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Are you living by faith?

Are you living by faith or by possibilities, probabilities, vain imaginings and strivings? All faith must be contained within the Word otherwise we stand on nothing. Our faith in our salvation is based on 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." This is the faith by which we begin. It is the same faith by which we must stand, walk, and live.

Faith has nothing to do with worldly understanding. True faith is anchored on scriptural facts. It must be based upon the certainty of the Word, absolute and total faith in it, and most importantly, holding that word with its power in our spirit. Faith is not believing or thinking but rather a certainty based on Biblical fact. Thus you know whether your faith is real and based on the Word of God, or probabilities, hope, and methods of man to accomplish something.

Once we begin to count on these facts, then and only then does the Father begin to build us up and increase our faith. Real faith is always increased by opposition. The food of faith which it needs to grow is trial, obstacles, difficulties and defeats because all of these bring us to dependence on God rather than on ourselves. Sorrow, suffering, afflictions, broken plans, and disasters bring us to the place of helplessness and defeat and only then will we have learned the lesson of faith. "The just shall live by faith," Habakkuk 2:4, not only in circumstances but in everything and by "taking every thought captive to Christ," 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Only when we have learned to lean on the Lord in everything can we walk in maturity. Then we can deal with other souls. Much time is involved in this. When God desires to make an oak tree it takes a hundred years, a squash or a radish only a few weeks. God is never in a hurry. He is not working for next week, next month or next year but rather He is working for eternity.

We are too often in a hurry to do what God knows we are unable or unfit to do. One must settle from the beginning that developing faith is a time process so you can get on with the experiences and blessings of God. To taste the grace of God is one thing. To be established in it, for it to manifest in your character down to your habits and daily routine is quite another thing. No fruit ripens quickly, but requires days of sunshine and days of storm, each to add their share before the fruit is mature and ready to be used by others.

If God is working for eternity, why should we be concerned about today, tomorrow, or the next day? Our view should be the same as the Lord's. Every great man or woman of God throughout history has had to come to a place where they ceased trying to work for Him and began allowing Him to work in them.

Ask yourself, "Does God fully accept me?" This question is critical. Many suppose that because they are conscious of sin in their life or failures or disasters God no longer accepts them. The truth is God has not altered. His eye rests on the work accomplished by Christ, not by you.

When you are not walking in the spirit, you are in the flesh. You have turned back to the old man that was crucified on the cross. God has not changed - you have. You need to be restored to fellowship by confession and repentance but the love of God never changes toward you, prior, during, or after the sin. He knew what you were going to do before He called you.

If you are in sin and have any doubt of God's acceptance of you, that should reveal to you that you are attempting to obtain your own self-righteousness rather than resting on the scriptural fact that God loves you, has loved you and will love you regardless of what takes place in your life. Judge yourself to see whether you are standing upon the Word or feelings, guilt, or emotions. Until the soul comes to this place God will not give it peace. He cannot. The soul has to come to a place where it finds that there is nothing to rest on but the goodness and promises of God.

Many believe God accepts them when things are going well and the Lord seems to be blessing but as soon as they fall into sin or stumble and make a mistake, they find they can't get a hold of God. They then begin to believe the lie of the devil that God has changed and His love is no longer there. We must understand that we have broken fellowship - God has not changed in the least. He has accepted us in His Son and upon that fact we must rest our faith.

For justification, our acceptance, is by grace and grace alone. You must understand that you are not on probation. It makes no difference what you do. You have been called to eternal life, nothing in this world or the next can change that. The scriptures clearly indicate that grace once bestowed is not withdrawn for any reason, for God already knew everything that we were going to do. His action was independent of us, not dependant on our walk.

We must come to a place where we consent to be loved and accepted of God while we are unworthy. We must cease to make resolutions, vows and promises that we think we can carry out in the flesh. It has to be God working in us. We can not rely on anything of the flesh. We cannot hope we're going to get better, that we're going to get over anything, or stop any bad habits but we must fully see ourselves in Christ.

To be disappointed in yourself or self-pity is verification that you have believed in yourself rather than Christ. To be discouraged is unbelief. It means you think God's plan is not working out. To be proud is to be blind and stupid, for we have no standing before God in and of ourselves.

What the church is doing is preaching devotion, self-righteousness and abusing the body in order to be right with God. It causes people to believe they are accepted by God because they have stopped what they consider to be bad habits, or going to the movies, or whatever. Nothing could be further from the truth. The very word grace means undeserved, unconditional blessings.

Let us go back to Gen.1:26 to find the purpose of God for our lives. Although man was made in the image of God, he fell. As a result he immediately became self-centered instead of God-centered. He was dead to God who was the source of all life. In that condition, Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his fallen image. He brought forth a sinful, ungodly, self-centered race born dead in trespasses and sin. This is the way we were born.

But God has called us by His Spirit in these last days and by His Son who is the brightness of His glory and express image of his person. Here now, we have in us the image of God back on earth in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, God's only son.

Our natural birth made us fallen and sinful, our second birth makes us clean. We were born again through repentance toward God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. He became our life. Our heavenly Father is still carrying out His original purpose of making man in His image.

The secret of healthy spiritual growth is to know and settle upon this fact that is set forth in Romans 8:28-29. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." The greatest method that God has to bring us to this point is failure in our own lives that we would be void of self-confidence, of doing it ourselves, and we will avoid trying to hide it, ignore it, or rationalize about it, but rather understand that God has purposely caused this that we might have total reliance on Him and rest upon that promise of His purpose. We need to change the center and the source of our lives from ourselves to Christ, that we might say with the apostle, "Not I but Christ."

If I am to be like Him, then God in His grace must do it. The sooner we come to recognize it the sooner we will be delivered from the bondage. When we can throw down every self-striving method and acknowledge from our heart, "I cannot do it. The more I try, the further I get away from the Lord. What shall I do?" The Holy Spirit will answer, "You cannot do it. Just withdraw, back away from it, don't even try. You've been in the arena, fought and lost. You're a failure. Come out and sit down." But as you sit there behold the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at Him. Be occupied with Him. Look upon Him in your mind, through the Word, through praise, through worship and let the Lord do the work. "For it is the Lord who works in you to will and act according to his good purpose." Philippians 2:13.

The true value of anything is known only when it is wanted and needed desperately. Each one must come to a bitter experience of their own inadequacy, poverty, and hunger, and that they are totally unable to bear the burden of spiritual ministry or to be a man, woman, mother, or father. Only then can we rely upon and receive from the Lord that which we have a need of.

Understand that our victory over sin is not Christ plus striving and efforts, but Christ plus receiving. His grace is sufficient for ALL things. We all learned at the point of salvation that only God could save us, but since that day many have been trying to do everything to bring themselves back to a place of acceptance.

To receive victory from Christ requires two things:

1. Believe His Word.

2. Rest solely upon His grace. He and He alone will do it in His time.

God is glorified in the man or woman who has a quiet, confident, peaceful walk, especially in the day of adversity, the day of dread, when the world is shaking and trembling. Jesus Christ is glorified in a people whose hearts are set upon Him. At any cost they will travel the road the man, Christ Jesus has previously traveled. He has overcome everything in our way. We merely need to hold His hand and walk in the road of His triumph. He has already met every enemy and every foe is defeated. There remains nothing that has not already been put beneath His feet. There remains nothing in the universe that is to overcome the least child of God who will take the hand of the Lord, rest from all striving and say, "Lord, bring me through this to the place where You are, for I accept it by the Blood. I accept that the victory has already been won."

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