The way to ascend into the supernatural faith of God (Part 1)
A universal law, the Law of Faith, rules the physical and spiritual worlds. Three things are essential in life the Bible tells us: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV).
By John David Hicks
God says that love is greatest but faith is first. That’s why a God of love demands faith. You can’t have love without faith; to experience love, you must have the risk of faith. Your faith affects every relationship.
There is also no hope without faith. Hope is always in the future without faith. Without faith, hope is a delusion.
Without faith, you can’t get anything from God. Jesus declared, “According to your faith be it done unto you!” But what is faith and how does it work?
Ben had cancer, which had spread to most of his body. In constant pain, he called his pastor and me to come and pray for his healing. Ben was a Christian businessman, an outstanding Bible teacher, a graduate of a Christian college. As I sat by his bedside and read from the Bible, with every scripture I read he would say, “I know that and have always believed that.”
I prayed for his healing and was surprised when nothing happened. I left his home puzzled and disappointed. Why wasn’t Ben healed? I have seen many others healed and could not understand where the difficulty lay.
Back in my motel I asked the Lord for discernment as I cried out to Him for Ben. “Lord,” I said, “he is a godly man who loves You. He is a student of Your Word and believes Your Word. He has faith and I have faith. So what’s the problem? Your Word is true. It says, ‘I am the LORD, who heals you.’ How come he is not being healed?”
The Holy Spirit let me see that Ben had only mentally assented to the Word of God. He had a belief, a conviction, and persuasion that God’s Word was true, but no corresponding action. James says, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” So Ben didn’t believe it! Otherwise he would have acted on the Word for his healing and been healed.
The pastor and I returned to Ben’s home and read some scripture. Again he said, “I know that and have always believed the Scriptures.”
I told him what the Holy Spirit revealed to me—that he had mental assent instead of faith. He believed the Bible but had no corresponding action.
He said that was true. Then he said, “I have had faith for others, but not for myself. The Lord is right. My belief has never turned into action for me. The focus of my life has been on my cancer and my problems, not the Lord. I really did not believe when you prayed that God would heal me.”
I assured him of God’s love and gave him some scriptures to meditate on. In three weeks he called for the pastor to pray for his healing. The pain left, and doctors confirmed the following week that Ben was healed of all his cancer.
Like Ben, many Christians have a mental assent to God’s Word instead of faith. Jesus says they have heard the Word, but never put it into practice. Thus, speculation about faith abounds, from the fatalist who believes “whatever will be, will be” to the legalist who believes that rules, tradition, and doctrine is faith. Then there is the “name it, claim it” people of faith. These extremes enshroud earnest Christians desiring to live by faith in a fog of misunderstanding and frustration.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). “My righteous one will live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38). Faith is more than believing the promises of God. We are saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and we walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is the means of salvation and the way we are to live the Christian life. Faith accomplishes the impossible.
When Jesus told His disciples to “Have faith in God” to throw a mountain into the sea (Mark 11:22-23), according to Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible He said, “Have the faith of God.” It’s not your own faith but God’s faith that is imparted. God’s faith is a force that does the impossible. This faith is founded on the authority of God’s Word, for “faith comes by hearing the Word of God.”
This faith is spoken. “It calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Romans 4:17 NRSV) by claiming the promises and acting on them. Because the faith comes from God, the Holy Spirit makes it happen with your cooperation. “The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God”—literally, according to Young, “in the faith I live of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). I live by His faith, God’s kind of faith.
What does God’s kind of faith look like? First, God’s kind of faith will comprehend your inheritance. You will hear clearly what Romans 8:17 declares, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.”
As a child of God you are not simply a helpless toddler being protected by God from yourself and your enemies. God invites you to share in the victory and authority He has given His Son for an inheritance. You are a recipient of every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Peter 1:3).
The meek inherit the earth because all the nations are the Son’s inheritance (Psalm 2:8). The meek know who they are and have nothing to prove. When God’s kingdom moves forward through salvation, healing, or deliverance, the inheritance promised the Son is claimed. In Christ it is your inheritance too—you are a joint-heir with Christ. However, if you had a million dollars in the bank but did not know it, you wouldn’t use it. Unfortunately, that has happened to most of the church.
Second, God’s kind of faith will comprehend that you are in Christ. Paul prays that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18). He then gives a picture of Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father far above all rule and authority, power and dominion. Christ is declared head over the church, which is His body. If you are in Christ and all things have been placed under His feet, then in Christ all things have been put under your feet. “Your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). You minister in Christ—and therefore minister in His inherited authority and power.
Third, God’s kind of faith will comprehend that you are the body of Christ—an extension of Christ Himself. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). Every Christian is gifted and must function. The very spirit of Christ can speak out of you to touch lives with Christ’s love. Your hands can become the healing hands of Christ. Through your words of prophecy, knowledge, or wisdom God speaks directly to the hearts and lives of people. Your faith gives encouragement, vision, and miracles to the church. Christ works through His body—you—to reach this world.
Fourth, God’s kind of faith will comprehend your commission. You are charged with a mission to go in Jesus’ name and authority. Jesus’ mission is now your mission: to save, heal, and deliver people. If you dismiss this as simply for the apostles, you will live without direction or a burning sense of mission. When you know you have a mission, when you understand that you are part of a kingdom of light invading and defeating a kingdom of darkness, you will have faith that God is with you and has equipped you for every good work. You are to be a change agent in the world and to go against the gates of hell—and succeed.
Five, God’s kind of faith will comprehend your authority and power (Acts 1:8). “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit” (John 3:34). The same Holy Spirit that was given to Jesus is given to you. When the Holy Spirit is within you, He is the one who is without limit and without measure. The Holy Spirit cannot be manifested outwardly until He is manifested inwardly. Thus, Jesus can say in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse says that Jesus assures His disciples of two things:
1. That they would do the works He had done. Jesus healed the sick, cleansed the leper, and raised the dead. So should they.
2. That they would do greater works than these. No miracle is little, but to your understanding some may seem greater than others. Some were healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment, but Peter with his shadow (Acts 5:15) and Paul by the handkerchief that had touched him (Acts 19:12). In the kingdom of grace greater victories would be obtained.
Paul understood this and wrote, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13), through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
God’s kind of faith knows your inheritance is in Christ; and is an extension of the body of Christ; and is on a mission with the authority and power to accomplish it. With that as a foundation, we can now look at what the Bible teaches about faith.
The dictionary defines faith as “confidence or complete trust in a person or thing; a demonstrated reliance in somebody or something.” The Bible defines faith as a “conviction or persuasion in God and His Word, with a demonstrated corresponding action in word or deed.”
Thus, Bible faith has two operating principles:
1. Faith in God is convinced that God will keep His Word.
2. Faith will demonstrate this belief in word or deed by a corresponding action.
Bible faith must have two wings before it can fly. The first wing is a belief, conviction, or persuasion in God and His Word. The second wing is a corresponding action, a demonstration that produces reality. Both wings are required to fly—to soar into the supernatural.
Most Christians think that faith means belief. That is part of the first wing. But Bible faith goes further than merely believing. God’s kind of faith is always accompanied by a corresponding action.
1GOD’S KIND OF FAITH IS LIVING. “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:14, 17-19).
In the New Testament’s original language, faith means “conviction or persuasion” about something. The word action or works or deeds in the Greek means “corresponding action” that responds to your conviction or persuasion or what you say or demonstrate you believe.
If we insert the words [conviction or persuasion] for the word faith, and the words [corresponding action] in the place of deeds, we will clearly understand what faith means. With this working definition of faith, let’s read James 2:14-17:
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have [conviction or persuasion] but has no [corresponding actions]? Can such [conviction or persuasion] save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, [conviction or persuasion] by itself, if it is not accompanied by [corresponding action], is dead.”
James says your faith can be living or dead, depending on your corresponding actions. Living faith has conviction or persuasion plus corresponding actions. Dead faith has belief, conviction, or persuasion, but no corresponding actions. It is lifeless and powerless. Every reference to faith in the New Testament is talking about living faith, never dead faith.
“But someone will say, ‘You have [conviction or persuasion]; I have [corresponding action].’ Show me your [conviction or persuasion] without [corresponding action], and I will show you my [conviction or persuasion] by my [corresponding action]. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. You foolish man, do you want evidence that [conviction or persuasion] without [corresponding action] is useless (dead)? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did [corresponding action] when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?” (vv. 18-21).
Abraham was justified—made righteous—not by what he believed, but by his corresponding actions to what he believed.
“You see that his [conviction or persuasion] and his [corresponding action] were working together, and his [conviction or persuasion] was made complete (mature or finished) by his [corresponding action]. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend” (vv. 22-23).
Abraham’s faith was fulfilled when his conviction or persuasion met up with his corresponding action. He is made righteous and the friend of God because of his faith.
“You see that a person is justified (or made right with God) by what he does and not by [conviction or persuasion] alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for [corresponding actions] when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?” (vv. 24-25).
Rahab’s corresponding action completed her faith.
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so [conviction or persuasion] without [corresponding action] is dead” (James 2:26).
The body plus the spirit is required for life. When the spirit leaves the body it is lifeless, powerless, and dead. Likewise, belief, conviction, or persuasion is dead without action. It takes corresponding action to put life and power into your conviction or persuasion to make it faith.
2 GOD’S KIND OF FAITH IS YOUR BELIEFS PLUS YOUR ACTIONS. “Be doers [corresponding action] of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22 NKJV). “Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice [corresponding action]” (Luke 11:28 NLT).
In John 3:18, Jesus says that a person is condemned at the Judgment for his lack of faith. You are judged by your words and deeds. Your words reflect your faith [conviction or persuasion] with [corresponding action]. “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37).
Also, your deeds reflect your faith. “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:29).
True faith will always have conviction or persuasion with corresponding action in your words or deeds. That is why unbelief will condemn you at the Judgment. Jesus said the world’s sin is unbelief in Him (John 16:9).
Your corresponding actions in word or deed are the life-giving part of your belief. “It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence” (2 Corinthians 4:13-14).
Paul says that faith speaks what it believes in the present tense, knowing what God did for Jesus He will do for us. What you believe you will speak. “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). “‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming” (Romans 10:8). Speaking is corresponding action of faith when it is based on the Word of God.
True faith is in the present tense. God is the great “I Am,” not “I Was” or something in the future. “I Am” means now. Faith always speaks in the present tense. God calls “things that are not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). This has been called “positive confession” where you say exactly what you believe.
Because the “name it, claim it” people have gone to extremes, many fail to see this truth of speaking out in the present tense. Yet the Scriptures say, “Let us hold fast our confession” (Hebrews 4:14; 10:23). “Because God has said…so we say with confidence” (Hebrews 13:5-6). “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:10). The spirit of faith that gives life is manifested in word or deed. Belief stays quiet, but true faith will speak.
Oswald Chambers said, “It will never be mine until I ‘say so.’ If I say… what I believe, and confess it with my mouth, I am lifted into the domain of that thing.”
For example, for me to be healed I had to declare 1 Peter 2:24, “By Jesus’ stripes I am healed,” before I experienced healing. The same is true and can be applied to salvation (1 John 1:9).
Jesus explains this: “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says 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” (Mark 11:22-24).
As I’ve already explained, “have faith in God” is literally “have the faith of God.” Adam Clarke’s commentary says its “the faith of God” that speaks things into existence and moves impossible mountains. But how can you have “the faith of God”? You express the faith of God when you believe God’s Word and say what the Word says. The point is that the mountain will not move until you act and say “Move.”
This corresponding action of speaking out establishes your faith on the truth of God’s Word. This faith of God “calls things that are not as though they were.” It recognizes the truth of the Word of God as the will of God (1 John 5:14-15); faith is set into motion by your words and deeds.
3 GOD’S KIND OF FAITH IS FOUNDED ON THE WORD OF GOD. “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160 NKJV). Truth is eternal, and God’s Word will accomplish His purpose (Isaiah 55:11).
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV). God’s revelation in your heart brings faith. You don’t get faith by asking God for it. Using our definition: “So then [conviction or persuasion plus corresponding action] comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith comes when you comprehend what you are hearing.
When John Wesley could not receive faith for salvation, his brother Charles told him to “preach faith until you get faith.” And it worked.
You only have faith when what you have heard becomes what you are hearing. “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith” (Hebrews 4:1-2). What you hear must be combined with conviction or persuasion plus corresponding action.
If you buy a box of instant pancake mix, you can’t go home and pour the powder down your throat. You’ll choke. You must mix the powder with water and an egg, then grill the batter. Likewise, you must combine hearing the word with conviction or persuasion and then “grill” it on a corresponding action. No one can mix it for you. That’s how you get God’s kind of faith that will move mountains.
If faith came just by hearing, then you would have faith when you heard the Word. Faith is more than knowledge; faith is something you demonstrate by putting it into practice.
Here’s another example of how God’s Word becomes faith to transform you. Let’s say God puts it on my heart to teach or preach on the “Power of Blessing”—how God wants you to bless your children, others, and your enemy. You are moved by the Holy Spirit and say to your spouse, “Yes, we need to bless.” After the service, you tell me that God spoke to your heart—that is [conviction or persuasion]. The seed of God’s Word has the power to transform you. As you obey with [corresponding action] the Holy Spirit and put the seed-word into practice, it becomes a part of your experience to transform you.
But if in the next few weeks you do not have any [corresponding action] to bless your children, others, and your enemy, then that seed-word will be taken by the devil and the power that could have transformed you will be lost.
Yet, there is a greater tragedy. The truth is not taken from your mind, but it’s locked in. You believe it; you have [conviction or persuasion]. But because you did not have [corresponding action] to put it into practice, it has no power. It locked you into a form without power (2 Timothy 3:5), without a true faith. The next time you hear someone talk about the “Power of Blessing,” you say, “Amen, people need to bless their children, others, and their enemy. Boy, these people sure need to hear this.” You are not the example of the word that was preached, but you sure agree with it. Your faith cannot transform you; it is dead and powerless, like a body without the spirit, says James.
I can point to people who would fight to the death to defend the doctrine of ministering to the poor, but they never minister to the poor. Others believe in being filled with the Holy Spirit with the power to witness, but they never witness. Others believe in healing, but they never pray for the sick.
When your learning is intellectual, you are insulated from personal experience. You can know the Scripture by memory, but if you don’t apply it, the truth is powerless. When passion and desire are gone, there will be no personal transformation.
Jesus sums it up: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines’” (Matthew 15:8-9 NRSV). The truth got into their mind but not into their heart. The heart and soul of religion is to recite facts and principles. The result is knowledge without power—religion without God.
Christianity is not religion, tradition, or a program; it is a person. Faith comes from a relationship with God. Paul said, “I know in whom I have believed,” not what I have believed (2 Timothy 1:12). God cannot be separated from His Word. He is the truth that must be experienced and encountered. “Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice” (Luke 11:28 NLT). That is how you experience God’s kind of faith.
4 GOD’S KIND OF FAITH COMES FROM YOUR HEART AND GOES INTO LIFE. Socrates called this logos, embracing content. It is a part of you. Jesus is called the logos, word of the Father, made flesh. God communicated with us by wrapping Himself in His message, Jesus. As the branches are part of the vine, you are a part of God; faith comes forth and produces fruit out of that relationship.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you…. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (John 15:7, 16 NKJV). Because Jesus and His words indwell you, you are in harmony with the divine will and are given the “power of attorney” to minister in Jesus’ name.
“For it is with your heart that you believe” (Romans 10:10). From your heart the authority of faith comes out of your mouth. “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming (Romans 10:8). As you proclaim the truth of God’s Word from your heart, miracles happen.
David learned the power of speaking out: “I believed, therefore I spoke, ‘I am greatly afflicted.’ I said in my haste, ‘All men are liars’” (Psalm 116:10-11 NKJV). What happened? What David believed he spoke, and the devil brought it about. Liars and thieves surrounded him, and Absalom betrayed him. He learned his lesson to think before he responded negatively.
Job said, “The things I have feared have come upon me…. Your words have the power of life and death.”
This is why the Bible warns you about negative words. Satan cannot read your mind unless you give him a stronghold; he gains access through your negative words or actions. Negative words open the door for a direct attack. You resist Satan by a verbal positive assault in the name of Jesus using the Word of God. Even Jesus took the authority of the Word of God: “It is written!”
The promises in the Word are a part of the covenant written for you. “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV). They are Yes and Amen, so be it! Faith speaks what it believes in the present tense. You are to declare by faith the Word of God over your life and circumstances and speak into people’s lives.
Your confidence comes from asking “according to His will” (1 John 5:14). The will of God is the Word of God. God’s promises are for you! When God gives a command or makes a promise, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NKJV). “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Mark 13:31 NKJV).
The authority of faith is that it speaks what it believes in the present tense. The Lord is the healer and has given you the authority to heal. Will you exercise that authority? All the healing prayers in the New Testament are commands: “Be healed.” “Rise up and walk.” “Be made whole.” Not a single one was “Father, if it be Thy will, heal Your servant.”
When I learned this truth, I was moved in my spirit. At a revival service in Seattle, I gave a command to a disabled man, “Be healed in the name of Jesus. Get up and walk.” He got up and immediately God healed his back and neck pain that he had endured for three years!
Faith has authority and knows that what it speaks will happen. When you exercise your authority, the power will be there. “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63 NKJV). The prayer of faith puts it into the present, claims it, and acts upon it.
James 1:5-8 affirms this: “If any of you lacks wisdom (or anything else), he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt”—God will keep His Word. Fear and doubt are feelings. They become sin when they come out of your mouth. A doubt is only a doubt when it is expressed. Faith is only faith when it is expressed. You have God’s assurance that you can claim the promises of God.
Declare: “Thank You, Lord, You said greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even my faith, and I am walking by faith, and I have faith. Thank You, Lord, You said that I will lay hands on the sick and they will recover! Lord, You said I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…. You are my wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and redemption.”
Faith is spelled r-i-s-k; you must risk failure. At an airport I saw a woman in pain who could hardly move, and I asked the Lord to give me an opportunity to pray for her. He did, and in obedience to God I asked her if she was in pain. “Yes,” she said, “I had surgery yesterday.” I told her I was a Christian and believe in prayer for healing. “Could I pray for you?” She said no; sadly I left her alone.
When I was in Arizona for a revival, the pastor’s wife, Jan, tripped and fell on her left knee. It swelled up and she was in a great deal of pain. She could not walk. When the pastor and I came for lunch, she was in a chair with her leg propped up and with an ice pack on her knee. I asked her if I could pray. “Yes.” And the pain left, the swelling disappeared, and Jan could walk normally. She even fixed our lunch! That night Jan gave testimony, and three years later she’s still talking about God’s grace.
We have seen that Bible faith has two operating principles:
First, faith in God is convinced that God will keep His Word.
Faith is totally dependent on its object. Some objects are dependable and trustworthy, and others are not. We all exercise faith every day. Driving your car, you believe that when the traffic signal is green the other side is red and the cars will stop so you can drive safely through the intersection. If you didn’t believe the signal worked properly, you would proceed cautiously. If several lights proved untrustworthy, you would no longer put your faith in them. Your failure to believe is not the problem. The object of your faith is the problem; it’s unreliable.
In a marriage one person’s infidelity can destroy the relationship. You can forgive your spouse, but it will take time to gain back the lost trust.
God’s character is faithful and trustworthy and cannot change; neither can His Word (Hebrews 13:8; Isaiah 55:11). The Christian’s faith is totally dependent on God who can never fail (1 Corinthians 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:24). The non-Christian’s faith is in some object that can fail.
So when a Christian struggles in his faith, the problem is not with God. God is not inadequate nor can He fail. The problem is because the Christian does not have a true knowledge of God and His ways. He expected God to work in a certain way and God worked in a different way or not at all.
God can never violate His character or His Word. When He makes a promise it is true, and He will keep it. If He does not make a promise, no amount of faith will make it so. Your faith comes out of knowing God’s character. Bible faith is convinced that God will keep His Word. Faith is totally dependent on its object.
I took my grandchildren to the city park one day. As I sat watching them play, a young father was encouraging his little boy to climb the jungle gym. When the boy reached the top bars, his father told him to jump and he would catch him. The boy did not want to jump, but the father insisted. To my shock, when the boy jumped the father stepped aside. Lying on the ground, the little boy started to cry. The father shouted, “Learn this lesson well, son: You can’t trust anyone, including your father.”
Faith is a risk. If you have been lied to, betrayed, or let down by others or feel that God has let you down, you won’t take the risk of faith.
I then encouraged my grandson and granddaughter to climb to the top of the jungle gym. When they reached the top, I told first one and then the other to jump into my arms and that I would catch them. I assured them that I loved them and would not fail them. They jumped and I caught them. I then taught them that God keeps His Word and that you can take the risk of faith and God will catch you. Faith is born out of the relationship. Because you know His character, you can trust Him.
Second, faith will demonstrate this belief in word or deed by a corresponding action.
Suppose that my grandchildren would not jump for me. I would ask them: “Do you believe me when I tell you that I love you and will catch you?” If they answer yes but never jump, then they really don’t believe me.
This is what James teaches us. Faith will demonstrate your belief in word or deed by your corresponding action.
When God told Noah that a flood was coming, Noah had no physical evidence of it. But he believed God, and in word and deed he acted on what God had said. Taking the leap of faith, he saved the world, his life, and his family.
When God told Abram that He had heard his prayer and would make him the father of many nations (Genesis 17:5), Abram believed God even though he had no physical evidence. God changed his name to Abraham, meaning “father of a multitude.” For 15 years he waited for the promise and “called those things which be not as though they were.” He received God’s promise before there was any evidence of it. The leap of faith caused him to soar and the results confirmed it.
When God told Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands” (Joshua 6:2), Jericho was fortified and there was no physical evidence that the people of Israel could possibly take that fortress city. But Joshua believed God and told his army to “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city!” (Joshua 6:16). He took the leap of faith and God made good on His promise.
When David took on Goliath, he took the leap of faith by telling Goliath, “I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty…whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45-47). David spoke ahead of time before there was a physical manifestation, but it was as good as done, as far as he was concerned.
When Jesus cursed the fig tree, there was no immediate evidence that the tree would die. It started to shrivel up from the inside out, but no one saw it until the next day. Jesus spoke faith-filled words and changed the natural circumstances. He believed that it was done, in spite of appearances.
Jesus told His disciples, “Let us go over unto the other side of the lake.” A storm came up that looked like it would kill them all, but Jesus was asleep. When they woke Him up, He spoke to the storm while it was still raging. After Jesus spoke faith-filled words, the storm stopped. You cannot say, “Oh, but that was Jesus,” because he rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith and not doing it! God desires you to have faith that speaks peace to the storms of life.
(To be continued in the next newsletter)