10: Living Faith

Posted: Thursday, May 29th, 2014
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About Faith Is Series

We must understand the power of faith, because what we believe is what blooms in our lives. This 12-part series lays bare the operational law of faith and how it affects us every day.

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ALL ABOUT FAITH

Faith is the central issue of life, the only issue. This material realm is ruled by faith not happenstance. Not by humankind. Not by power…but by faith. Faith in the right thing or faith in the wrong thing. Either way, faith draws the map of the future.

Your own life is a picture of what you believe.

All things come through the door opened by faith. It is the only key to the door of provision. Faith is all there is…and all you need. Faith is the only crisis of life. Catastrophe is not the crisis. The crisis is, the question is: do I believe God?

When Peter was about to be tempted to deny his Lord, Jesus said to him, “Peter, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Lk. 22:31). Jesus didn’t pray for strength, for integrity, for steadfastness. He didn’t pray for sight, understanding, wisdom nor even for holiness. He prayed simply…for faith. Only for faith. I wonder, is that the sole prayer Jesus prays for us since it is all we need?

Peter denied Jesus, three times and vehemently, not because he didn’t love Him. He did. Not because he didn’t follow Him. He did follow Jesus – with radical abandon. Peter fell because he failed to believe his own divine revelation that Jesus was the Son of God, Ruler, Creator, Master of all. And that he would rise up alive out of cruel death at the hand of evil humanity. Peter didn’t fail. His faith failed…therefore Peter failed.

You will live by what you believe. You will see what you believe by how you live. And you will live and die rotating around the radius of your beliefs. You are imprisoned to what you are sure of…or set free by the same. What you take in as Actually-True becomes the outer limit of your sight. That can be…near…or far. Huge or minuscule. All determined by the issue of faith.

Fear is the flashing light of your unbelief.

What you fear becomes the Seat of Power upon which you enthrone your god. Fear is not merely fear, humanly natural. Fear is a shipwreck of faith. The disciples on the stormy sea were afraid. Jesus did not chastise them for terror, for cowardice, but only for having such a small faith! The storm that rolled and flooded the ship was not the crisis. The crisis – and the test – was about their faith that they would reach the other side, because He who was God, had said so. “Let us go to the other side” (Lk. 8:22).

LIVE BY FAITH

Habakkuk lived in a scary crisis under Chaldean tyranny. But that wasn’t his real crisis. His shaking was a questioning of the power of his God. His faith was tested in the cauldron of real life misery.

When a Tyrant of Supremacy rules your very existence – your every step, your level of living, it can seem that his imprisoning is solid steel and that the only keys out, lie in the hand of one who cares only for your harm, and seeks your total crushing through enslavement. The seeming problem is the “person” who rules, and the situation gone berserk. No, the predicament is God-on-trial in the closed courtroom of your secret heart. GOD is the accused and you are the accuser. You are the judge and you are the jury. You are also the final verdict.

When the Lord God spoke to Habakkuk’s fear, He said something so staggering: “The righteous shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4). Live by faith. LIVE! To live is to exist by the power of faith, to obtain all things by faith, fulfill all needs with FAITH! Faith is then the means to everything! Everything!

God has put the realm of humankind under the limitations of faith so that we are either limited or liberated by what we believe about God. And God has confined Himself as well to the boundaries of our faith. The ruling principle in all of life is faith. And the righteous function in life – for practical survival – by faith in God.

Who is righteous? No one…  The verse says “righteous” – another translation is “just.” It actually could be written this way, “the morally right person shall live by faith.” Morally right – not “divinely holy, perfect.” Morally right is merely this: telling the blank truth, within your secret self and as well toward God. This rightness Habakkuk possessed. He knew he was doubting God in his mind. And he admitted it.

Habakkuk’s faith in enemy power rose and his faith in the character of God declined. And he was honorable enough to recognize that this was an emergency need to hear God sort it out. When God answered the man, Habakkuk transcended the national crisis, the practical emergency, and moved to the realm of Absolute Trust in God’s sovereign power and ultimate justice: “though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines… Yet will I exult in the Lord” (Hab. 3:17-19).

JESUS SEES OUR FAITH

Jesus measured people, not by their goodness, not by achievement, not by status. He weighed their faith. He probed the measure of faith and assessed that only. He responded, not to their knowledge nor to their sin, but to their faith. He praised great faith and lamented small faith. The Canaanite mother seemed to hear a ‘no’ from Jesus and she would not be denied. He provoked her to faith and then commended her as having outstanding faith (Mt. 15:24-26). She pursued. She insisted, she even demanded—and He counted that as faith, great faith.

Faith is the coin of the kingdom, it’s been said. God gives you what you believe He gives you, not what He gives you. Only what you believe He gives you. It is up to you. Not God. To the woman who touched the hem of His robe, Jesus declared, “Daughter, take courage, your faith has made you well” (Mt. 9:22). Your FAITH – not His power only, not His willingness – YOUR faith has made you well.

The two blind men followed Jesus and cried out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” Jesus questioned precisely their beliefs. “’Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘It shall be done to you according to your faith’” (Mt. 9:27; Mk. 5:28-34).

To take your need to Jesus is faith. Simply by that direction, you show you believe He is the source. To cry out to Him unashamedly as Blind Bartemaes is wonderful faith that is answered. To believe that He is ABLE, is good faith. This brought Jesus’ response to the leper. To believe that He MUST…as the Canaanite woman, that is faith that cannot be denied! To believe that He surely WILL…as the Centurion, this is faith that thrills Jesus!

JESUS LIVED BY FAITH

Though Jesus saw Peter’s coming denial, He had faith for Peter’s ultimate restoration. He had seen what was coming by His Father’s unveiling and He had prayed it through to the “victory” of Peter’s encouragement to his brothers out of his very failure in faith. “And you, when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31).

Jesus slept during the storm of the disciples’ emergency. They attacked Him for failing to care that they were perishing. They believed in the storm, in death, in Jesus’ indifference. So…they did not believe the Son of God.

But His Father had directed Him to the other side of Galilee and Jesus suffered no doubt about their arrival. No storm, however severe, amounted to a crisis that could drown His Father’s directive. What His Father commissioned, Jesus’ faith accepted. And the cross, He endured for the joy set before Him (Heb. 12:2).

Jesus saw the Destination and so could endure the Journey.

Copyright © 2000 Martha Kilpatrick, Faith Is

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