God’s people are a miracle people. Christ works miracles in the lives and circumstances of those who trust Him. Faith, employed by Christians, is the most powerful force available to ordinary people in every generation.
So what is faith? How does it work? How do we get more of it? How can we build our faith so we use it more freely and see more of its fruit in our lives? These are the questions which I am addressing in this series.
Christianity is Faith
Christianity is based on Faith. Christianity is a “faith” rather than a religion. Christianity is more than just faith in and reliance on a set of religious writings and religious beliefs. It is activated and empowered by the active faith of its adherents.
Christians are called “believers”, because they cannot be Christians unless belief (faith) has been involved. You cannot inherit Christianity. You cannot have it given to you by someone else. Each individual Christian must have a faith experience, or they are not truly Christian.
Faith at Work
But Christianity does not just engage a person’s faith when they embrace Christianity. Faith goes far past any initiation into Christianity. In fact, the Bible repeatedly states the godly people must live a faith lifestyle.
“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
Faith is at work in the believer’s life for the whole of their life. And it is that on-going presence of faith in the believer’s life that I am concerned about in this series. Everything I describe here will be relevant to the initial belief in Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord, which brings a person into the amazing relationship with God as Father and that is a vital component of being Christian. But my focus is not in that initiation faith. I want to encourage Christians to turbo-charge, energize and accelerate their daily life of faith.
The Faith Fusion
Faith at work is a remarkable and exciting reality which brings to life the whole gamut of Christian experience. It is the powerhouse of Christianity and it moves heaven and earth.
Faith is an amazing fusion of the whole counsel of scripture into a dynamic working structure that produces results.
Faith being put to work is like the bringing together of elements for a nuclear reaction. My father told me of a man who would demonstrate radioactive reaction through a mechanical device which brought two radioactive objects close to each other. The objects would begin to glow, to the amazement of his audience.
Having all the pieces on the bench is not enough. When they are brought together in appropriate fusion there is an output which is awesome in its power and effect.
Faith is the process of activating the various components of Christian truth so that the fusion results in release of the power and impact latent within those truths.
Factor One is God
My favourite definition of faith is given in Hebrews 11:6. This definition places God on the throne of faith. Faith is not a toy which people can use for their own convenience. Faith is not some divine power which God has allowed humans to use as they will. Faith is not placed in ‘faith’, as a magical process in itself.
Faith is anchored, centred, focused, energised, made real and only ever relevant to God, Himself!
I have met people who have ‘faith in faith’. I have heard preachers who speak of faith as if it was a tool of the gods stolen by man. I have seen people try to work up their faith, accuse others of not having enough faith, pump up faith in order to get something they want, and otherwise abuse the whole reality of a life of faith.
But God is the principle factor in faith. Hebrews 11:6 settles that for us.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
God is God
The basis for faith is the reality of the God who is God. Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, creator of the universe, Lord of all, God of all gods, is the only one who can make the miracle difference in our lives. His love, power, grace, wisdom, purpose and awesome reality surpass everything else.
Faith is only faith when it is anchored in the person of Almighty God.
So, let’s see that in Hebrews 11:6. Faith pleases God. The reason faith always pleases God is that faith is anchored in the reality of God’s existence. Those who come to God “must believe that He IS“. We must believe Him to be who He is. God’s “existence” is the foundation of faith.
That’s why faith in faith is folly. True faith is not anchored in faith as some kind of supernatural force. Nor is it anchored in the heart and mind or the believer. Faith is not a secret weapon in the hands of people, but an extension of God’s personal reality.
Faith Factor #1 is God. God is God! God is who the Bible says He is. God is everything He says He is, despite all evidence to the contrary. Faith is the act of confidently believing that.
God is Good
The second truth anchored in God is His character. God is a good God! God is a God who blesses. God is a God of grace.
It is not sufficient to believe that God is powerful, great, awesome, incomparable, all knowing, all glorious and so on. We must also believe in His character as a Good God.
This confidence in God’s goodness is summarised in Hebrews 11:6 in the reference to God as a “rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”. God is a ‘rewarder’. God is not vicious, malicious, capricious, deleterious or any other negative “-ious”.
Again we see that Faith Factor #1 is God. God’s person, existence, reality as the one who He reveals Himself to be in the Bible is the first element. The second is that God’s character is loving, gracious and keen to bless. Faith is built on these two revelations of who God is.
Again we see that faith is not centred in man, nor is it an independent spiritual force or tool. Faith is an outworking of our revelation of who God is. To know God is to love Him, and to know God is to be encouraged in faith to rely on Him, for salvation, deliverance, help in time of need and every good gift that He has prepared for us.
Faith in God
Faith at work is faith in God. Any other expression of ‘faith’ is beggarly in comparison to the miracles that spring from our confidence in God.
If you want to build your faith then extend your contact with God. Dive into God’s Word. Be filled with God’s Spirit. Walk under the Lordship of Christ. Seek God. Meet with Him. Get to know Him for who He is. Share with His children. Meditate on His Word, the Bible. Listen to preaching from those who know and love Him.
Since faith is anchored in who God is then the best thing you can do for your faith is to meet with God. Remember that to know God is to love Him and to know God is to readily trust in Him.
In ‘Faith Factor 2′ I will show you that man does have a part to play. Then we can move on to activating faith for good outcomes.