Do you ever feel like a teapot, ready to explode because of all the pressure? Perhaps you are looking at insurmountable circumstances that are weighing heavy upon your shoulders. With the tension thats prominent in world affairs and your situation, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Generally people deal with these types of emotions differently. Everyone handles stress distinctly. Pressure reveals ones' character. Proverbs 24:10 says, "If you faint during the day of adversity, your strength is small."
During difficult times, most likely the Holy Spirit is talking to us about 'acts' of faith. Proof of our standing results in our actions taken during trials. If we're believing in faith for finances, the Holy Spirit might move upon us to give. This is an action taken to activate faith to receive financially. A great example in 1 Kings 17, is the widow woman that God called upon to supply Elijah with food during a drought. Elijah had been instructed to leave the brook, and go to Zarephath and find the widow woman. As he arrived, she was gathering firewood to cook the last cake for her and her son, and then die. However, in the midst of 'lack', the prophet instructed her to give to him first, then to themselves. When she did this, the meal and oil remained plentiful as long as she continued to give to the man of God first. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17), and "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). We can hear what the Lord is instructing us to do, yet if we choose to neglect the doing, faith dies. She could have ignored the word from God and just fed herself and her son, then she would have died. But she decided to listen and obey God acting in Faith.
It's wise to assess the problem, but even more so to manage it with Faith. People that say 'this faith stuff doesn't work', are people that didn't make it a lifestyle. The Bible says, "the just live by faith". In other words, it's a manner of living! It's more than just memorizing and quoting scriptures. Faith requires doing something in compliance with the Word. Confession helps to remind us what we should do to activate our faith. If we are living it daily, the Word within us will dictate our response, instead of the event determining how we reply.
Let me clarify, action on the Word, does not force the hand of God in any situation. That's called manipulation, which is doing something with intent. Action doesn't give you faith - "faith comes by hearing... by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). Doing something releases our faith and belief in God. He then meets our faith because we believed. Some people like to limit faith to confession, because it's easy. They can stay home from church or keep from giving in the offering, thinking all it takes is saying something! Everyone has been given the measure of faith which has an appropriate action in every circumstance.
Setting in motion your faith, over your situation, could be as simple as giving praise to God before you see the result. How ever the Holy Spirit is leading you to act upon your faith, do it with boldness believing for the promise. Act upon the principles of God's Word which reveals the measure that's within you! Faith is being fully persuaded of things expected and proof of what is not yet seen.
James 1:2-4 (Amp)"Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in encounter trials of any sort fall into various temptations. Be assured understand that the trial proving of your faith bring out endurance steadfastness patience. But let endurance steadfastness patience have full play do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing."
On one specific occasion, I was at an important meeting, when I realized I left a much needed item at my home. Since I was close to my house, I decided I had enough time to get there and back before the meeting began. As I drove, I felt the urging of the Holy Spirit telling me to take an alternate route other than the one I was on. Instead of 'acting' upon His instructions, I thought my way was better and quicker. Nonetheless, He kept urging me, and I continued resisting. It was when I reached a certain street, only minutes from my house, that I realized WHY the Spirit was imploring me to go a different way. Right in front of me firetrucks were blocking the road, and I was completely halted. Now what? If only I had acted upon His prompting, I would not have been in this predicament.
We spoke last week of being led by the Holy Spirit. Part of being led, is being obedient. Let's face it, if I would have yielded to His instruction, I could have eliminated stress, delay, and frustration. Learning to follow the Spirit's leading involves taking actions of faith! The Bible says, "...the just live by faith." (Heb. 10:38) Faith is being bold enough to step out and DO what He's telling us to do! In my situation, I thought I had the better way. Isn't that the real problem, we think we know it all, like we've got all the answers, right? But, John 16:13 says, "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." Many times, He is trying to help us stay out of danger and direct us for purposes unknown. What good is hearing the voice of the Spirit and not obeying? If we ignore Him too long, we desensitize our knowing His voice.
Complying to the leading of the Holy Spirit always involves faith. It's trusting Him with all our heart and not leaning to our own understanding. A person in faith, does something to demonstrate his faith. Abraham, the father of faith, is a great example. He trusted God when he was told to sacrifice his son. Doing all that God told him to do, even to the point of raising his knife to slay him. He knew that no matter the outcome, God was going to do something miraculous. And because he obeyed, his faith was validated! (Gen. 22)
It's not enough to know the principles of faith or entirely quote the Word. These things, although important, are not the result of faith. They teach us what and how to exercise faith, but it's in the doing! "..Faith without works is dead", James 2:14-26. Truthfully, we must live a lifestyle of faith! People that say, 'I tried faith, it doesn't work', haven't made it a life style. They believed they were in faith by listening to someone preach about it, mimic someones actions that acted in faith, and quote the scripture ever so often. But they forgot one thing, to be a doer.
Hearing the Word brings faith which then governs our response. Acting upon the Word, according to your measure of faith, will produce the results for which you're believing God. (Matt. 9:29 "...according to your faith let it be to you". The Holy Spirit's leading, quoting scriptures, and hearing the preached Word are the course to actions of faith!
We challenge you when exercising your faith to completion, by doing something that substantiates it. If you're believing for finances, when you quote "My God supplies all my need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." listen and obey the Holy Spirit to act upon your faith. He may tell you to give a certain amount in the offering. Perhaps you're believing for a healing, quoting, "By His stripes I am healed". The act of faith at the Holy Spirit's direction could be getting up out of bed. What ever the measure of your faith, there is an action that is suitable for it. The Spirit of God will lead you, just obey.
A uniformed policeman stands at the scene of a traffic accident, redirecting on coming cars. No one will disobey him, because he's the one in authority telling others what to do. In the same way an officer of the law has jurisdiction in the city, we have command over the works of darkness in our life. Jesus said in Luke 10:19, "Behold I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." And in Mark 11:23-24, "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. Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them."
So why are there so many that are still confronted and overcome with difficulty, distress, and dilemma? If you are one of these and asking yourself this question, read on.
Most Christians do not know that they can take spiritual authority over situations. I would venture to say ignorance is one of the biggest reasons. Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge..." Because we aren't taught how to stand up against the 'wiles of the devil', how to recognize the attack is FROM the devil, and what to do IN times like this, we do nothing!
Another cause is unbelief! If you were to ask, some would say: "I don't believe in the devil." or, "There's no way we can change circumstances." In Luke 17:6, Jesus said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you." But there are many who just don't believe.
Fear is also a source of not taking authority. When faced with demonic activity, a number of people are of the opinion the devil is stronger than God. So rather than DO anything, they back down and 'hide', thinking he will just go away.
Listen Children of God, He has done all He's going to do! Jesus has done all He's going to do! 1) He left us His Word (Heb. 4:12 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword...")
2) And His Spirit (Rom. 8:11 "..if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwell in you." )
3) Jesus disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in the work of the cross and resurrection! (Col. 2:15)
4) He gave us the keys to the Kingdom (Matt. 16:19 "... and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”)
It is now our responsibility to activate our faith and the power of God concerning the tactics of the devil, using the tools He gave us. In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom. 8:37) Rise up and be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! We've got to put on the armor of God and fight the good fight of faith. We need to stand, in faith believing God's Word, when we've done all we know to do. We can not afford to lose heart, but know we possess the treasure of His power within us! Be like that policeman commanding things to line up with what God says! You're wearing the badge!
1 John 4:4 "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
The Bible says, to not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we don't lose heart. (Gal. 6:9) I know you would probably agree with me, that waiting for something is often difficult. Especially if it takes a long amount of time. For some people two weeks is a long time. Yet, I'm reminded of Abraham, who waited 25 years for the promise of his son, Isaac. 25 Years?! Wow! Most of us would give up long before that. We'd say to ourself, "Well, I must not have heard God. It was probably my imagination." And that would be that! Because faith extended means we must make a demand within ourself. It's casting down fear, pushing aside doubts and pressing in closer to God and His Word. Remaining in faith for something, puts a demand on us spiritually. Generally it brings challenges against our flesh requiring us to discard imaginations and conversations from friends or family. It is essential during the 'wait' that we remain consistent in believing and keeping our confessions in alignment with the Word. (Mark 11:23-24 "Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you and you will [get it].") Being constant in resisting worry and confusion is a must as well. (Rom. 4:19-20, "And not being weak in faith, he (Abraham) did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,")
Straining our faith is pushing ourself to trust God, to believe in Someone we can't visually see or touch. It means we are convinced, without any doubt that He will come through for us, no matter what we see, feel or think, regardless of how long we must wait. Faith of that nature is that place where we conduct ourself as if we already have what we are believing. We are in such peace and joy that nothing can move us to presume otherwise.
That type of faith is:
1) Oblivious to surroundings. (2 Cor. 4:18, "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.")
2) Does not get discouraged. (Heb. 12:1 NIV "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,")
3) Keeps all natural circumstances subject to God's Word. (Heb. 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him."), and
4) Committed no matter what comes against it. (1 Pet. 1:6,7 "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.")
Receiving any promises from the Lord, requires that kind of faith! Heb. 6:12 Amp. says, "In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith (by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in his power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises." Without patience, faith will quit, and lack of diligence will steal our faith for the promise.
Need does NOT move God, FAITH moves God. Or just knowing and believing what belongs to you won't activate faith. We must read and study our Bible and pray in the Holy Ghost to build our faith. (Rom. 10:17 "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." & Jude 20 "Building yourself up on your most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit") Besides this, we know that faith without works is dead! It's also important to be a doer of the Word we've studied. When we do these things we can't go wrong in our faith. We will see results! Stay steady, Activate your faith, Don't give up!
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."