Ephesians 2: 8 – For by grace you are saved through faith and that not of yourselves – it is the gift of God.
You exercised faith when you chose to accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
SO WHAT IS FAITH?
You find a definition in Hebrews 11: 1 –
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
So faith believes for something you can’t see or hasn’t yet happened. It is not wishful thinking but a complete trust in an unseen reality – a reality promised by God!
While faith and belief can sometimes be used interchangeably – faith is belief put into action!
For example – the woman with the issue of blood – she had a belief that Jesus could heal her – that belief became faith when she pushed her way through the crowd and actually touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. Jesus stops and speaks to her – “Daughter your faith has made you well” Mark 5: 34
Question: Is faith essential for salvation? – clearly YES! See also 1 Peter 1: 8 – 9
HOW DO WE GET FAITH?
The end of Romans 12:3 says that – God has allotted to each a measure of faith – it is a gift!
Read Romans 10: 17 – to find an additional way you get faith. When this verse says faith comes from hearing the word of God – it is referring to God’s rhema word – the words God speaks to you personally. Of course your faith will also grow when you take hold of the truth in the logos – God’s written word the Bible – compiled many years after Paul wrote his letter to the Romans.
HOW DOES FAITH WORK IN YOUR LIFE?
Check out the following Bible verses:
Hebrews 11: 6 – But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Romans 5: 1 – Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
2 Corinthians 5: 7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight
Ephesians 6: 16 – Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. (shield of faith is part of the armour of God – Ephesians 6: 10 -17)
These are just some of the many ways faith plays a role in your life.
HOW DOES FAITH AFFECT OUR PRAYERS?
Mark 11 : 22 – 24 – So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them.”
Note: Who you are to have faith in ? – GOD – for Whom nothing is impossible!
HOW CAN WE GROW OUR FAITH?
Ask God to Increase our faith – as the disciples asked Jesus in Luke 17: 5
Faith grows the more we know and understand the nature and character of God.
Faith grows as we exercise it – like a muscle our faith grows the more we use it.
Faith grows the more we know and claim the promises of God. All the promises of God are yes and amen! (2 Cor 1:20). Just as God is unchangeable in His nature and character so His promises are rock solid guarantees. Clearly we cannot claim God’s promises if we don’t know them!
Faith grows through testing – Just as we train up children step by step – so God gives us challenges to grow our faith step by step to the level we need to fulfil His call on our lives.
Faith grows through testimonies – Hearing stories about God’s work in the lives of others is a very powerful way to build up faith in our lives.
HINDRANCES TO OUR FAITH
Fear – The opposite of faith is fear. So stand on the truth of 1 John 4: 18 – God’s perfect love casts out fear!
Doubt – Read James 1: 6 – 7. Think: the more we know the truth of the Word and Jesus who is The Truth – the less likely we are to entertain doubt.
OUR FAITH – MOVES THE HEART OF GOD – AND DRAWS THE REALITY OF HEAVEN TO EARTH – SO THAT HE IS GLORIFIED !!
AN EXERCISE TO BUILD FAITH:
Consider the following statement in the context of faith:
I have learned not to confuse the facts with the Truth
Fact: a virgin cannot have a baby vs Truth: Jesus was born of a virgin – Mary
Fact: Leprosy cannot be cured vs Truth: Jesus healed many lepers completely
So now consider a possible scenario:
Fact: My bills are greater than my income vs Truth: What does the Bible promise?
See – Philippians 4: 19; Psalm 34: 9 – 10; Psalm 23: 1