Faith Grows in Levels

31545001_sRecently I was meditating on my favorite subject – Faith.  You say, “Why Faith, Dr. John?”  Here are two good reasons:  because Apostle Paul said, “The just shall LIVE by FAITH” (Romans 1:17), and Jesus said, “According to your FAITH so be it unto you.” (Matthew 9:29).

THE COIN OF THE KINGDOM

Faith is the “coin of the Kingdom” – you will never receive from God beyond your level of faith, except for those times when God just initiates blessings for us as new believers who haven’t had time to learn and grow.  The problem occurs when Christians have been believers for a long time, but have not made the effort to grow in faith; then when it doesn’t seem that God is doing all the neat things He was doing for us as “newbies” we get discouraged and become “Christian drop-outs” or “sad-sacks” who live in doubt and unbelief all the time.

ACCELERATED GROWTH

God expects us to “go to school” (2 Timothy 2:15) in spiritual matters so we can become “faith scholars.”  The Bible is the source of faith, as Paul said in Romans 10:17:  “So then, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”  As we read, meditate, speak, and act on God’s Word, our faith grows continually to expect more and more of God’s promises to be fulfilled in our lives.  Attending worship service and Bible studies where apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers who are gifted in the Word of God are operating, your faith will grow at an accelerated rate.  I believe God has placed these gifts in the Church for us (Ephesians 4:11) to operate as “jet fuel” for our spiritual lives.  We will grow through our own devotions, and with the added “jet fuel” of anointed teaching and preaching, our faith will grow that much faster (Colossians 1:28-29).

IT IS DONE!

Our faith grows in levels that start with believing God CAN do anything, to believing God WILL do anything, to the highest level of faith that says God has DONE it.  This is like the three stages of growth we all experience, from babyhood to childhood and finally to adulthood.  Baby faith says, “I know God can”, childhood faith says, “I know God will.”  But mature, adult faith says, with boldness, “I know God has done it!”  This is where we “walk by faith and not by sight” until the power of God performs what our faith has determined according to the Word of God.  Adult faith will say, “By His stripes, I was healed” and go on rejoicing even though the symptoms are still there.  Adult faith will say, “I have abundance” when it looks like we can’t pay the bills.  Why?  Because we believe “it is done” already.  Faith “calls those things which be not as thought they (already) were.” (Romans 4:17-20).  Get in the Word and grow!!

FAITH WILL PREVAIL

12994082_sWhile reading about the healing of Jairus’ daughter in each of the three gospels where it is recorded, I found some faith-building facts to share:

GOD RESPONDS TO FAITH

Jairus said to Jesus, “My daughter is at the point of death, but come and lay your hands upon her and she will live.”  The Lord recognized the faith of Jairus by the words that he spoke: “she shall live.”  Immediately, Jesus responded and followed him home, along with his disciples who were in training and coming to observe Jesus at work.  Faith always speaks the “outcome” – it makes a declaration of what will be as a result of God’s power in action.  When Jesus heard the man say what he believed, He knew the man had faith to receive this miracle.

GOD ENCOURAGES FAITH

Sometimes delays can occur after we have released our faith by speaking the outcome, as Jairus did.  In this story, Jesus was interrupted on his way to raise the dead girl by a woman with an issue of blood.  Delays in answers can be a time when fear can come in to derail our faith and stop the miracle that is in progress.  People came from the house of Jairus and said, “Don’t trouble the Master, you daughter is dead.”  When Jesus heard the bad report, He turned to Jairus immediately and said, “Fear not, only believe.”  When we are standing in faith for a miracle or healing of some kind, and fear is trying to crowd out the faith we had started with, God will speak a word of encouragement that will help us continue to believe.  In fact, the Greek tense in this phrase implies, “keep on believing.”

GOD REWARDS FAITH

Jairus must have taken the encouragement from Jesus and continued to believe, because the procession continued and his daughter was raised to life when Jesus gave the faith command saying, “Little girl, arise.”  And her spirit returned and she arose and ate something.  God is a rewarder of faith according to Hebrews 11:6, which says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him.”  When we start in faith, continue in faith, and finish in faith, then faith will be rewarded with the thing that was believed for at the beginning.  Be encouraged, and stay in faith until the answer is manifested!

Believe for the Supernatural

20557800_sRecently while praying to God for more of His “healing grace” to be manifested in our lives, the verse in Mark 15:17-18 took on new meaning for me.  It says, “And these signs will follow those who believe.  In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will be no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”   

Generally speaking, we don’t see many of these signs following believers in today’s church, and I asked myself, “Why not?”  What I heard was an additional insight into this verse that answered my query.  When this verse speaks of signs following believers, it means that the signs follow them that “believe for these signs.”  I realized the problem: not all believers are believing for these manifestations of the Spirit to attend their ordinary everyday lives.  Believing implies “praying for something,” as Jesus said: “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive”(Matthew 21:22)In addition, we don’t often pray and believe for things we don’t desire: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)So what is the bottom line here?

My sense is that as believers, we must desire these supernatural manifestations to be an active part of our lives, and earnestly pray for them – they will not happen automatically just because we have become a “believer” in Christ.  As born-again believers, we must see that it is God’s will that our lives be above the natural, that is “supernatural,” so that we can have the manifestations of God’s awesome power at work on a regular basis as we “ask, seek and knock” for these “doors of the Spirit” to be open to us.  In order for Jesus to have these “signs following” Him, He had to spend much time in prayer with fasting.  He also told the disciples (Matthew 17:21) that they would need to express the same spiritual hunger through fasting and prayer in order to see the same results that they witnessed in the life of Jesus.

It is often the case that believers live far below their potential when it comes to manifesting the supernatural power of God.  The good news is that we can access that power at any time that we seek for it by getting “away from the table” and “into the prayer closet.”  Holy Spirit is alive in our lives, but will not be active in our lives until we earnestly desire to see Him work through us to bring healing and deliverance to others.  The Word says, “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1)We are the vessels through which God wants to display His mighty power on Earth, those who are washed in the Blood, filled with the Spirit and enlivened by the Word of God.  You are that person!

It’s Never Too Late

Are you facing a situation that looks hopeless and beyond saving?  Maybe you have a bad medical report, or are facing financial loss due to the economy or loss of employment.  I have good news for you:  “It is never too late for a miracle.”

I read a passage that really opened my eyes to the potential available to us just from getting understanding of the truth, and then making some adjustments in our thinking, believing, and speaking.  Any situation can be changed by the power of God through faith.  Let’s look at Matthew 13:15 – “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at ANY TIME they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I SHOULD HEAL THEM” (emphasis mine).

Notice the phrase “any time” here.  This is an open invitation to receive the miracle-working power of God into our situations.  Jesus said that something must happen to our “eyes, ears, hearts and actions” for the power of God to be released to meet the needs, and He said it can happen at any time we make the adjustments.  This means we will have to “see things differently, hear things differently, understand and act differently” according to the “new understanding” we have received through our study of God’s Word.

One such woman in scripture received such a miracle when she was “converted,” or “changed,” by the truth she heard about Jesus Christ, and began to believe, speak and act accordingly.  After a lifetime of sickness, financial depletion, and now a hopeless situation, she received a great deliverance through her own faith that came alive as she understood the truth about Jesus, Who had come to bring healing and deliverance to all.

No matter what you face today, “IT’S NOT TOO LATE.”  Open your heart for fresh revelation of God’s Word, and ask Holy Spirit to show you what needs to “be converted” in your thinking, believing, speaking and actions.

God is ready at “any time.”