Faith in God. How Do We Exercise It? (Part 2)
Scripture uses “faith” as an action word. We introduced this truth in Part 1 of this 2-part article, “Faith in God. How Do We Exercise It?” We understand that Scriptural faith originates with God, who gives it to us as a gift. As the spirit of life is given by God and eventually returns to Him, the gift of faith has a similar come-from and return-to God characteristic.
Scriptural faith is activated in us when a word or inspirational thought is received from God. We exercise our faith deposit when we accept what God says to us and allow it to become a confident persuasion. Faith helps us to know the word we hear is, or will eventually be, so.
Exercising our faith is not the same as believing. Our faith is a confident assurance that what God says is, or will be. It is significantly more than a belief system or just believing.
Agreeing With God
Beliefs are based on a trust in something or someone. We can believe for anything. Motivational speakers explain very effectively how our belief can influence outcomes. Our belief wires us to begin to receive and to accomplish what we believe. There is no question about it, beliefs are very powerful—be they right, wrong or somewhere in-between.
For instance, Adam and Eve accepted a deceptive thought in the Garden of Eden that changed their belief. The new belief system that guided their actions no longer agreed with God. Like our first parents, we can be led astray, believe in error, and lose our faith.
Here is another example of belief that does not agree with God: The Disciples of Jesus, after their immersion in God’s Holy Spirit, believed followers must become as Jews in circumcision and eating habits. It was Paul who heard God and corrected their belief, their misperceptions.
Faith’s exercise will agree with God!
While faith includes believing, it is not founded on a belief that God will do what we ask. If what we ask for is not aligned with what God is saying and desiring to do, we ask amiss. We can fully believe God will do what we want until we are blue in the face and still not receive it. Faith’s exercise will agree with God!
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).
We Hear and Trust God’s Word
Living by faith requires an open and willing response to God and His guidance. We experience the righteousness of God from faith to faith, from one hearing and obedient action to another. The power of scriptural faith is in our agreement and active obedience to God’s quickened word for our moments. Faith is experienced and practiced as we confidently walk in what God “is” saying.
Some trials we go through are intended to try (to strengthen) our faith in God. The New Testament Epistles (letters to believers) continually instruct us to do three things. We are to encourage, strengthen and build-up one another’s faith (Colossians 2:7; 1 Peter 5:10). In other words, we are to stir-up, establish, and add to each other’s faith. We want everyone to realize they can hear God and trust the word He speaks to you.
Everyone can hear God and trust His word.
While God hears our prayers, we are cautioned about presuming that we can instruct God.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (Romans 12:3).
The above verse tells us the exercise of faith is connected to what we think, to sound judgment, and to our self-esteem. This passage provides an important insight. When we think we can instruct God or influence Him, we may be thinking too highly of ourselves.
Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? (Job 40:2)
When we make our requests known to God (Philippians 4:6), we want to listen for His response. Asking for God’s guidance as we deal with things, we listen for His still small voice to provide needed insight. He may want us to realize He will not answer as we desire. Maybe God’s answer will come at a later time, or perhaps our desire does not agree with His will in the matter. As a loving Father who puts our welfare above our desires, He may have something better in mind.
Faith Prays According to God’s Will
Our prayers are not efforts to influence God but to proclaim our desire to see God’s best come into our situation. Prayers are to encourage, strengthen, and build-up faith and trust in God and His perspective regarding our needs and wants. Our faith is always enriched with the perspective that Jesus demonstrated, “Not my will but God’s be done”
Father, If You are willing…yet not my will, but Yours be done (Luke 22:42).
We want to ask God for what we want to have, and yet always remember to trust He will do what is best for all involved. Faith is activated to help us stand in difficult times. Our faith exercise will glorify God and not ascribe any credit to us or our prayer, as though we influenced God and made it happen.
We can always trust God to do what is best for all involved.
Our exercise of faith will not always agree with what God speaks to someone else, nor with what God may have said to us in the past. God does not change but His word to us can. God’s word to Abraham concerning sacrificing Isaac changed as His word to Israel concerning entering the Promised Land changed. When we exercise faith, we are actively agreeing with what God is saying now and desiring to do in our time and moment.
Exercising Scriptural Faith
When responding to his disciples’ request to increase their faith, Jesus clarified it is not the amount of faith, but the certainty of faith. Scriptural faith is practiced as we agree with and confidently walk in what God is saying. Are we earnestly seeking to hear Him for our moments?
We practice scriptural faith by confidently walking in what God is saying.
Someone once said that God always knows how to get His word through to us, regardless of our spiritual sensitivity. If we are dull of hearing, God has dynamite. If we are sensitive, he has a gentle breeze. One of God’s prophets In the Old Testament, Balaam, was displeasing to the Lord. On His way to a particular event, God got his attention by speaking through the mouth of his donkey (Numbers 22:21-23).
God is most always trying to communicate with us. God invites us to partake of His fellowship as our Father and be taught as children who see, hear, and are led by His guiding Presence (John 17:18, 20:21.) Isaiah encouraged us to:
Come and let us go up…that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths (Isaiah 2:3).
Walking in What God Says
While faith is a complex concept, it is so simple a child can understand it. Scriptural faith comes from God and enables us to hear, believe, and act in agreement with what God says and desires to do.
Faith comes from hearing…the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).
Faith is the assurance…the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Scriptural faith arises in us as we are quickened by a word from God. Our faith is a confident assurance that what God says is, or will be.
Our loving God intends for each of us to exercise “great faith” in His ability to do what He says. God’s Presence with us is a relational reality for believers. Are you choosing to interact, hear His voice, exercise your faith as a response, and experience the abundant life He offers?
May our daily prayer be:
Heavenly Father, thank you for this day.
May I be a better listener to Your voice, and
A better observer of what You are doing, so
I can, in faith, agree and stand with You.
Keith Carroll, Relational Gospel Founder
More resources about our relational God:
Created to Relate, Insights Into Our Design and Purpose, and The Christ Culture, A Way of Life Like No Other are available on this site and on Amazon.com for purchase in printed or eBooks. We provide the first two pages of each chapter on this site for your introductory perusal. Please check them out!
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