity to find heaven, but it’s your choice whether you are willing to pay the price for faith to grow. A person living in middle ground, neither hot nor cold, is living in spew territory. A Christian has faith imparted into his soul (Christ in you), but he is not saved for heaven until he is in Christ, John 15, and life is simply a transient pathway to verify whether you will take the narrow way or the broad way.
God gave us the Ten Commandments as guidelines and boundaries for the health of our spirit by faith, and confirmed it in the New Testament in Matthew 5:17-19, but the modern church has twisted the scriptures to suit its worldliness concessions and thus devalued them, and ultimately withering its faith.
Q. What’s the opposite to faith?
The answer is feelings … It’s not feelings as such that is opposite faith. Feelings themselves are a good necessary tool to show you what’s going on so you can strengthen your faith, but when you stand on your feelings instead of standing on the Word of God, then it’s sin. Fear is a feeling, it’s not a sin; but, if you stand on your fear instead of fighting to stand on the Word of God by faith, then you’ve allowed your fear feeling temptation to draw you into sin.
What I’m saying is, the Bible declares that the opposite to faith is sin, Romans 14:23, and sin is choosing to not stand on the principles of the Word of God by faith, but rather defaulting to the easy path of standing on your feelings and fighting for your rights and strategizing how to get back to feeling good when someone or something has hurt or offended you.
Most people believe it’s their right to have good feelings. Therefore, they base everything on whether they feel good or bad, and they make their presumptions and judgments on the basis of these feelings. They do good deeds to feel good and they react to people doing bad to them because it makes them feel bad. In short, they make their judgments solely based on how they feel and how others make them feel. Nowhere in the Word of God are you instructed to formulate your behaviour in this way. This behaviour is how the world operates.
Faith lives in bad feelings
The real fact is … Faith lives in bad feelings, and this is the suffering that every genuine Christian must face. Obviously, you don’t need faith if life is just good feelings. No wonder no one wants the real faith deal … it rarely feels good. If you think about it, rarely did Jesus have the joy of good feelings. He was frustrated with his disciples, wept over Jerusalem, opposed by his own family, attacked by the religious system of the day, used by people to get healing, denied by Peter, deserted by his disciples John 6, and murdered for being God.
The secret strategy that is no secret to anyone with eyes to see
A Christian has to use his feelings to diagnose what spiritual reaction is taking place, determine what his feelings are being manipulated to get him to want for himself, then fight that temptation by giving up what he wants by surrendering to what God wants. This is real humility. It’s a fight, 1 Timothy 6:12; it’s a daily warfare, Luke 9:23, and few are willing to pay the price; they prefer good deeds and good feelings … it’s easier and simpler and earns points with others. But what they don’t realise, by taking the easy way they are not earning points with God. In fact, it’s all sin in His eyes.
A true relationship with God is simple. In fact, God calls it child-like. A good young child lives under the covering of his father, doesn’t worry about the hassles of life or how he will survive, trusts his father’s discretion, and accepts his father’s correction. A selfish child objects to correction and murmurs with a mood till the father concedes to his whims. One child’s learnt faith, the other has learnt sin. As an adult it’s your call which one you will retrain yourself to default to.
In simple terms … Feelings? Want? Surrender?
- Diagnose your feeling
- Diagnose what you want
- Turn to the Lord’s justice and trust Him and give up what you want, every single time, every day.
If you’ll open your eyes, it’s easy to see that Satan’s strategy is to manipulate your feelings so you justify your envy, so you lose your faith, so you lose your salvation, and take as many people with your as possible. But pride sees this in everyone else except one’s self, and thus falls into the snare.
May God open your eyes to see,
Pastor Ray Bourke