Understanding Spirit Faith vs. Flesh Faith


Many people struggle with faith.  Instead of the process being a ‘good fight’ (1 Timothy 6:12), it’s become unfruitful labor.

For various reason, the subject of faith has often become quite confusing.  People mean so many different things when they say, “I’m standing in faith.”  It seems to depend on what they have been taught about faith.

What many Christians are calling faith is actually born in the brain rather than birthed in the heart.  Here is another way of looking at that statement:

Intellectually reasoned faith is a product of the ‘Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.’  Spirit driven faith is a fruit of the ‘Tree of Life.’

I’ve heard some folks say that activating spiritual faith could also be explained as ‘taking a risk.’  In a sense, I understand that way of illustrating Bible faith.  However, I believe ‘taking a risk’ is misleading when describing God’s faith.

The Genesis ‘Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’ offered (and still offers) mankind the opportunity to make independent rational decisions regarding the good and bad of life.  The Tree of Life (or Jesus) illustrates remaining connected to God as the source of wisdom in life.

(Note:  Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a form of Hebraic terminology that meant ‘the full scope of life from beginning to end.’  Another illustration would be where Jesus was called, ‘the Alpha and Omega.’)

The purpose of Satan’s temptation was to encourage God’s children to be independent of the relationship of God’s counsel and think for themselves.  His lie was suggesting that it was not necessary to drink of the waters of life to live abundantly.  However, the independence he offered was a cistern of lies, half-truths, arrogance, self-interest, and self-deception.

The deceit and duplicity were in the forbidden tree having ‘fruit’ that gave an appearance of being wise.  However,  being wise without God is ultimately foolishness.

Another name for the forbidden tree is Flesh.  According to Romans 8:7 (NIV),

“The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God;
it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”

When we are considering having faith, a person can attempt to secure it by using the process of natural reasoning.  That is what I refer to as Flesh Faith.   The person reasons that if they have followed the steps they were taught, and repeatedly stated some promise scriptures, then faith will follow and God will act on their behalf.  When the ‘answers’ are delayed, they boldly proclaim that they are ‘standing in faith.’

Before any reader assumes that I’m cynical about faith teaching or personal Word promise affirmations, I am not.  Those things can all be beneficial.
There is a great deal of faith teaching that can point a person toward deepening their relationship with Jesus.   Confessing and affirming the promises can nurture a heart connection with the Lord.  However, I’ve witnessed that many people are using the principles of faith teaching like inducements to get God to respond to their needs.  They are 2 + 2ing it to = 4.  But, God is very clear about the Flesh (natural logic without intimacy with God).  It will not and cannot produce anything that harmonizes with God.

In the process of striving to attain the promises with only the brain’s logic, the emotion of confidence is fleeting.  Rest and assurance are like butterflies that land on one’s shoulder and quickly take flight at the slightest provocation.

On the other hand, authentic faith, which stands firm in confidence, is that which is birthed in the heart.  It is the product of enjoying and eating the fruit produced by the Tree of Life (Jesus).  The God kind of faith develops on a daily basis of intentional communion.  It may be illustrated in any human relationship.  Faith in each other grows through fellowship.

What it boils down to is this:  Faith for anything is based on the amount of confidence one has in God.  Faith is ‘looking unto Jesus’ the Person (who resides in one’s heart) as the Source for the answer rather than looking unto ‘faith techniques and formulas’ to produce the desired manifestation.  Faith is not the creative force.  The Creator is the creative force of what one wishes.

Spirit faith is humble before God and does not demand the answers come by the petitioner’s predesigned expectation.  True faith honors the wisdom of God to paint the details.  One may ‘suggest’ the desired outcome, but also have confidence that ultimately God’s abundant answer will be superior.

Finally, authentic God faith can remain in the realm of mystery.  That is one reason it is called faith. 

I am thankful, beyond measure, for the teachings that took my Christianity from the passive “if it be Thy will” to greater confidence in discovering the heart of His will as revealed by the Word of God.  But, with that, I also acknowledge that I do not have to place my confidence in what I think I understand about the Scriptures.  I am so thankful that I can trust the Lord with my heart and not place any weight on what I think I know about the Scriptures or life circumstances in general.  It is a very firm and restful place to live from.

May the God kind of Spirit faith be yours!

Gary