Conflicting Belief That Hinders Faith


According to one count, the Bible records 3, 573 promises of God that cover the major categories of physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of mankind.  Therefore, it would be correct to believe the thought, “God’s got my back!”  This being true, it would be accurate to assume that we should all expect, as the song lyrics go, “sunshine on a cloudy day.”  Right?

There was a time…

There was a time in my life that I believed that all I needed to do was learn, declare, and decree the Bible promises that covered the needs that I would experience; at least some of the main ones from each category.

But to be honest…

However, that approach ‘preached good’ but came up short in actual experience.  Too much of the time, I was ‘standing’ in a kind of faith that was misplaced.  You see, I discovered that the life of the promise was not in my ability to do the work properly.  At first, I reasoned that I merely needed patience when in reality my practice was flawed.

The bedrock of faith…

What I’ve discovered is that the very foundation that supports and activates faith is not in knowing and claiming the promises, but instead becoming confident in His Character.

“Confidence In His Character Is The Beginning and End of Faith”

I can be familiar with all 3,573 Bible promises, and shout them at the moon until (as my dad used to say) “the cows come home” and have to resort to the excuse, “I’m standing and believing.”

It’s not that I don’t value patience…

I do know – and do not discount – as Hebrews 6:12 states patience is an essential part of the faith that inherits the promises.  Of course, a vital ingredient in faith that receives God’s promises is refusing to falter when circumstances try to discourage and tempt you to abandon your expectation.

But, I’m discovering that…

Faith is the result of trusting His Character first and foremost.  Instead of trusting in my ability to get the ‘faith process’ right, I’m learning to rest in the quality of His Character.

Here’s what hindered my confidence and therefore my faith…

I believed that unconditional love was the highest form of love and that it was our goal to demonstrate that to others.  However…

I believed that experiencing the promises of His love was based on my correct performance.  I would never have admitted it in so many words, but the facts were that I was counting on my ability to perform correctly rather than the quality of character of His heart for me.

Two scripture lessons that brought this home to me…

Galatians 3:5, “So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?”

The ‘works of the law’ as applied today would be likened to ‘formulas of self-effort’ to produce the desired results.  The promises are always the quality of His heart.  They are not tools to twist God’s arm or manipulate Him to do what His heart already desires.

Note:  Do you feed your children because of your heart for them, or because they constantly told you that they remembered your promises to take care of them (as if you needed reminding).

Luke 12:24, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”

These words of Jesus were not excusing laziness.  However, they were making a critical point that points to God’s heart for all of His creation…not to mention His very sons and daughters.  Jesus specifically pointed to the Raven.  Interestingly, that was the very class of bird that was fowl (pun intended) to the Jews…and the disciples knew it.   The Raven had no work ethic, whatsoever.  It did nothing to earn God’s favor.  Many of the Rabbis considered it blasphemy even to mention, or write the name, Raven.  Jesus was employing a form of hyperbole to drive home a point.  He was saying, “Don’t count on your performance for your heavenly Father to care for the things you need in life.”

Relax.  He’s got your back.  He will never leave you.  He will never forsake you.  His love for you is not based on your correct or sufficient performance.

We must start there as our foundation for faith.  Otherwise, or attempts at faith are nothing more than self-effort.  His heart overflows with gifts you don’t have to earn.

Is your faith practice actually works of a contemporary religious ‘law’?  Do you believe you are at least as valuable to God as a Raven?

Know and be absolutely assured of this:  2 Timothy 2:13, “When we are faithless, He remains faithful…” (To the character of His heart)

Gary

 

 

 

Why “Americanized” Faith Doesn’t Work

FailureBe honest with me now.  It’s just you and me.  Has your faith been working for you?  If not, I might be able to help you understand why. 

It could be because you’ve thought it was YOUR faith. 

It’s Not Your Faith That Works

We don’t have the capacity to create faith.  No matter how hard we try.  The “energy/substance” we call faith comes as a gift from God.  Attempting to “work up” “psych up” or “confess up” faith is similar to attempting to “get blood out of a turnip.”

Natural Faith Is A Product Of Reason

Since the 1700’s, Western Culture has been under the strong influence of “The Enlightenment.”  I like to call it “The Darken-ment.”  It’s also been referred to as “The Age of Reason.”

The fruit of the Age of Reason has been the belief that anything real is produced by rational thought, or the process of reasoning through an issue.

That thought process has led to a de-spiritualization of Christianity.  In other words, we’ve succumbed to the idea that the intellectual, logical, scientific  thought process is the only safe path to understanding the Scriptures, God, and His ways.  That’s why, in this article, I refer to “Americanized” faith.  America is, very much, a disciple of the intellectual scientific method approach to all truth about anything.

Revelation From Relationship Produces Faith

I know a great many people – and used to be one, myself – that attempted to “reason” my way into a strong, vibrant faith.  I’m glad to say that it never worked for me.

Why would I say that I’m glad that never worked?

Because, if it had, I would never have discovered the kind of faith that actually works.

One of the most subtle yet deceptive methods I used in attempting to produce faith with my powers of reason was through positive confession of the scriptures.

Whoa!!

Stick with me now.  Read everything I’m about to say.  I believe that speaking what God states about (fill in the blank) can be a good thing.  In fact, a very good thing.  I believe the Word of God is powerful.

However…

I also believe that many people are attempting to use the stated promises in a 2 + 2 = 4 reasoning process.   In other words, “The promise says this.  If I believe it and confess it, my thinking will adjust to the logical conclusion of it.”  And, so…they feel that if they fill their minds with the logic of it all, then it will happen the way it’s supposed to happen.

Heart Revelation Always Trumps Rationality

Proverbs 3:5 counsels us, “Trust the Lord with all your heart.  Lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

The “heart/spirit” is the organ that produces faith that works.  A person accesses the heart through relationship with Holy Spirit.

The master key that unlocks that door is meditating/imagining a Scriptures trusting Holy Spirit to “release the flavor and aroma” of that verse in a way that begins to permeate your true power of understanding.

When His “voice” paints His picture on my imagination, powerful, effective, receiving faith is born.  The core of our inner man rises up and shouts, “I know that I have that which I’ve desired of Him.”

STOP – LOOK – LISTEN

Stop all the physical, and mental gymnastics.  Come to rest.

Look to the what the promise states and see with your imagination what it would “look and feel” like as it applies to your life.

Listen to what’s happening in your “inner theater.”  Focus your inner ears and eyes to the hunches of your heart.

The words will begin to take on a life of their own, as it were.   You’ll begin to “sense the living substance” of the words.  They will begin to “breath” with life and reality to you.  You won’t have to talk or reason yourself into anything.

Faith will take on a brand new, powerful dimension in your life!  You’ll begin to experience the robust vitality of it. Your confidence in God and His Word will rise to “heavenly levels.”

Will you ever struggle with having faith again?  Absolutely!

Developing faith isn’t a magic formula that once you’ve got it, it’s now in your control.  The faith connection is an ongoing relationship discipline.

But now…you’ll honestly be able to say…Faith Works!  I know it personally!

Does this help?  Do you have any questions or comments?  Please respond in the comments.

Gary