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Faith that works
Autor: Dorina Madaras  |  Album: REPENTANCE  |  Tematica: Meditație
Resursa adaugata de Dorina1980 in 08/09/2017
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 FAITH THAT WORKS

 In order to grow in faith, first we must understand the foundation of faith. Then, from the foundation up, we will build ourselves in Christ.

So what is faith?"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is evidence! Evidence suggests that it must be tangible. So we must have tangible works that prove our intangible faith.

But where does faith come from, and when should we have it?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ." (Romans 10:17) This is where some Christians stumble! There are some who are taught to believe that if they believe anything hard enough, it will happen for them. If they believe with all their heart that God will pluck out the tree in their backyard and plant it in the sea, God will do it in fulfillment of the Scriptures. But they are missing one key point: That faith must be in the words God says to you. Notice that Romans doesn’t say: "Faith comes by reading." Rather, it says: "Faith comes by hearing." 

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have faith in the Scriptures. It is the Word of God after all! But how Scripture is properly applied is spoken to us by the Holy Spirit on a moment by moment basis. When it is time to apply the Scripture, such as commanding a tree to be removed, the Holy Spirit will communicate that to us. Ecclesiastes tells us that a time and a place exist for every activity under the sun. This holds true with faith. There is a time to have faith and a time not to have any!

Do not trust in anything that God has NOT specifically said will happen. Jesus did say: "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. ' (Luke 17:6) However, this Scripture wasn't spoken directly to us but to the disciples sitting nearby. So it isn't going to happen for us if the Holy Spirit hasn't confirmed that we should tell that tree or mountain to move. It isn't a question of the measure of our faith but of its accuracy. We can have all the faith in the world, but if it is not accurately placed in the words of the Spirit, nothing will happen.

Another example would be that of a person I knew whose vehicle broke down while on his way to work. He prayed over his car, then told it in name of the Lord to start. After four attempts, it didn't start. Then he came to the conclusion that there was something wrong with his faith. He just needed to have more faith; then it would happen! So he prayed again and had all faith that God would do it. Then he closed his eyes, put the key in the ignition and said: "In the name of Jesus, I command you to work!" Without an ounce of doubt, he turned the key but the car didn't start. In the end, he was late for work that day. After everything was over, he decided," it must not be God's will." But if he had started with the will of God and worked backward, he would not have had to waste his time yelling at his car and praying for things that weren't in God’s will.

So the question is: "How is the will of God communicated to us?" Through the voice of the Holy Spirit! Hence, true faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Whenever our faith lines up with the will of God, the Lord answers.   

God's Word can be split into two categories. There is the WRITTEN Word, upon which all Christianity is founded. Then there is the VERBAL Word, which is the voice of the Spirit, who explains to us in plain words how to apply the written Word on a daily basis. By this we know that the verbal Word is as essential as the written Word. But it’s interesting how some say: "It didn’t happen because I must not have had enough faith."

Jesus said that all it takes is a little mustard-seed-sized faith for miracles like these to happen, not mountain-sized faith. It doesn't take a mountain of faith to move a mountain. As the Scripture tell us, Jesus said: "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain: 'Move from here to there, ' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ' " (Matthew 17:20) In another Scripture, Jesus calls a mustard seed the "smallest seed." So it only takes a little faith for great things to happen. Although God requires us to have great faith, He was making clear through this Scripture that if we have even a little faith, nothing will be impossible for us. So the issue isn't always about the size of faith so much as what we're choosing to put our faith in.

"Well, I was putting my faith in Jesus that He would start my car," my friend said."Did Jesus say He would start your car?" I asked."Well, no." "So then, how did you know whether God was willing or not to start your car?" "I didn’t. … I just trusted Him. I thought if I had faith, it would happen." "How can you have faith unless God tells you what He intends to do?" 

Every time God speaks, our natural response must be with faith. If God hasn't spoken, then what are we trusting in? In ourselves and our personal hopes! But our faith must always be in His will! While we can pray for things and see large miracles happen, we cannot command the tree to uproot or the mountain to move unless God tells us to do so first. Faith is meant to be about God! But it's ridiculous how we make it about ourselves."Well, if I only had a little more faith, then this or that would have happened!" Such a statement neglects the fact that God may not have been willing for the given thing to happen. It isn't about how much faith we have so much as it is about how faithful God is.

"I trust God won't let that happen to me" is a common sentiment I've heard. This is what a person may say when he or she is about to take a leap of faith, such as making a financial sacrifice, and is asked,"What will you do when it doesn't work out for you and you lose everything?" "I trust God won't let that happen to me," he or she says."He's faithful! He'll keep it from happening." But how did God specifically tell you He wouldn't let it happen? How did God specifically tell you to make a sacrifice or take that leap of faith? If He didn't tell you, then you are hoping God will help, but you are not having faith. Faith comes by hearing, and God never told you to sacrifice or that He would help you if you did. If you take a leap of faith without God telling you to do so, then you are jumping presumptuously in self-will. God will not bless that type of faith!

If we want to take a leap of faith beloveds, then we must pray before doing anything and wait for the Lord's answer to determine if it is in His desire for us to make that leap in the first place. As it is written: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…" (Philippians 4:6) So the first step to having massive faith is that we must have accurate faith. Our faith must be in the will of God, and in order for it to be in His will, we must become better listeners. The more  we understand God's voice, the more effective our faith will be. So let's take the time to grow in discernment, that His voice may be easier for us to hear. If we give God a thirty-minute daily devotion but then ignore Him for the rest of the day, how do we expect to hear Him with clarity when we need to hear His voice most?

Hearing God is like exercising a muscle! The more we practice listening, the better we will hear and understand. But if we listen less often, it will be difficult to hear and understand the Lord when we need to most. Knowing this, let's pay attention to the Spirit of the Lord throughout the day and not merely in a devotion. We are supposed to have devotions to recharge our batteries, but if we don’t carry the charge with us, our ember will fade. We must take the lesson of the devotion with us and continue to pay attention to the presence of the Spirit when we step out of the secret place.

Don't stop praying, but be faithful to pray continuously. As it is written: "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving…" (Colossians 4:2) We MUST commit to a life of habitual prayer! Converse with God often, that we can be both attuned to His presence and sensitive to His voice.

We must put away the things that distract us from God so that you can be closer to Him (Tv, phones, facebook). Abstain from idleness! If it doesn't pertain to the Lord or edify us, then why are we partaking in that particular activity? That activity doesn't need to be blatant sin for it to be wrong. If it takes our focus off God, then it is a distraction! Every idol begins as a distraction! So if we're being distracted from God by something, then we have an idol. We should be able both to meditate on the Spirit and to accomplish any activity we do, whether work or entertainment. This is especially so during entertainment, which is a time when our mind is resting and able to focus more easily. So if our entertainment is distracting us from God, then we better start looking for things that fill us with the Spirit and edify us.

By continuing to abide in the Spirit, we will hear God with greater clarity and apply our faith effectively. So let's take it to heart to worship and pray continually! Then, when we understand the will of God, we'll be able to overcome any obstacle. We'll enter trials with confidence, continue in them with joyful patience, and exit them with victory.

One of the most important steps to increasing our faith is to increase the time we spend growing in the Scripture. If at all possible, we should set aside an hour every day to study. While this isn't always possible, the key is to take as much time as we can to spend growing in the Word of God.

As Christians, at times we have a habit of dedicating a few minutes to reading; then, when the few minutes are over, we close the Bible and walk away. More often than not, the Word of God was speaking out to us, therefore we must keep reading and not stop until God is done with us! When the words pop out at us, this is the Holy Spirit speaking to us. When He does this, we ought to give Him as much time as He requires of us to sit and listen to Him.

How do we know how much time the Holy Spirit requires? When we see the words popping out at us from the Scripture, He is speaking and requires us to listen. When they stop popping out at us, then stop reading! We will learn that we get more out of the Scripture by memorizing and meditating on the pages that pop out at us than by focusing on the ones that don't. Why is this? Because students get more from a course book as they follow along with the teacher. If they flip ahead and ignore his voice, then they learn nothing of significance.

There is never a time for us to be self-taught in the Scripture. Rather, we must all be God-taught! Even as Jesus said: "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God. ' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me." (John 6:45) Knowing this, let's give more thoughtful attention to the verses that speak to us because the Lord Himself is actively teaching us through them in that moment.

A wise idea would be to write down everything God is saying to us while we read. If the Scripture seems to come alive and others come to mind, know that God is teaching us and comparing each verse with others to provide us the whole teaching on the subject. As it is written,"These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." (1 Corinthians 2:13) The Spirit will compare each spiritual lesson with each spiritual Scripture. So take the time to write down everything He says.  We are not to write our own thoughts and feelings but discipline ourselves only to write the things God says. Doing so will train us to understand the voice of God more clearly and help us to decipher between the words from our own heart and those from God's. The end result will be an ability to discern between our own will and God's, that we can submit to His will.

Taking it to heart to study our Bible will help our faith. Firstly, studying our Bible will help us understand the will of God; secondly, it will help us understand the nature of God; and thirdly, it will help us to understand His heart. When we understand His heart and nature, we'll also understand when to apply faith properly and how to overcome every situation with confidence.

Whenever we need faith, always begin with the things that help us to understand what God is doing through the situation, what God requires of us, what He is telling us to do, and what His will is! May the Lord give us heavenly wisdom, knowledge and discernment. And above all, faith that works!

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