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 2 – Man

“All things are possible to him who believes” – Jesus Christ, Mark 9:23

And that’s what makes faith such a vital and powerful component of Christianity. Faith is the most powerful force available to ordinary people in every generation.

By faith lives are transformed. By faith miracles are performed. By faith impossible obstacles are removed. By faith whole nations are impacted. By faith “all things are possible”!

So what is faith? How does it work? How do we get more of it? How can we build our faith, use it more freely and see more of its fruit in our lives?

I began answering these questions in part one of this series, explaining that faith is anchored in the person of God. Now it’s time to look at man’s part in this thing called faith.

Fusion of God and Man

I discussed the ‘faith fusion’ in part one, explaining that faith brings together multiple elements of Christianity into one powerful, explosive package. This fusion brings together two polarities of Christian thought; God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.

Anyone who has delved into theological studies has been confronted by the passionate debate and polarising nature of Calvinism versus Arminian thought. In simplistic terms, Calvinism places great emphasis on the sovereignty of God, while Arminianism recognises man’s responsibility.

Without getting caught in the vortex of the debate, allow me to point out that the very defining verse on faith creates a fusion of those two, supposedly competitive concepts. While Hebrews 11:6 clearly gives weight to the person and character of God, as seen in part one, it also gives clear place to the part that man plays as well.

“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

Man Believes

While God is all that He is and all that the Bible reveals Him to be, God’s almighty glory does not take effect in a person’s life until and unless that person believes. God is the ultimate and complete source of everything. But man must access God’s reality and grace, by man’s response to God. If man does not respond, then all the benefits of God’s reality, salvation, power and grace are lost to that person.

Unbelievers cannot engage faith. Faith is not a one-sided dynamic. Faith is anchored in who God is, but it is also activated by man’s response to the truth about God.

In fact, man is in a unique place to activate faith. We are told that the demons believe, but it does them no good. They believe “and tremble”.

“You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:19

Man, however, gets a powerful result from believing.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” John 1:12

Man Seeks

The key verse I am using to define faith (Hebrews 11:6) not only reveals that man believes, but it points to man also seeking God. Faith has confidence in God’s character to reward those who “diligently seek him“.

A person of faith becomes confident in who God is and that God’s character is to bless. That person becomes confident that seeking God brings positive outcomes and so they press in to Him, seeking Him and expecting Him to respond to their actions.

A person of faith has a high level of engagement in their relationship with God. They are not passively dependent on God, but actively pressing in to access the benefits which can only come from God. They are ‘actively’ dependent on God. God and man work in synergistic fusion to bring faith into play and to release the grace which God is keen to give.

So man has a double part to play. Man is not a pawn, nor a sidelined passenger in Christianity. Man must “live by faith”.

“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38

God and Man

Christianity is a ‘relationship’. God is our Father. We are His children. God and man work together and are bonded together in salvation and in the new relationship which springs from it.

Faith is the sweetest energising of the bond between God and man. It is the lynchpin of the relationship. It initiates the union and energises the on-going relationship. Faith is a team effort, engaging God and man in mutually satisfying cooperation for the fulfilment of God’s Kingdom.

So man cannot engage in faith outside of intimate relationship with God. Faith is an expression of that relationship, not something that man can activate independently of God.

Yet faith is offered to man to operate. It is like a father providing a car for his son. The car belongs to the father, but the keys are passed to the son. In the fullness of intimacy between God and man, man is able to operate with all of God’s resources.

Boldness in Faith

Faith, then, is something which people should enter into confidently. We are to come to God with boldness, because faith is something God is keen for us to engage in.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Fear of faith is out of place in Christianity. Christianity is a ‘faith’ which creates relationship, and it is relationship based on faith. Fear causes people to draw back, and drawing back is the opposite of faith.

Be encouraged that God wants you to step out in faith and to connect with Him in faith. He wants you to become completely confident in who He is and in His will to bless you, so that you will actively seek Him.

Be bold. Step into the presence of your holy God. Press in to know Him and to be knitted together with Him. As you do so you will be stepping into the arena of faith.

In ‘Faith Factor 3′ I will point out the imperative of faith.