Taking Ground through Faith, by Ps Chris Field

You are a Christian by faith.

As a Christian you live by faith.

Only faith can please God.

So, have your considered the significance of those statements?

Just Faith

You may have gotten the idea that God can be pleased by your singing, or song writing, or performing, or kneeling with tears of emotion, or preaching, or getting into the wonderful worship session, and so on.

If you watch the Worship Videos released by many big churches around the world today you could easily get the impression that being moved in an orchestrated worship event is the high point of Christianity.

But I am here to burst your bubble.

The ONLY thing that pleases God is your faith.  (See Hebrews 11:6)

Not Your Talent

Since you can only please God with your faith, there is no reason to believe God is pleased by your talent.  Your funky skills on an instrument or with a microphone may have absolutely nothing to do with faith.

Your ability to create poetic lyrics and stirring melody, or create fantastic riffs to accentuate a song, or to play the drum rhythm exactly as they do it on the Hillsong recording, counts for nothing.

ONLY YOUR FAITH pleases God.  Your talent has NOTHING to do with it.

Now I don’t say that to offend those wonderful talented people who I enjoy listening to.  I say that simply to pull down the wrong ideas that get sown in people’s heads.

I want you to hear what the Bible says, and not to let your wrong ideas rob you of the truth.

Evidence of Faith

So, if faith is the ONLY way you can please God what is the evidence of faith at work in your life?

Faith will lead you to works.  Those works will be expressions of your trust in God.

But if you have all your needs met and have good health, good income, no worries in life and no need to rely on God, you may not have any evidence of faith.

That does not mean you cannot have faith if all your needs are met, but it does put you at risk of cruising along relying on your natural conditions and not living by faith.

Remember what I said at the start, “As a Christian you live by faith”.  That is a truth stated several times in the Bible.

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17 (See also: Habakkuk 2:4, Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38)

Take Ground or Hold Ground

Many years ago I realised that if I am not careful I will fall into the pattern or not living by faith.  In the affluent western world we have so many support mechanisms that we often rely on God as a last resort.

We have doctors, specialists, jobs, technology, money, material goods, security systems, ready access to food, running water, gas, electricity, ambulances, and on it goes.

So how do you use faith when you don’t need to?

That’s the challenge.  If you do not need to employ faith how to you “live by faith”?

The answer is that you must use faith to TAKE GROUND or you’ll have to use faith to HOLD GROUND.

Let God be God

If you do not need God in your life you will not exercise your faith in Him.  But if a doctor diagnoses some serious illness your prayer life will probably become more active.

If you lose your job you are more likely to pray for God’s provision or protection than when everything is going fine.

If you decide to take on the enemy and rout him out of your family or culture, then you will be calling on God to be God and to win the battle for you.

In order for you to be keen to find God’s power at work you will either be trying to Take Ground from the enemy, or you will be in one of those situations where you are struggling to Hold Ground against some calamity or challenge.

Choose to Take Ground

If faith is the only way to please God and you must “live” by faith, then you need to choose to Take Ground from the enemy.

That’s why Jesus taught us to pray “Your Kingdom come and Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”.  That is a prayer for Taking Ground.  It is a prayer to see evil driven back and God’s Kingdom established in new ways and in new places.

If you are living to take ground for God’s Kingdom you will be living by faith.  You will be employing faith in your prayers and in your actions.  And God will be pleased, because ONLY FAITH pleases God and you will be employing faith.

Use It or Be Forced to Use It

You have heard the saying “Use it or Lose it” but in things of the Spirit it might be better said, “Use it or be Forced to use it!”

If you are a Christian you are to live by faith.  If you don’t live by faith what will God do?  God wants you to live by faith because only your faith pleases Him.

Maybe God will have to force you into a place where you use faith, so you can be living by faith and pleasing Him.  So, how would God force you to live by faith?  Maybe God will have to send a few problems your way.  Maybe God will have to pull the rug out from under your feet.

A sudden loss, health challenge, problem at work, financial crisis, upset in the family, problem neighbour, legal issue, or the like can put you on the back foot and fighting to hold your ground.  Your cosy world can be turned into upheaval in an instant if God chooses to bring a challenge your way.

Taking Ground is Better

If you have the choice of taking ground for God’s Kingdom or being forced to fight to keep what you already have, which would you choose?

I think it is FAR better to be taking ground than struggling to hold the ground I have.  I would much rather be claiming new horizons for God, than struggling to bail out a sinking boat.

Taking Ground is much better than being forced to pray in desperation to get your health back, or to survive a financial disaster, or solve some vexing problem that has attacked you and your family.

When I realised that, many years ago, I decided that I want to be one who takes ground for God’s Kingdom, seeing God’s Kingdom come and God’s Will done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Maybe that’s why I am doing such crazy things as taking on injustice and fraud from the banks and courts.  I am in a place where my daily prayer is for God to be God in my situation and for Him to win for me.  I am staking all I have on my determination to bring new levels of justice to my nation and for my children and grandchildren’s future.

Taking ground is better – because it puts me in a place of living by faith, and that faith pleases God.  And I get to see God work miracles of deliverance and powerful works of transformation on the inside of my life.

I encourage you to do a faith audit and to do whatever you have to do to keep your own faith life active and vital.

Now, to clarity, you don’t need to be in a spiritual storm to be living by faith.  All those pressing in to God for rescue or new ground are engaging their faith.  And once you’ve staked your claim and are standing by it, you are living by faith, even if there is no drama about the matter.  The issue is to be living by faith – engaging your faith so God is delighted with you.

Faith and Doubt A Lesson by Ps Chris Field

My recent Doubt Dungeon post led to further thoughts about how doubt blocks faith.  So here is a fresh analogy for the place of faith and doubt in our lives.

I pointed out in Doubt Dungeon that doubt blocks our will.  When we have doubts we are afraid to engage our will to make a choice, since we might be making the wrong choice.

So doubt is a terrible force to allow into your life as it destroys your capacity to make choices and move forward.

Biblical Insight

The Bible speaks about how doubt disables our will, so this is not some mere psychological observation, but a principle that we need to be aware of.  When you have doubts about the choice to make you “halt”.  You are blocked from moving forward.  The ancient Hebrew word used for halt speaks of dancing from one foot to the other, unable to step forward.

“And Elijah came to all the people, and said, How long will you halt between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” 1Kings 18:21

Having doubts leads you to struggle between two opinions, so you become “double minded”.  And that makes you unstable.  You cannot make clear, effective decisions that you will stick to.

“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8

The Springboard

To give practical form to how doubt and faith work in your life I suggest the idea of a Faith Springboard.  Imagine you have a springboard, similar to those used in athletics to launch a person forward.

Faith is a Springboard that launches you forward in the things you are believing for.  With faith you connect with God and receive His blessings.  God is pleased when you use faith.

However, your faith springboard must be plugged in.  While normal springboards don’t need any power source, your faith springboard needs to be plugged into something.  It needs to be plugged into your Will.

Unless you “choose” to believe, your belief machine (springboard) sits idle and gathers dust.  No matter how many times you look at it or talk about it, your faith will not work until you activate it with your will, by choosing to believe.

So, to get the picture clear, you have a springboard of faith that will catapult you forward in the things of God, but your must activate it with your will, by making a choice to believe.

Faith is choosing to believe.  Faith and the will need to work together.  It is “you” who believes God, with your will.

Abraham Believed God

The most famous man of faith in human history is Abraham, who believed what God promised him.  God told Abraham he would have a son by his wife Sarah.  Abraham and Sarah were already too old to be parents, but Abraham made a choice to believe God.

We know from the New Testament that faith is the only thing that pleases God.

Without faith it is impossible to please God: for he that comes to God must believe that God exists, and that God rewards those who diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

When Abraham chose to believe God, God was pleased and God blessed him.

“For what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3

Abraham believed God.  He didn’t get carried away in some emotional high, but he chose, with his will, to trust and rely on what God told him.  When Abraham chose to activate faith, by his will choosing to believe God, God credited Abraham with righteousness.

And that is the model for salvation in every generation since then.  We are not made right with God by anything we do, except the choice of our will to believe what God says.  Since Christ’s sacrifice for us 2,000 years ago, we must choose to believe in Christ as our saviour.  Then we are forgiven and made a child of God.

Just as Abraham had to use his will to choose to believe God, we also must use our will to choose to believe God.

Enter Doubt

When doubt comes into the picture it has the effect of pulling the plug on our will.  Faith needs our will to make the choice to believe.  Doubt pulls the plug, so our will is no longer connected to our faith.

When we ‘doubt’ we suddenly have a dead springboard.  It doesn’t work any more.  That’s not because doubt is greater than faith, but because doubt disconnects our will.  When we won’t “choose to believe” our faith lies dormant.

Faith in God is still the most powerful force we can activate.  But it cannot help us until and unless we make a personal choice to believe.  Doubt frightens us off making that choice, and so our faith sits like a broken down machine, unable to do for us what it is designed to do.

Activate Faith

We all need to activate our faith.  We need to choose to believe in God and to trust God’s Word.

If you activate your faith you can keep on springing forward in the things of God.  If you let doubt disable your will, faith will be of no effect to you.

Faith is a choice, not a feeling or some emotional state you get into after hearing a positive message.  It is a choice made in the cold light of day, that you will believe God to be God and believe His Word to be true.  Those who get swept along could easily be swept away, but those who activate their faith, by a choice to believe, squashing their doubts and stepping onto the springboard of faith, will be able to enter into the salvation and blessing God has for them.

So, the lesson is “Choose to Believe”.

Healed

I celebrate the wonder of standing in faith. God has blessed me at times of standing in faith and I have always been drawn to those Biblical accounts of men who took hold of God. So let me encourage your own faith stand with a lovely testimony.

Kara is a young uni student friend hospitalised last year with sudden onset of a mystery disease. Her mum was called back from Christian ministry overseas because there were fears for Kara’s life.

Kara’s system seemed to be in turmoil and her skin was covered in dark blotches. So much was going wrong with her at once that half a dozen different specialists were each trying to diagnose the bizarre and life-threatening symptoms.

The family called me to the hospital to pray for Kara on several occasions and I was delighted to see that, weak as she was, she was holding on in faith, believing God to heal her. However, the disease and the mystery lingered.

Kara had been previously diagnosed with chronic rheumatoid arthritis. What we now understand is that new medication she had been placed on a few months before caused her mystery symptoms, but the doctors did not realise that at first. The life-threatening severity and the diversity of symptoms had the team of specialists at their wits’ end.

Kara’s Faith

Meanwhile Kara continued to believe that God would heal her. There was no evidence of recovery and no insight from the doctors, but Kara determined to believe the truth of God’s Word, that we are healed through the physical torment endured by Jesus Christ on our behalf (Isaiah 53:5).  Kara’s mum wrote about her daughter’s ordeal…

“It was a real challenge for Kara as she had been there for 8 weeks, during which she was in ICU 3 times, as she battled and triumphed over acute liver failure/hepatitis (twice), bibasal pneumonia, lymphadenopathy, HITS syndrome, autoimmune haemolytic anaemia for which she had 2 blood transfusions, severe anaemia & thrombocytopaenia, and HHV6, for which she had bone marrow biopsy and surgery for lymph gland biopsy, not to mention all the countless daily blood tests, MRIs, X-Rays, Scans, Picc lines etc… AND, God’s presence was with us all that time!

“We have so much to testify to, of God’s goodness and miraculous touch. Kara herself took authority over the enemy in Jesus’ name one morning at 5.00am, waking her sister who was sleeping in the room and insisting that the sister agree with Kara in prayer.  We registered Kara turning around from then.

“In many ways her faith was stronger than mine and she shone through with the sweetest disposition, much to the admiration of the many specialists and nurses looking after her. They commended her for what they perceived to be her ‘positive’ attitude and stoic outlook.”

After her surgery Kara insisted on having the word ‘HEALED’ written on the bandage on her head.  She instructed her sister to write it there as a testimony to what she believed for.

“Thereafter, with each daily change of the bandage, she would request that the word ‘HEALED’ be written afresh. She would walk around the ward and other areas of the hospital – the admissions reception area, canteen, gift shop, garden etc with her bandage, holding onto her dripline. She was not shy to share her faith, and openly declared that she was healed. I thank God for His hand upon her life, for His love and grace and mercy!”

When the ordeal was over, and the bizarre symptoms no longer plagued her, tests showed that not only was Kara released from the many life-threatening conditions, but the original, underlying problem of rheumatoid arthritis was completely healed.

Kara’s faith, seen in her determination, her persistent confidence in God, and her public testimony worn on her head, brought her through to healing.

Faith Champions

Faith champions are very ordinary people. What makes them stand out is that they are willing to believe that God can and will bless them as they cry out to Him.

God said it, I believe it, and that settles it! God has done it before and God will do it again. Nothing is impossible to God. I won’t be dissuaded by how big the challenge is. I choose to believe what God says in the Bible, and I will not give up.

Faith champions are often like children when it comes to trusting God. A child is likely to say something like, “Don’t cry mummy. God will fix the problem.” Or he may say, “Isn’t God bigger than our problem?”

Jesus told us that we enter God’s kingdom like a little child. And that includes child-like faith that rests confidently in God, in the same way a little child sleeps soundly in his daddy’s arms.

Take a Faith Stand

Those who take a faith stand appear extreme or foolish to those who struggle to find faith. Remember how Gideon stepped out in faith and reduced his army to just three hundred men. Yet that small band defeated a huge army of Midianites.

Moses trusted God to deliver Israel, not knowing that God would open the sea and lead them safely through. David confidently ran to face Goliath when all the trained soldiers were too afraid to do so.

Kara believed God, before there was any evidence of the healing. She made public testimony that she was “Healed” before the doctors even knew what to predict.

I encourage you in your faith. Choose to believe God. Take a faith stand.

The Doubt Dungeon

Are you trapped in the Dungeon of Doubt? If you are, do you know how to get out?

I trust that these thoughts help you escape from the slavery to doubts.

Some people latch on to all the doubts that come their way while others have no problem believing or maintaining confidence. Which of those types best describes you?

Discover Your Doubts

If the media comes out with new evidence to disprove God, or to cause doubts about the Bible and Christianity, how do you normally react?

Do you become fascinated by that new information? Do you feel ashamed of your own faith in God? Does such news intimidate you?

Or do you shrug it off, knowing that in time all the uproar will subside and the new claims prove to be empty?

If you are easily impacted by other people’s doubts or new reasons to question God and the Bible, then you are in danger of the Doubt Dungeon.  If you are resilient against each new supposedly scientific finding that mocks Christianity then you are free of the doubts that trap many others.

Your Big Question

If you could talk with an angel, or get an audience with God, what is the big question you want answered?

Is the question that dominates your thinking a doubt?  Do you need God to give you reassurance that He is real or that His Word is true?

If your underlying question is not about the truth and reality of God and His Word, then you are probably past the Doubt Dungeon.

As a minister I get hit with questions from people all the time.  They seem to think I can resolve their doubts or they may even see me as a target to fire at, as if they are having a shot at God Himself.

So I get to hear many of the questions people have and I find that most of the questions are from the Doubt Dungeon.  People often get trapped in the gloom of doubt and despair and want someone to help them out.

Popular Doubts

It seems some people are bedevilled by doubt and have become slave to every new popular doubt in the marketplace.

I have seen doubts come and go.  The pop paperback “Chariots of the Gods” once proclaimed that life came from outer space, and not from God.  Findings of a localised flood in Mesopotamia were used to deny the global flood of the Bible.  Findings of ancient Babylonian tablets with accounts similar to Bible events suggested that the Bible was a mere human story collection.  The idea that writing developed late in human history suggested that “Chinese Whispers” type word of mouth transmission perverted the Bible history.

Of course the most profound source of doubts that attack the Bible is awarded to the theory of evolution.  For over a century pseudo-science has mocked the Bible account of creation, based on a choice to believe that evolution is real.

Spiritual Doubts

What many people don’t realise is that doubt is a spiritual weapon assigned to attack them.

The most powerful thing any man or woman can do is choose to believe God.  That’s called “faith” and it is not possible to be rescued by God without it.  Faith is the only thing that pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).

So doubt has the purpose of destroying faith.

Faith is a “choice to believe”, an act of the will.  The purpose of doubt is to block someone making that choice.  If you think you have good reason to doubt a choice you will not make it.

But once you entertain the doubt and shut down your will from choosing to believe you end up in a dungeon of doubt.  Your will has been disabled by something as unworthy as uncertainty.  Now your will is hobbled and won’t be strong again until you use it like a muscle to throw off the doubts.

However, once you have accepted the doubts, deactivated your will and killed your ability to exercise faith, you are in a dungeon.  The rest of your life may be spent in the unhappy gloom of that dungeon.

Addicted to Doubt

Once in the Dungeon of Doubt people become highly susceptible to any and all new doubts.  When a new theory or claim comes out to challenge God or the Bible, those in the dungeon prick up their ears.  But they can’t properly assess the new, addictive doubt, because they have already shut down the will.  They have already deactivated their choice to believe.

They will look at the new evidence without any capacity to resist it.  The doubt will swamp them, confirming their past doubts and leaving them in the unhappy sense that something is not right, but they can’t quite work out what to do about it.

That’s why you can meet people who have all the doubts lined up in their heads.  Rather than only having one or two pieces, they seem to have the whole matching set.  These are the doubt addicts, digging their own dungeon of doubt deeper and deeper.

Destroying Doubt

Doubt can be destroyed in moments.  There is no reason to stay in the dungeon of doubt.

All it takes is a “choice to believe”.  Faith is very powerful.  It overcomes all the forces in the world, including doubt.  So when you use faith you are able to destroy the whole dungeon.

“Whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” 1John 5:4

As long as you entertain doubts you deactivate your will.  Doubt forces you to not make a decision, because you can’t be sure it is right.  So doubt will never lead you forward.  It will always disempower you and lock you in its dungeon.

But when you make a choice to believe, doubt is destroyed.  Your will comes into action and you can make a positive stand that will take you forward.

The saying goes that it is better to make a wrong decision than not to decide at all.  That concept illuminates what I am saying, that doubt disables your will.  If you make a choice and it proves to be the wrong one, you can then change your choice.  But if you don’t make a choice at all, you are stuck in the mud of inertia.  Your life is locked in prison.

Evidence Not Needed

It’s not about the evidence! In our cynical, intellectualised world we are told not to believe in things unless they are proven.  But that’s absolutely ridiculous!

You can’t prove you’re in love.  But you believe you are.  You can’t prove you’re right.  But you believe you are.  And you move ahead confidently based on those beliefs.

Most of the big decisions you will make in your life have nothing to do with scientific evidence and “proof”.  They are not about the evidence.  Those big decisions are mostly based on your gut feeling, your emotions, your preferences and, ultimately, your CHOICES.

So stop being intimidated by the doubts that demand a scientific answer.  Make a choice to believe what God says in His Word the Bible.

And notice that once you embrace the doubts you live with, you experience a certain internal sense of being dislocated.  That’s because you are denying something your gut tells you is true.  When you “choose to believe” you are resolving those internal frustrations.  I have seen that many times over.

Get a Life

If you are trapped in the Dungeon of Doubt you don’t have a life.  Your will has been shut down.  You will be incapable of moving forward until you make a choice to believe.

So get a life!  Get your foot out of the trap.  Reactivate your right to believe.

And if you are hesitant, remember that a choice is never final.  You can change your mind tomorrow.  It’s not a crime to do so.  You can spend years enjoying one kind of food and then change your preferences.  It’s as easy as that.

There is no need to be trapped in a dungeon of doubt and inertia.  There is no need to shut down your life and lock it in a dungeon.

I urge you to make a positive choice right now.  Choose to believe that God is God and that the Bible is God’s Word. Realise that there will always be unanswered questions in life and that you need to get on with life rather than lock it away in the vain hope of ever understanding everything.

Ask God to be real to you and step into the wonder of being His child, in active relationship with Him.  Please get out of the dungeon of doubt right now.

Faith and Banks Audio Message

For the past few months I have been sharing a message around the place about Faith and Banks.

It is a sermon I have been able to preach in many different churches and small groups, sharing my perspective on Faith in God and how that has been part of my fight with Macquarie Bank and Perpetual Trustees, the courts and sheriff over my home.

I hope to have a video version of the message available on YouTube, but so far I do have an audio version uploaded by Ps Larry Sebastian, where I preached this message last Sunday (March 20) in Casey City Church in Fountain Gate, Melbourne.  Click here to listen to the Audio of that message.

The first half of the message explores what the Bible shows us about God’s grace, which is the basis of my life of faith.

Then I explain how my understanding of faith has supported me over the past 18 months as I have engaged in taking on lies and fraud in the banking industry and injustice in the courts.

That battle is not over, but so far we are delighted with where things have come to and where they are heading.

Here is the link to that message: http://media.monkserve.com/EKK/3955/parenting.mp3

Someone wrongly labeled the message as Parenting, since I shared on that topic at Casey City Church last year.  Ignore the title and enjoy the message.