045 ~ The Importance Of Faith
THE IMPORTANCE OF FAITH
By Rodney W. Francis
I have been challenged afresh of late of the importance of faith working in and through our lives. Do we really understand what faith is? The word “faith” means: “persuasion, i.e. credence; conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; assurance, believe, faith, fidelity” (Strong’s Concordance); “1. faith, i.e. firm persuasion, the conviction which is based upon hearing, not upon sight, or knowledge; a firmly relying confidence in what we hear from God in His Word 2. hope, i.e. expectation of something future; a dearly cherished and apparently well-grounded expectation and prospect of some desired good” (Bullinger’s Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament). In the Old Testament it means: “To support, bear; to be firm, faithful; faithfulness in fulfilling promises; truth” (Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies). The word “faith” is mentioned 245 times in the New King James Bible; 247 times in the KJV. This tells us how important it is that we understand what faith is and that we are actively seeking to walk by faith in our day to day living.
The Bible is clear in that it states: “So then faith comes by hearing (“the sense of hearing, and also, the thing heard” – Bullinger’s), and hearing (“the act, the sense or the thing heard” – Strong’s Concordance) by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). We only have faith as we recognize how and when God is speaking to us. Hearing is a present tense now word, and when we hear directly from God we receive faith to obey what He is saying to us. The decision as to whether we obey God or not is ours. We have to activate that faith through a practical outworking of obedience to what He is saying to us.
How important is this? It is so important that the Bible clearly tells us: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him (God), for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently (“seek out, search out”) seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). This verse is showing us that we must believe God more than anyone or anything else. This does present a challenge often, as believing God is very different to believing other things. Why? Because God’s ways and words are very different to all we have known before we met Him through Jesus Christ. Through faith in God’s word to us we are learning to live in a whole new way to God’s glory. We cannot do this in our natural strength and ability.
If you read the whole chapter of Hebrews 11 you will see that it is showing us how faith is an individual matter between God and us. Through faith those men and women achieved great things in God because they believed what He asked of them. God spoke these words to me a few years back: “Every great man and woman in the Bible all started out as unknown nobodies until one event happened in the life of them all. They heard the Word of God and obeyed”. Their obedience changed them from useless nobodies into great achievers to the glory of God. Hallelujah! God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, KJV). The NKJV states: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works (“produces, brings to pass” – Bullinger’s) righteousness is accepted by Him”. Those works are the result of hearing and obeying what God asks of us. You can be a great achiever too, through exercising your faith in that which God reveals to you. What a privilege!
“Now the just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38). The word “just” here means: “fulfilling all claims which are right and becoming. A right state, (of which God and His word is the standard) so that no fault or defect can be charged” (Bullinger’s).
- True Christians are they who are totally committed to what God says and actively seeking to obey Him.
- What God says to us by the Holy Spirit of Truth will always be confirmed by the principles of Scripture.
- Knowing the Word of God enables us to discern more clearly the voice of God when He speaks to us. Know that Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27 – read the whole chapter).
- A just Christian sets God and His word above all else.
Faith is an action. It is more than mental assent of the Bible. Jesus is alive today ~ right now ~ and He speaks to those who will listen to Him. What He says to us is exactly right for us at the time He speaks to us. Once he has spoken to us, it is then our responsibility to put it into action through obedience to what He has said. That obedience is faith and that faith will take us on to new levels in our Christian walk with Jesus.
One area of the Christian life where Satan seeks to deceive us is in making us doubt the voice of God to us.
- Do you know when God speaks to you?
- If not, what are you doing to change that? We have been given spiritual ears to “hear what the Spirit is saying” to us (Revelation Chapters 2 and 3).
- Are you listening? If you do nothing you will never get to know and prove the voice of God to you personally.
- If you do know the voice of God how and when it comes to you, what is your response? Do you just commit it to prayer and do nothing more? Or do you seek to actively obey and see what God will do.
- We need to be committed to obeying whatever God asks of us. In doing that we will find that our faith grows and God can trust us with bigger ventures of faith for and with Him.
A BIG CHALLENGE
We need to consider the words of Jesus. He reveals to us that not a lot of His followers are active in faith. This is what He said/says: “And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.’ Then Jesus answered and said, ‘O faithless (“not confident, untrustworthy; one who refuses to receive God’s revelation of grace” – Bullinger’s) and perverse (“to distort, i.e. misinterpret or corrupt” – Strong’s) generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.’ And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief (“faithlessness, distrust” – Bullinger’s); 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 shall be impossible to you. However, this kind does not go out, except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:14-21).
“When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, ‘Son of David, have mercy on us!’ And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you.’ And their eyes were opened” (Matthew 9:27-30).
Church Leaders and Elders should be men and women of faith so they can see the sick healed: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15). Notice here that God responds to faith. It is faith that gets true results.
Praying for the sick is not limited to only Church Leaders and Elders, but for all believers in Jesus; believers who have faith in what Jesus has said: “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 by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (see Mark 16:15-20).
The disciples were not getting the results they should have been getting because of their lack of faith. When they asked Jesus for an increase of their faith this is what he answered them: “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 17:5-6). We are told that the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows it becomes greater than all herbs . . . (Mark 4:31-32); therefore it only takes a small amount of faith to accomplish great things. It is obvious when we look amongst Christians today that there is very little faith being exercised.
- It is time that we knew the power of faith and how we get more of it.
- It is through listening to Jesus and obeying what He tells us.
- It can come no other way.
We cannot manufacture it ourselves without the word of the Lord being made alive to us by the Holy Spirit. Then, when we obey that word through the active exercise of obedient faith, we do see God confirming His word with signs following. Hallelujah!
- So, how strong is your faith?
- Is your faith growing more and more?
- What are you accomplishing through faith?
- Are you setting the captives free and even moving mountains of resistance?
- When you see what God can do your faith is made much stronger and you rise up to accomplish even more than ever before in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ.
Remember the man who was healed at the Gate Beautiful? How did it happen? Peter declared: “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness (“wholeness in every part” – Bullinger’s) in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:16). It is time for us to pursue true faith and allow the Lord to use us more than ever before. The needs are great; the challenges are great, but “Greater is He (Jesus) Who is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The true Christian knows that Jesus Christ now lives inside of us, and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the Lord Who changes not (Malachi 3:6).
- You and I can accomplish great things when we do things according to God’s word and instructions.
- How? By listening more closely to what the Living Jesus inside of you is saying to you, and then having a commitment to do whatever He asks of you.
- It works!
Many of you know our testimony of how God spoke to us to step out and live full-time by faith for Him, not asking anyone to support us financially and He would show us what He could do for us. At the moment that God spoke these words to us, the natural part of me felt very vulnerable because it meant giving up the security of the pastor’s salary I had been receiving for years. But God confirmed His will to us through what He spoke to us, and through prophetic words given to us at that time. We obeyed and resigned all our church positions, stepping out into a future that we did not know how it would all work out. The moment I crossed ‘the point of no return’, I immediately felt something snap right across my chest and I stepped into a new realm with Jesus and the Holy Spirit that we have been walking and living in ever since. God has certainly been true to His word to us and we have lived in the provision of God now for over 20 years. We have not lacked; we have no debts or mortgages, and The GFM Ministry has grown and grown in that time from touching people in 55 nations to over 220 nations. We do not know where our next dollar is coming from, yet every month every bill is paid and we are touching multitudes of lives around the world for Jesus. I can honestly say that I feel more secure living by faith than I did when I had a salary! The word of Jesus can be totally trusted. (It saddens me at all the requests we are receiving from Christian Leaders asking for financial support for all kinds of things. They need to know that faith in doing what God asks of them is how He provides for them – Philippians 4:19). It works for The GFM Ministry.
HOW STRONG IS YOUR FAITH?
We need to take some time to seriously consider whether or not we have that faith that pleases God, or are we simply hoping that we have faith? As we can see from the Bible, faith in action achieves great things for the glory of God. The Jesus in us desires to continue to do the things through us that He desires for us and that will give testimony to others that Jesus is very much alive today. He has declared: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes (“be persuaded, to rely upon, to trust; the New Testament conception of faith is (i) a fully convinced acknowledgment, (ii) a self-surrendering fellowship, (iii) a fully assured and unswerving confidence” – Bullinger’s) (Mark 9:23).
- It is clear to see that believing faith means a total commitment to what the Lord is saying to us.
- Faith can operate in no other way.
- How obedient are we to what the Lord Jesus says/teaches us?
Only you can answer the questions this article asks us, and only I can answer them for me. We need to seek to see how we can increase our faith in these times, as the world desperately needs to see the evidence of a Living Jesus Christ being manifested in and through those who believe Him. Let us be true men and women of faith who are totally committed to fulfilling God’s will and purpose for our lives. There is nothing more fulfilling in this life on earth than to know we are pleasing the Lord through our exercising of our faith in what He has said ~ and what He will continue to say to us. Praise the Lord!