Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Marginalizing Faith is not Pro-active

Marginalizing Faith is not Pro-active

“…Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us” Romans 12:3 (NLT).

As we discovered in the last Truth for the Journey, history only serves us well when we take stock of the truths gained throughout the ages. As we glimpse into times past particularly during the Churches’ brief history we can easily conclude that a general type of faith is by no means equal to the challenges that present themselves! We can discuss faith in very general terms by saying that ALL faith is supernatural and ALL faith is a gift from God.

Although faith as we know it has very specific elements, it has not been my endeavor in this particular Truth for the Journey to discuss the ins and outs of faith and all its particulars. Rather, my focus here is resting upon the realities of “living” by faith. Just the very word “living” poses the fact that it’s something we must do “everyday” – not dissimilar to breathing! In fact in order for us to “live- by-faith” effectively – it then must be as consistent as our breathing! Consider that!

Main-stream or “nominal-Christianity” would suggest that faith is something we just step “into” only when necessary or when a miracle is required. They focus on different “strengths” of faith opposed to looking at faith in terms of something we are meant to “live-by.” God never gave us our faith-equipment simply for “occasions and events” but for “life!” We must allow faith to have the priority it deserves in “everyday-life” or should I say “life-style?” And as our title above suggests; marginalizing faith is simply not pro-active, because we should never “trivialize” faith – ever!

Where the Old Testament told us that men would live by their “own” faith (Hab 2:4), Paul in the New Testament spoke of living not by his own faith but by the faith of the Son of God (Gal 2:20). So in the New Testament things changed a little where faith was concerned (except where the New quotes the Old!) Therefore it’s vital that we have a “revelation” about this that no longer does a great and arduous “onus” rest on our shoulders but rests on Christ! Simply because “our” faith is “feeble-stuff” and lacks terribly! Jesus recognized this in his own disciples, whom He referred to on more than one occasion as having “little faith,” sometimes asking them, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25; Matt 14:31; Matt 16:8).

This was not a compliment that Jesus was paying them and we can argue about the “size” of faith – like when Jesus spoke in Matthew 17: 20 about faith being as a mustard seed. But I will suggest to you that He was explaining - in natural terms - to natural men – who were still at that time limited in their understanding – about something that was supernatural. He was helping them to see that even when they try to “measure” the “God kind of faith” with natural limitations; it will still achieve mighty exploits because the God kind of faith is “limitless!”

Those who walk with God today have been given this kind of faith (the faith of God or the God kind of faith- as seen in Mk 11:22-24), which is given us by His Spirit, as it tells us in Romans 12:3, “…according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith...” and in 1Corinthians 12:9 “…faith by the same Spirit.”

When the Lord Himself ever gives something to us – we can be sure that it is totally complete – (not broken or missing anything) this includes the faith that He measured to us. I do not want to wade too deep into vague waters here by over generalizing a huge subject such as this, but I am intrigued by the lack of concept that many Christians have concerning the fact that they are meant to LIVE by faith.

If we just focus on the word LIVING we can safely conclude that our everyday experience should testify of our continual walking and living by the Holy Spirit and the Word; showcasing that our experience of God is a LIVING reality – not mere isolated incidences; opposed to a daily WALK. This is NOT LIVING BY FAITH but occasional experiences of faith only; usually brought on by necessity or emotion!

More to the point; we were neither designed nor hard-wired to do any exploits for God in our “own” strength much less live by our “own” faith. Likewise living out the fruits of the Spirit is not a test of our agility or spiritual prowess - dare we take the credit?!

“God wants yielded vessels and not golden ones…” was the time famous adage from the much loved Kathryn Khulman. How well she knew that no amount of (personal) talent could adequately prepare or equip her for the task God had placed in front of her. Therefore she chose a posture of perpetual preparedness – a lifestyle of unrelenting yieldedness and surrender! “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

ALL things pertaining to life have been bestowed on us – including the faith of the son of God. Not any old faith but specifically HIS faith. Scripture could not have been more specific! Would he really have gone to such lengths to give us His own blood yet spare us His faith…? I am convinced not!

We can choose to live by our own faith if we want to, in text book fashion (I call this textbook Christianity!), but treating the Bible like a technical manual only produces impersonal robots! However we know this thing is much more a LIVING PRACTICE than it ever was a THEORY only to be studied or agreed with! Sadly many Christians only ever offer “mental-assent” to their bibles; rather than stepping into its pages and allowing it to become a LIVING reality! Far be it that we just commit our lives to well told stories…!

So then, all considering history’s widest portals the greatest achievements were made by those who chose to allow faith to come upon them not just for the sake of occasion but chose to live by an unrelenting faith (for decades) securing victories and breakthroughs we still celebrate to this day.

True is the fact that even in his own strength, man has been able to achieve magnitudes! The tower of Babel is a testimony to that fact. As created beings we are able to co-create and with various levels of intelligence we have proven unquestionably ingenious! Nevertheless we have divine commission upon us and only a supernatural faith is capable of achieving this. I would like to go even further and suggest that no matter how collectively talented we may be; ONLY THE “FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD” CAN PERFORM THE VERY “WORKS OF GOD!”

According to faith teachers, the gift of faith defined in 1Cortinthians chapter twelve only “…comes upon us only at specific times for specific purposes, as a supernatural gift from God to receive miracles.” Dare I revise the point that ALL faith is supernatural and ALL faith is a gift from God? Not only did Paul tell us to live by the faith of God but also Mark 11:22 told us to have the GOD KIND OF FAITH.

The specifics of faith vary of course and are much broader than discussed here, along with the fact that the “GIFT” of faith as discussed by the many Faith preachers does “lift…” I still maintain that we must LIVE by the faith of the Son of God DAILY (is it any less supernatural or prepared?) with immersed lifestyle; not just for occasion!

Jesus’ faith was not just for “effect or occasion” either. It was not a three year road-show! Instead Jesus was ready IN SEASON AND OUT, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”

I will finish by concluding that although we live in this world, we are certainly not possessed by it! As finite being we have been given the right to operate successfully in both realms; the supernatural and the natural. However it is clear that only the GOD KIND OF FAITH can facilitate our success in “both.”

Our success in the Kingdom of God is measured primarily by our OBEDIENCE (Isaiah 1:19; Matthew 6:33) nevertheless any “success” that we might enjoy within the boundary of our heavenly commission (Mark 16: 15-18) can only be legitimate when LIVED OUT BY THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD. Then the credit is all HIS! So let us live synonymous with Paul’s timeless statement; “...the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).

Father thank you for giving me “the God kind of faith” because I need more than what I am alone – I want to be successful for You but more importantly successful “with” You. I know that my natural faith will eventually fail me, and is no substitute for the “faith of God.” I can only ever get so-far in my own ability and strength. This is why you said in Your Word, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD... ” (Zech 4:6 KJV) Therefore help me Father to honour Your Word by no longer looking to live by my own merits - strength, substance or wealth – but by Your Spirit and by Your faith – amen.

Today I declare that while my own faith is undependable - God’s faith in me has overcome the world! He always has the ability to do the impossible and everything about Him is limitless, including His-faith-in-me. Today I am living by the faith of the Son of God. Hallelujah!


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’

Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries


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