Faith Factor 13 – Seek Him

This series has been building your faith and directing its effective operation, so you can enjoy the awesome things which God has prepared for you. I have shown you that faith is the very substance of things which you believe for, and that God has a storehouse of Grace, filled with unbelievably good things already prepared for you.

I have shown you that faith is the key to that wonderful storehouse and that you are to speak the word of faith to match what you believe in your heart, which is in line with God’s Word.

I have shown you that God is blessed when you step out in faith because your faith pleases Him. And, since it is God’s good pleasure to give you things, and your reaching out for them pleases Him, you can create Double Delight for the Lord by stepping out in faith.

The Focal Point

Where some faith preachers derail their followers is that they become so excited about what faith can achieve in a believer’s life that they fall into one of several traps. One distraction is to become excited about faith, for faith’s sake, putting faith on a pedestal and putting faith in their faith. I have spoken out against this several times already.

Another trap is that covetousness creeps in and the believers begin to think about what they can get out of God, through exercising their faith. This leads into the “prosperity gospel” and “blab it and grab it” mentality which has developed in some places.

Covetousness is an expression of self-focus, rather than focus on God. If you are concerned about what you can get for yourself, then you are not living your life sacrificially for God’s glory.

I need you to see again that God is the absolute and ultimate focal point of our faith. We are not to become distracted by faith or by what we can get by using faith. We are to remain totally committed to and devoted in service to God.

It’s About Seeking Him

Let me take you back to the definitional verse I use as the basis for this study series. It is Hebrews 11:6, from which we discover that faith pleases God and that faith is the combination of believing that God “can” and that God “will” bless 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

Notice those words highlighted there. God is a rewarder of those who “seek Him”. Faith works when we are not seeing faith or the goodies faith can bring into our lives, but when we are seeking God!

Seek Him, or you will end up seeking the faith to get the outcomes you want. It’s about Him, not You!

It’s All About HIM

Do not seek the outcome which faith can open to you. Do not seek your own personal advancement or aggrandizement. Do not seek to finally prove yourself, get the things you have always wanted, set yourself up for life, or any other self-interested outcome.

Seek Him and Him only. Your “reward” is not found in the material outcome, but in Him.

While your heart might seek wealth, security and comfort, think about this. If you get some material advancement, but miss out on getting God, you have come up empty. The material advantage will slip away, and you will be left with nothing.

If you are seeking “Him” then you will have the most wonderful riches of all. You will be blessed with “all spiritual blessings” in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3).

He is our life. He is the prize beyond all prizes and the treasure beyond all treasures.

Renounce that Covetousness

If God is not enough for you, then you will die miserable. If God is not a reward in your life, then how can mere material things satisfy you? Your heart is deceptive and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and it lies to you that material goods, relief from financial pressure, and similar outcomes are worth more to you than intimate relationship with God. Eve sought something more than her awesome place of personal fellowship with God, and she lost God’s presence, without getting anything of what she hoped to gain.

If you resonate with that, then realise that you have a covetous heart. You have allowed lust and covetousness to wheedle their way into your heart and they are now demanding something other than what God’s Spirit is longing for from within you.

Renounce that Covetousness and clean up your heart. Do not chase that which does not satisfy (Isaiah 55:2). Do you consume the years of your life chasing an illusion. Seek God. Find the treasure that is beyond any attempt to value it.

God is the Reward

God told Abraham that He, God, is a reward of immense proportions.

“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am your shield, and your exceeding great reward.” Genesis 15:1

Having God in your life is amazingly rewarding. He is the reward in Himself. If you had a life filled with vain distractions, indulgence and all that your heart could desire, there is no guarantee that you could even sleep at night. Many of those who have the things you are tempted to covet live in fear, torment, shame, emptiness and regret.

Material rewards do not have any of the rich value of spiritual blessings.

Lean Soul

Covetousness will create a famine on the inside of you. When you long for “things” you bring trouble upon yourself and your inner life shrivels up. The love of money is a root of all evil (1Timothy 6:10). Those who are keen to become rich pierce themselves through with many pains (1Timothy 6:9).

“But they that will to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1Timothy 6:9,10

When the Israelites longed for the things their soul craved, they demanded it from God. God gave them what they wanted, even though it was not good for them. The result was that the people’s soul’s shrivelled and became “lean”.

“They soon forgot his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:13-15

If you take faith as a spiritual tool you can use to get what you want you will be sending a famine into your soul. Seek God, or end up empty and filled with regret.

Distracted by Him

Rather than being distracted from your spiritual life because of things which you lust for, it is far better to be distracted by God from your material life. Seek God. If you do not have it in you to seek God, then seek to have the will to seek Him.

You could even pray a prayer like this, ….

“Lord God, I know I should be seeking you, but I can’t get excited about doing that. I want to value you above everything else, but I am distracted by things which my heart lusts after. I ask You to invade my life and arrest my senses. Bring me to the place where I long only for You and can find all my fulfilment and blessing in being totally distracted by You. Please come and rescue me from the weakness and failure of my own human heart. I ask this in Jesus’ wonderful and powerful name, Amen”.

Faith Factor 12 – Double Delight

We saw in Faith Factor 3 that our faith “pleases” God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Therefore only faith pleases God. That sets up a situation where faith becomes the “Double Delight”, and so that is my theme in this lesson.

Faith Pleases God

We know that faith pleases God, and we saw in lesson 4 that it is “Only Faith” that does the job. When you choose to put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord, God is pleased. When you step out in faith and rely on God, God is pleased.

When you do anything without faith being part of it, God is not pleased.

“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

In fact, if you are not engaging faith you are in sin!

“And he that doubts is damned if he eat, because he eats not in faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Romans 14:23

No wonder, then, that Christians must have a complete lifestyle of faith; living by faith, because only faith pleases God.

“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 Not Results

We have a tendency to evaluate faith based on the “results” it produces. If we hear of someone who believed God for great things and those things came to pass we ascribe them as possessing “great faith”. Yet if another person steps out to believe God for great things and those things do not come to pass we see the person as foolish, irresponsible and lacking in faith.

Now, that tendency which humans fall into so easily is against what God thinks. God’s ways are higher than ours and we should always be ready to give up our natural thinking, since it will likely be far below God’s best.

Hebrews 11, the chapter listing the Heroes of Faith, not only lists people who achieved great exploits, but also those who seem to fail miserably. The early verses speak of Noah, the patriarchs and Moses. Then the list includes great achievers such as Samson and David. Great exploits are listed.

However, before the chapter ends mention is made, with equal respect, to people who suffered terribly and new saw some great breakthrough.

“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented” Hebrews 11:36,37

Celebrating Faith

We are ready to celebrate results, but God celebrates faith. It is “faith” that delights God, not might, money, muscle or mission accomplished.

God was delighted with those who were tortured or cut in two. God did not see them as ‘losers’ who couldn’t get the victory, but as ‘winners’ who brought delight to Him, by their faith.

And that’s a real turn-around for many Christians. Some of the people we look down on as having failed in their faith venture are included in God’s list of modern-day faith heroes. Some of those who made newspaper headlines and whose names have been mocked for their failed attempt to achieve for God are actually celebrated in heaven, while we have not yet made an impression there.

Did Moses Fail?

I always saw Moses fleeing from Egypt as a real loser. I have heard preachers heap scorn on Moses for trying to help the Israelites in his human strength and then falling flat on his face. Moses’ flight from Egypt is seen as a symbol of failed humanity.

Moses killed an Egyptian, but was then rejected by an Israelite who was fighting with his brother. As a result Moses feared and Moses fled.

“And he said, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.” Exodus 2:14-15

That sure looks like “failure” to me. And that’s how I always thought of it, not noticing what Hebrews 11 said about it, until many years later, despite reading it several times.

Moses the Faith Hero

Moses is not only listed among the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews 11, he is specifically commended for the very act of running away. What looks like failure from human perspective turns out to be a delight to God, from God’s perspective.

By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:24-27

If Moses can look like a failure to human eyes and yet be recorded in Heaven as a hero, then how many other people who we think of as failures have brought delight to God’s heart?

Faith Brings Delight

Our faith, and only our faith, brings delight to God. We don’t have to win or get the breakthrough to have pleased God. It is the faith, not the outcome, that is important.

God looks at the heart, not the record books. When God sees faith in the heart God is delighted. The person may stumble and fall, fail at their attempt, make a mess, offend others who despise their actions and failure, or whatever, but God will still be delighted with the faith that was in their heart.

I talked with a stranger on a plane many years ago who turned out to be the son of a pastor who stepped out to achieve something for God. The venture failed and the man was so shamed and attacked that he left the ministry. The son felt a need to apologise for his father’s actions. But I wonder if God might see that man’s venture entirely differently to how the newspapers saw it.

A Second Delight

We know that our faith brings a delight to God.

So where is the second delight? How do I come up with a “Double Delight”?

When you reach into God’s Storehouse of Grace and apprehend anything that God has for you in there, including, as Paul did, apprehending that for which you were apprehended (Philippians 3:12), God is delighted. So, what about another level of delight?

Daddy’s Delight

The second delight is the delight of God’s Father heart in giving good things to His children.

Parents enjoy blessing their children and God is no different. God gives good gifts to His children. He will give them better things than earthly fathers give to their children.

Look for the ideas of “father” and “pleasure” in this statement made by Jesus Christ …

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

Wow! God gets a great delight out of giving things to His children!

And look here at an Old Testament statement about the delight God gets in giving…

“Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” Psalm 35:27

King David was confident that God enjoyed blessing His children.

God is delighted to give.

Double or Nothing

Every time you reach into God’s Storehouse of Grace to take hold of what God has already prepared for you and placed in there, you have to use faith. That faith pleases God. It brings Him delight.

But at the same time you are receiving from Him, as His child, the very things He is delighted to give you as your Heavenly Father.

When you ask in faith for what God is delighted to give, there is Double Delight. God enjoys your act of faith and God enjoys being able to give you what He always wanted you to have.

Delightful Faith

Let me recap the Double Delight, so you can see how delightful faith is to God.

God is delighted to give.

When we ask in faith God is also delighted.

So when we ask in faith for what God is delighted to give, there is Double Delight.

You can put two smiles on God’s face at the same time!

So, let’s do it!

Faith Factor 7 – Measuring

My faith mentor has been Moses. As a young, single man I found great inspiration in the example of Moses as the man of faith who trusted God when all the people in his care gave in to panic.

What I love about Moses is his ability to get a reward from God by his action of measuring something out from God’s supply. I call Moses my “Measuring Mentor”. He shows me how to measure out things from God: how to take hold of what God has to give and to bring it into reality.

I will explain the significance of this by first giving a Biblical basis for “measuring” then showing you how the nation of Israel failed to trust God. I will then contrast the example of the Children of Israel with the response that came from the heart of their leader, Moses. I trust by then that you will see what a powerful example Moses is.

What is Measuring?

I have shown you that God has a Storehouse of Grace which contains all the blessings we will ever need through all eternity. That Storehouse is filled with things which Jesus purchased for us. The key to the door of the Storehouse is faith.

Measuring, then, is the process of believing for the things which we are confident that God has for us in His Storehouse of Grace. Measuring is a term to describe putting in your order at the store. It is the process of determining what we can expect to get delivered to us.

If we have a tiny cup as our measure, then we will measure out tiny quantities. If we have a bucket, we will measure out more. If we expect God to get us through then we are measuring out the result of “getting through”. If we expect God to give us abundance, then we are measuring out abundance.

Biblical Measures

God takes “measures” seriously. His laws condemn the use of inaccurate scales. And God also warns that our decision about how we measure things will have direct impact on what is measured to us.

“For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged: and with what measure you measure out to others, it will be measured out to you again.” Matthew 7:2

“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, men will give into your bosom. For with the same measure you measure out with it will be measured back to you again.” Luke 6:38

Faith involves that process of deciding what we will measure out from God’s Storehouse. If we measure out little or much the outcome is decided by our faith.

Taking Hold

Measuring is part of that process of taking hold. While holding on, which we saw in an earlier lesson, enables us to hang in there, ‘taking hold’ encourages us to reach out and take possession of what we want to receive from God.

Jesus Christ taught us to choose what we would take hold of, in His simple instruction to us to “ask”.

Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7,8

When you ask God for anything you are in fact taking hold of it. You are measuring it out for yourself. However, the degree to which you really believe God will give it is the level of your faith.

Faith Storms Heaven

Jesus spoke of people who pressed in to take possession of what God had for them. The Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus said, was stormed and taken possession of by those who were “violent”, or determined to have the blessings.

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12

Those who are bold in faith will take hold of the benefits of God’s Kingdom. The Roman Centurion mentioned in Matthew 8:10 is an example of a man who expected to receive a miracle from God.

Faith Creates Substance

The Faith Chapter (Hebrews 11) starts with the statement that faith takes the place or substance and evidence. Faith becomes the proof of the outcome, to the person who has that faith.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith acts as if the reality has already arrived. It does not wait for other evidence, since faith itself acts as the substance and evidence that is needed.

Faith is “Now”

Did you notice in that previous verse that faith operates in the “now”? Faith is not a hope for something tomorrow. Faith has a very present potency about it. Faith takes possession of God’s blessings in the here and now.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith operates in the “NOW”, not in the hope-so future. Faith steps out with the confidence that the substance is real in the here and now!

Israel’s Failure

The nation of Israel failed to have a faith that expected good things from God. With each new challenge they faced as they left Egypt and went into the wilderness caused them to panic, react and show that they did not trust God. All the miracles they had seen did not convince them that they could and should trust God. Israel is described in Psalm 78 in quite disparaging terms.

“…. a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.” Psalm 78:8

“They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law, And forgot his works, and his wonders that he had shown them.” Psalm 78:10,11

Israel provoked the Most High God, tempted God, spoke against God, did not believe in God and did not trust in His salvation (Psalm 78:17-19, 22). Then they did not believe His wondrous works, were not steadfast in His covenant, provoked and grieved Him, tempted God and did not keep His testimonies (Psalm 78:32,37,40,56).

As a result of this refusal to have faith in God, Israel missed much of what God had for them. Psalm 81 gives some insight into what Israel failed to receive from God.

“So I gave them up to their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” Psalm 81:12

“He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied you.” Psalm 81:16

Israel experienced the miracle of water out of the rock, but that was less than God wanted to give them.

A further note about how they missed God’s best comes from Psalm 106.

“And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:15

Moses the Measuring Mentor

While Israel measured out from God much less than He wanted to give them, failing to trust in God’s salvation and blessing, Moses, on the other hand, measured out God’s best. Moses remained strong in faith that God would come through and win the day.

At the Red Sea crossing, the Children of Israel panicked, but Moses declared that God would deliver them, even before God told Moses how the problem would be solved.

“And Moses said to the people, Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom you have seen to day, you will see them again no more for ever. The LORD will fight for you, and you will hold your peace. And the LORD said to Moses, Why do you cry to me? Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward” Exodus 14:13-15

See that progression. Moses spoke words of faith in God even before God spoke. A person of great faith will be bold to measure out God’s best, rather than think that God has abandoned them.

Moses Spoke Blessing into Existence

Further evidence of Moses as one who ‘measures’ blessing out from God’s Storehouse is found in Exodus 16. In this situation the people had no food or water. They complained and could not anticipate that God would do a miracle of supply for them. Moses, however, not only had confidence in God’s miraculous power, he presumed upon God’s ability, promising the Israelites more than God said He would give.

God spoke to Moses and promised to give the people bread in the morning. But when Moses spoke to the people, Moses promised them flesh in the evening and then bread in the morning. God was not offended by Moses’ display of confidence. Instead, God changed His own instruction to Moses to include the flesh, which Moses had spoken into existence.

“Then said the LORD to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you …” Exodus 16:4

And Moses said, The LORD will give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full…” Exodus 16:8

“And the LORD spake to Moses, saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak to them, saying, At evening you will eat flesh, and in the morning you will be filled with bread; and you will know that I am the LORD your God.” Exodus 16:11,12

What Moses Did

At the Red Sea, Moses believed in what God had said – despite the natural evidence. Moses Held On in faith. Moses Claimed the Blessing. Moses Measured Out the Victory. Moses Took Hold of the Promises. Moses spoke as one who already had the victory. Moses had the Substance in his heart!

When God promised bread, Moses was so confident in God’s awesome power and love that he stepped beyond what God had said, in promising meat when God had only promised bread.

God honoured Moses’ faith and backed up what Moses had said. Moses Measured out MORE than God had said, and God delivered.

Measure for Yourself

Every time you choose to believe that God can and will come through for you, you are “measuring” something out from God’s Storehouse of Grace. Expecting that God’s blessing is there for you is the same thing. Making a claim, asking, seeking and knocking, storming heaven, laying claim, possessing the blessing – are all ways of describing the faith process of accessing what God has already prepared for us in Heaven.

So, go ahead and do some more “measuring”. God has prepared wonderful things for you. He is pleased by your faith to reach out to receive. So, call upon Him. Claim His blessings. Take hold of all He has for you.

Faith Factor 6 – Reward in the Storehouse

People of faith expect a reward. Now, that probably sounds irreligious to you. There is a religious notion in Christianity which celebrates self-sacrifice and despises expectation of reward. In most people’s religious thinking it is noble to give things up and evil to ask for things.

Yet the Bible is rich with instructions and examples of asking. Jesus Christ taught us to “Ask and you will receive”. Jabez asked and was given what he asked for. Gideon asked for proof and God gave it. Jesus said that God will give us what we ask for, just like a loving father does to his children.

And the Bible goes even further, explaining that there is a positive result from some spiritual actions, including the receiving of a benefit or reward. What we sow produces the crop you should expect from the seed. That means we get a result directly commensurate with our actions. “Give and it will be given to you”, said Jesus.

If you have a problem with the idea that Christians get a benefit from obeying God’s commands, then “Get Over It!” Our faith produces positive results, including our forgiveness and salvation. If you don’t believe that then you don’t have faith at all!

Faith Produces Results

The great “faith” chapter of Hebrews 11 speaks about many who were ‘faithful’ to God in the face of challenges. But it also talks of those who produced results by their faith. That’s because faith does produce results. Those results could be called benefits or rewards, but they are results none-the-less.

The “elders obtained”, “Sara received strength to conceive seed” and others “through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.”

Now, these are all Old Testament examples quoted in the New Testament. So, what about some New Testament examples? There is the lady who pressed through the crowd to touch Jesus, to whom Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole” (Matthew 9:22). There was a blind man to whom Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole” (Mark 10:52). There was a leper to whom Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole” (Luke 17:19). And there were two blind men to whom Jesus said, “According to your faith be it unto you”, and then He healed them (Matthew 9:29).

Faith Expects Reward

Not only is it wrong theology to shun a positive result from our faith, it is also a total destruction of faith itself. Those who think you should not expect a result from your believing actually have no faith.

How can I assert such a religiously abhorrent thing? I do so because of what the Bible teaches about faith. Let me take you to the basic definitional verse about faith which I have used throughout this series of lessons, Hebrews 11:6.

“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

The very definition of faith includes the idea that God is a rewarder by His own character and nature, and the idea that God will reward those who press in to Him. Faith, by definition, includes the belief that God responds to man’s dependence on Him. It involves expectation of a divine reward in the human experience, when man puts his trust in God.

So faith expects a reward. If it does not expect a reward it is not faith!

Blab It and Grab It!

Now, I fully understand that the faith message has been abused. I have met people who teach and others who believe that we can use faith as a power tool to manipulate God and get for ourselves things that we covetously desire.

I know that all such thinking is an abuse of the truth. I know that whole churches have succumbed to such wrong thinking. I know that “faith churches” and “faith preaching” have been way out of line at times. I know all of that. But the errors do not destroy the truth.

The error of Jehovah’s Witness teaching does not negate the reality of God as Jehovah. Mary worship among some Catholics does not remove Mary from her place in history. Extreme holiness does not remove our obligation to live holy lives. And so too, abuses of the faith message do not negate what the Bible teaches about faith and how we are to live by it.

So, don’t turn off to the Bible just because it awakens your fears or offences about what some others have done. Grow up! Get past determining your spiritual journey as a reaction to other people’s mistakes. Walk with God. Cling to His Word. Live by His truth. Navigate by the Holy Spirit’s guidance. And if “faith” preaching has offended you, then let me suggest what I mentioned earlier: “Get over it!”

Faith Geography

Let me describe for you the geography of your blessing and rewards.

Everything we can expect from God comes to us by the sacrifice of Jesus. Everything He gave up for us is now put in a storehouse of grace, for us to receive. He became poor that we might become rich, 2Corinthians 8:9. He left heaven, and we get to go there. He became human so we could become divine. His body was beaten and damaged so our bodies could be healed, 1Peter 2:24.

Everything you need from now to the end of eternity has already been purchased for us in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Therefore it is stored up for us in a storehouse, which is geographically situated at God’s right hand.

“You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11

Interestingly, Jesus is situated at God’s right hand too.

“For David himself said by the Holy Spirit, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.” Mark 12:36

“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” Hebrews 10:12

The Storehouse of Grace

That place at God’s right hand where all our “pleasures” are, which will suffice us “for evermore”, is what I call the “Storehouse of Grace”. Everything that is in there is “grace”. It is undeserved by us and only comes to us through faith.

So, there is a Storehouse, called the Storehouse of Grace. And the key to the door of that storehouse is the key of “faith”.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8

Salvation is the supply of all the things we need until the end of eternity. It is “grace”. And it is accessed “through faith”. We gain grace, which is the stuff in God’s storehouse of grace, at God’s right hand, only by using “faith” as the key to open the door.

That storehouse contains all the salvation, miracles and healings needed for everyone in all of human history. But most people will not use faith to open the door and release to themselves the blessings which have already been paid for and put in the storehouse, through the sacrifice of Jesus.

The Sheer Abundance

God’s storehouse of grace is jam packed with far more blessings than you will ever comprehend. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on your behalf bought for you far more than you could ever access in one lifetime. God did not skimp on His provisions for you. He is a God of abundance and He provided absolutely abundantly for you, when He sent Jesus to die for you.

Have a look at a couple of scriptures which give a sense for this abundance.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

“But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” 1Corinthians 2:9

There is so much in God’s storehouse with your name on it, waiting for you to claim it, that it is going to take God the whole of eternity to show you what you missed out on claiming during your short stay on planet earth.

“That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7

Faith Gets the Reward

Faith opens the door to that awesome storehouse. Faith in God does it. Your confident trust in God allows you to be led by Him to do the exploits He has created you to do. In the process of stepping into the miraculous dimension He has planned for you there will be some awesome challenges. But God has already prepared the miracles for you and put your name on the package, waiting for you to claim it.

If you do not step out in faith, then you will never need the package and it will be there for you at the end of your life. During eternity God will make a grand display of all those amazing presents waiting to be claimed by His children, but which they failed to reach out for.

If you are crazy enough to believe God and to do the asking, seeking and knocking which Jesus spoke about, then you will get the rewards. If you can bring yourself to “live by faith”, rather than just camp on the memory of a past moment of faith, then you too will get some of those amazing rewards.

That’s why the life of faith is so amazing and so exhilarating. It opens up to us the miracle dimension in which Jesus lived and which the Apostle Paul followed him in. So, let’s be followers of Christ and Paul and step into the faith dimension where the power of God has already been prepared for us to enjoy.

Faith Factor 5 – Holding On

Understanding faith can be achieved by various approaches. One thing might quicken your faith now, and yet a completely different thought may prompt your faith on another occasion. In fact, faith, simple as it is, is spiritual, and therefore profoundly complex. Different things will inspire faith at different times.

With that thought in mind I am sharing various Faith Factors with you, to provide various angles from which to view and understand faith. You may well find that see God for who He is quickens your faith on one occasion, while discovering your part in faith may excite your faith on another occasion.

So, here is another Faith Factor which I find important in my application of Christian faith. It is the process of Holding On.

Pressing Through

Faith is persistent. It takes a stand, based on who God is and what He asks of us and it maintains a dogged persistence. This is what I call Holding On. But it could equally be called Pressing Through.

Faith claims God’s promises. Faith apprehends what God has for us. Faith presses in and pushes on. It is determined to claim the prize. It will not take “No” for an answer. It maintains course and defies all challenges to the stand it takes.

Now, to be realistic, there are many times when people’s faith does not maintain such heights of victorious persistence. We can all be ‘weak in faith’ and cry out the Lord in despair, rather than expectancy. Thankfully and wonderfully God comes through for us, even when we are falling in a heap.

Think of the disciples in the boat, desperately afraid they will die. Their fear and panic did not stop them receiving a miracle. Think of Gideon’s inability to believe what the angel of God told him about his ability to win a victory. Yet God continued to uphold him, bearing with his insecurity, until the fearful one had won a great victory.

Yet, for all that, there is a wonderful aspect of faith that is victorious, persistent, unconquerable and soul stirring.

Faith in Action

Faith is seen in the actions of the one who holds it. We are told by the Apostle James that “faith without works is dead”, James 2:20.

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

When faith is present there will be some resultant actions which attest to it being there. Faith itself becomes the evidence and substance of what is believed for.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith is therefore best seen when a person purposes to believe in unseen substance and then acts accordingly.

The Action of Resting

When I talk about faith being linked to action, or faith being seen in the ‘works’ of one who believes, I do not want you to think only of busy activity. One of the most powerful actions of a man of faith is ‘rest’.

In the face of fear people become agitated. They may engage in busy work. They may tend to talk a lot, fidget, run to and fro looking for help, and so on. In such a case the act of ‘resting’ is a powerful testimony to a person’s faith.

Hebrews 3 and 4 address this factor of ‘rest’ as a result of faith. Those who do not trust God are not able to enter into rest. Those who trust God cease their own labours, relying on God to do what man cannot do. This does not mean inactivity, but it does mean the cessation of futile human energy thrown at some problem.

“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?” Hebrews 3:18

“For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” Hebrews 4:3

“For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:10,11

The Action of Rejoicing

Another work of faith which I love to see is the rejoicing of one who is confident in God. If you knew that God had solved your problem you would break into rejoicing, song, praise and worship.

Coming to a place of confident celebration in the outcome, before the outcome has become visible is a ‘work’ of faith. Because, by faith, you have the ‘substance’ of what you are believing for, even before the answer has arrived, you now not only rest, but you rejoice. What joy it is to be confident that God has solved the problem and met every need!

Don’t Give In

I am reminded of an occasion before I was married when I faced a faith challenge to hold on and press through in faith. I was working using an oxy-torch to melt brass in a metal fabrication process. I was manufacturing hundreds of pieces and my protective gloves developed holes over time.

I accidentally turned the naked flame onto my exposed thumb and burned it badly. In agonising pain I hastily turned off the flame, pulled off the glove and pressed my good hand onto the burnt thumb, praying madly for protection.

I had heard many testimonies of God’s healing power in response to prayer and I prayed keenly, knowing that I was badly burned and desperately needed healing. The workshop in which I was working was empty at the time. After my initial cries of pain and desperate prayer, I headed across the open factory floor, toward the foreman’s office. I knew that there was a special burn spray in the office which I could put onto my thumb.

Half way across the factory I was pulled up by a thought. I realised that if I had prayed in faith and believed God to heal me, then I would not need to use the spray. However, my thumb still pained badly. I lifted my hand to look at the thumb and its skin was burned brown. I was in a dilemma. I wanted to act in faith, but I also wanted my thumb to have the best chance of recovery. Faith said, “You have prayed, now leave it to God and expect His good work”. Realism said, “Your thumb is very badly burned. You need to get it attended to.”

I was caught between those two opinions for quite a while. Then I decided that I would rather act in faith and please God, than to throw my faith away, just because of my pain. I turned and went back to my work bench. I gingerly pulled on the stiff, worn gloves, re-lit the torch, and went back to work.

The heat of the torch made my thumb pain even more. I had to work slowly, because of how sensitive my skin was. But I felt good about having chosen to act in faith.

Over the next hour the pain subsided and I just got on with my work. By the end of the day the brown burn had subsided to a small area in the middle of the thumb. By the next morning there was hardly a sign that my thumb had been burned at all. I was healed, beyond all reason. I had chosen well to hold on in faith.

Heroes of Faith

Hebrews 11 records some heroes of faith who suffered torture. They were heroes of faith because they held on to their believing. They would not be dissuaded, even by the threat of death or torture.

While we all love the accounts of faith that wins out in the end, it is not the outcome that is important to God, but the faith that is expressed in willingness to press through.

Remember the three Jewish boys in Nebuchadnezzar’s court who refused to bow to his idol. They were threatened with death in the fiery furnace. They declared their confidence that God would deliver them, but they added that even if He did not save them they would not bow.

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:17,18

Hang in There

Faith survives the many challenges which are thrown up against it. Faith finds rest when others are afraid. Faith delights in outcomes which have not yet occurred. Faith praises God for His deliverance, while the battle is still raging.

Faith hums a song of happy expectancy, while others wring their hands in anxiety.

So, hang in there. Press through in faith. Determine to trust God, even if it appears that all is lost.

Remember that God is pleased to see you faith. God will be delighted with you, no matter how things work out in the natural circumstances. Hang in there and bring a smile to God’s face by your determination to trust Him, no matter what.