Faith can be the most difficult to find when it’s most needed. It is in the darkness of temptation and in the lonely, sinful distance we need its light the most. Some think that faith comes from within (inside of you), but in Ephesians 2:8, Paul reminds us that faith “is the gift of God” and that it comes from God only. It is not something we can muster up or dig down deep to find. It is the fruit of God in the life of His surrendered child. In God, this is called foreknowledge. In us, it is the assurance of His foreknowledge. In Him, this is omniscience. For the Christian, it is reliance upon His omniscience. And the only way we can understand God’s mighty power and wisdom is through His Word (Romans 10:17).
Three Biblical ‘Kinds’ of Faith
Conviction– [Your faith is your body of doctrine & belief system.]
I love Christianity because it makes sense. Although it can’t always be explained by logic, it is never illogical to trust in a benevolent God! Other faiths require works for salvation and/or to please their Deity; Christianity requires only faith in its Deity. Other faiths require its followers to sacrifice (even die) for their Deity; Christianity is unique because our Deity sacrificed (even died) for its followers. America is benevolent & free b/c we still have some Christian principles!
Confidence– [Your faith is what you expect from God and what you depend God to do.]
Faith is the solid part of spiritual living; faith in the unseen realms is plainly and visibly evidenced in our world! And without faith, you and I cannot please God. (Hebrews 11:1,6) With each answered prayer and each silent miracle, God strengthens His case. He is the trustworthy Father, standing next to the play-set, calling for his son to jump into his arms. There is enough proof for me to know that God is not going to allow me to fall. He’s not going to drop me. He loves me. He can be trusted. I’d be a fool to try anything else.
Consistency– [A continual confidence & constant conviction brings a consistent faithfulness.]
This usage is the word ‘faith’ is the true meaning of the Spirit’s fruit of faith: consistency. Our faith brings faithfulness. Our dependence creates dependability. Our trust makes us trustworthy. This quality is what we will be judged against at the end of time: “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2
Four Basic ‘Steps’ of Faith
- Request– Reliance on God brings an ever-present asking, seeking, and knocking. When we realize that ‘without Him we can do nothing’ and ‘with Him nothing is impossible,’ we begin looking in the right direction: up! “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” Matthew 6:33 (see also Matthew 7:7; Luke 1:37; John 15:5)
- Rest– Trusting God allows us to relax. Too many Christians only the extremes of trusting God: either lazily, passively waiting on God to do everything –or– anxiously worrying about whether or not God will work things out. I know pastors on both sides of the fence. Some don’t do much of anything, expecting God’s sovereignty to outweigh their lack of interest and involvement. Some are dependent on Tums and Rolaids because they’ve stressed themselves into worry warts. God doesn’t want it either way… He provides a balance. “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works…let us labor therefore to enter into that rest…” Hebrews 4:10-11
- Receive– Since God is such a big giver and you are His child, you’d better get ready to receive! I don’t speak selfishly, as if we do all this to get what we want. I speak this because you need to know how to get with grace and gratitude. “Every good gift and every perfect gift cometh down from the Father…” James 1:17 God gave us His Son. He offers salvation, His Spirit, and much more. He gives families, health, and financial blessings. Part of faith is learning how to receive from God and continue our reliance: to remain faithful through periods of blessings. We must learn to trust in the One Blessing, not in the blessings themselves.
- Respond– We are not the end of the pipeline. You are not a dead-end street. God seeks to bless you that we will bless Him and others. “…freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8b How we respond to God’s blessings is as important as how we sought after them in the first place. Allow God’s goodness to grow your faith: respond to God with an expanding trust. I also believe that a reasonable reaction to God’s sacrifice is one of self-sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).Truly, our response should simply be a cycle back to ‘Requesting’ (see #1), just more. More asking, more seeking, more knocking. More trusting. Growing in faith & in faithfulness.