Faith is a very large subject and we can write volumes on this subject. I want to briefly share this with you and hopefully give you an understanding of how faith works and how to apply the principles of faith to your own situations.
First of all we must realize that faith is the language of God. Paul said, we believe, therefore, we speak.” (2 Corinthians 4:13) God responds to our faith and not necessary to our needs. Therefore, if we do not exercise faith, His hands are “tied” and He can’t meet our needs. If we want God to answer our prayers, we must add the element of faith, or else our prayers will be powerless and meaningless. It is possible to ask and ask, and receive nothing.
We must ask in faith! Jesus said, “Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24) In the world, resources are moved by needs, but in the Kingdom of God resources are only moved by faith. It is therefore our responsibility to use our faith in order to change our circumstances. We are not blessed just because we are holy and obedient, but we are blessed because we believe!
To begin this study, we must realize that faith stands on two very important pillars:
First of all, faith is always in the past tense:
It is based on what God has done and not what He will do. Therefore, it is important to receive by faith that what He has already given to us.
For example: 1 Peter 2:24 says, “By His stripes we were healed.” Jesus is not healing people today. He already healed us 2000 years ago! His last words on the cross were, “It is finished.” In the Greek this means, “The price has been paid in full.” Jesus’ redemptive work is complete and He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. It is therefore, our responsibility to receive by faith, the healing that He has already given to us when He died for us on the cross and rose from the dead.
In 1 John 2:2 we read, “And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” He has already given salvation to everyone. However, not everyone will receive His salvation. In Ephesians 1:3, we read that “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.” He has already blessed us 2000 years ago. We receive by faith that what He has already done. Colossians 1:13 says, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” That is why we do not have to fight the devil to gain the victory, but stand in the victory that Jesus has already given to us. (Ephesians 6:3) It is therefore, foolishness to ask God to give us something that He has already given to us. Unfortunately, many are waiting for God to do something, instead of receiving by faith that what He has already done.
Furthermore, when it comes to prayer, Jesus said in Mark 11:24. “Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” The original Greek says, “believe that you have already received it!” The moment we have prayed, we must believe that God has already answered our prayer.
Secondly: God places our resources in the invisible spirit world:
Hebrews 11:1says, “Now faith is…, the evidence of things not seen.” In verse 3 we read, “… the things which are seen were not made from the things that are visible.” When God created the world through faith, He transferred that which already existed in the invisible spirit world, into the world that we can now see. He did so by declaring His word, “let there be light…” etc.
The Bible says that, “God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places, in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) Notice that our blessings are located in heavenly places, in world that we cannot see. Therefore, all we need to do is to transfer these by faith, into “our world” and make it our experience. In Matthew 6:10 Jesus taught us to pray by saying “Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In other words, that which is in heaven, in a world that we cannot see, must now take place on earth! We can therefore, experience the life of heaven right now on earth, through the steps of faith we take.
Therefore, if we do not see the answer, it does not mean that we have not received the answer. Often, God places our answers in the unseen spirit world. Therefore we need to use our faith and transfer our answers or miracles out of that world, into our natural worlds and make it our experience. For example Jesus said in Matthew 7:8, “Whoever, asks receives.” We must believe that if we ask according to the will of God, we do receive the answers even if we do not immediately see the results!
How to exercise faith
How do we exercise faith to receive that which God has already given to us and that which is locate in the unseen spirit world?
Firstly, faith works through the words that we confess and proclaim:
We read in Proverbs 18:21, “The power of life and death are in the tongue, and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” When we declare God’s words and His will, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, we transfer God’s resources from the invisible spirit world into the world that we can see. When Jesus, taught us to pray in Matthew 6:10, He said “Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The original Greek says, “Come kingdom of God, be done will of God on earth as it is in heaven!” This is a command and not simply a request! It is the same way that God created the heavens and the earth. We read in Genesis that He declared His word with authority and said. “Let there be light... etc.” In the same way, we can receive our answers; change our circumstances, by the words we profess and decree.
Jesus was teaching about faith when He said, “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 that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” (Mark 11:23) Notice, we do not receive only by what we believe, but by what we believe and we say! Therefore, we should not talk to God about the mountains, but talk to the mountains about God. It is our responsibility to command them to go! Therefore, it is good enough only to come to God in prayer and make requests, we must also confront our problems and command them to go in faith.
The Bible says in Romans 4:17,“God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”In the same way we also call things that do not exist to our natural senses, into existence. The spirit world responds to the words that we speak and nothing happens in the spiritual world without a declaration in the natural world. The spoken word activates the spirit world.
In Psalms 103:20 we read, “Bless the Lord, you angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word.” The angels respond to the voice of God’s word. God gives us the word, we must put a voice behind the word and then the angels will respond to that what we say!
Jesus is our example. He said “As the Father sends Me, I send you.” (John 20:21) He never prayed for a single miracle, but He created the miracles by the words that He spoke. For example, He said, “Be healed, get up and walk, stretch out your hand, etc.” When He was in a storm, He spoke to the storm and said, “Be still.” When He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness He said, “It is written.” He just declared the word of God. In Matthew 8 verse 8, The Roman centurion said to Jesus, “But only speak the word and my servant will be healed.” Sometimes, the only way to come out of a difficult situation is just to speak God’s word with authority. Paul said, “The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): (Romans 10:8)
Secondly, faith works through steps of faith that we take:
The Bible says in James 2:20, “Faith without works is dead.” In other words, faith needs to be accompanied by corresponding actions to show that we believe. We have already looked at the importance of speaking words of faith. However, there are also other actions that we can take to release our faith.
For example, when Israel conquered Jericho, they had to shout the shout of victory before the walls came done. Often, we have to take a step of faith even if there is no evidence that something has happened. It is easy to shout after the evidence of breakthrough and victory, but that is not faith. Faith rejoices before the miracle manifests. Another example is when the priests crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. They had to step into a raging river before the waters stopped flowing and the river parted. They first had to take a step of faith before the waters parted. Often, we have to take a risk before we receive the miracle! We once had to book our plane tickets before we received the money to do so. As we took the risk, God provided the money.
There are many examples in the Bible. In Mark 5 we read about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus garment and was healed. She took a step of faith. If she did not take this step of faith, nothing would have happened.
We read about Jesus healing the lepers, “So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.” (Luke 17:14) Notice, as they went they were healed! Healing often happens when we defy the symptoms and act healed. We have often seen healings when we have challenged people to act contrary to their symptoms. For example, if there is pain in the legs, then we tell them to jump or walk around. Jesus often did this. For example, He would say to a cripple, “get up and walk“, and to the man with the withered hand, “stretch out your hands... etc.” We have the amazing story of Jehoshaphat who sent out the choir before the army. We read, “As the singers sang, the Lord sent an ambush and destroyed the enemy. (2 Chronicles 20:22)
Thirdly, faith works when we must renew our minds:
The well-known verse in Romans 10:17 says that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” As we fill our minds with the promises of the word of God, they will influence our thought patterns and will cause our faith to grow. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 2:10 that, all promises in Him are yes and in Him amen.” Another translation says, “For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes in Him. For this reason, we also utter the Amen to God through to the glory of God.” God has already given us a big YES when we read the promises. He is waiting for us to agree with Him and say a big AMEN.
Jesus said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7) There are so many other promises in the Bible. Therefore, whenever we have a need, we can find promises in the Bible and fill our minds with these promises. The word of God will renew our minds and enable us to release our faith. It is like a seed, and as we plant it in our mind and heart it will grow into a miracle. I once heard David Yonnghi Cho from Korea give this testimony. A young girl who had a cancerous growth on her neck asked him to pray for her. He told her that he would do so on one condition, she had to write out a thousand times, “by His stripes I was healed.” When she returned for prayer a few days later, the growth was completely gone.
It is not only the Bible that renews our minds, but inspiring testimonies. In Revelations we read, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelations 19:10) The word ‘prophecy’ means, ‘to do it again.’ In other words when we hear testimonies of what Jesus has done, we create the atmosphere for God to repeat the miracle. A few years ago a woman came up to my wife Frances and asked her to pray for her. She had a serious sickness. Frances then told her how God had healed me a few weeks earlier. Her eyes lightened up and she said, “I believe!” Frances then prayed a simple prayer over her. We saw her two weeks later and she testified that she had been totally healed.
Fourthly, faith works when we remove unbelief:
It is not good enough, only to build up our faith, we must also remove unbelief and doubt from our hearts. We have the example in the Bible when the disciples tried to cast the demon out of the young boy, but were unable to do so. They asked Jesus in Matthew 17:20, “Why could we not cast him out?” And Jesus said unto them, “Because of your unbelief: …” Lack of faith was not their problem; their problem was too much unbelief! This can happen to us, we have strong faith, but when we look at the manifestations or the circumstances, we allow unbelief and doubt to come into our hearts. The same thing happened to Peter when he walked on the water. He had faith, otherwise he would not have walked on the water, but when he saw the storm, he began to sink. Jesus said to him, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)
Just as “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” so unbelief comes by observing negative things that are contrary to the word of God. We must be careful that we are not influenced by the media, the opinions of others or by the prevailing thought patterns in the world. Therefore it is important that we
We read about Abraham in Romans 4:19-21, “And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” He knew that the situation seemed hopeless but he chose not to think about these but to rather focus on the promises that God gave him. Notice he did not deny the symptoms, but he denied the right for the symptoms to influence the way he thought. The word ‘consider’ means to ‘study in depth.’ Sometimes too much information can cause unbelief to enter into our minds. Instead of getting all the information from ‘uncle Google’ on the Internet, let us rather just simply believe God’s word. For example, even if it seems impossible, Jesus said in Mark 9:23, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.“
Finally: Faith pleases God, for “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) God only responds to faith, for this is the language that He understands. Amen