Faith

FAITH

 

DEFINITIONFaith is belief or trust in someone or something without overt proof.  Biblically, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).  The basic tenets of our faith  are based on the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

FACTS ABOUT FAITH:

Faith is not the same as “mind over matter.” Mind over matter teaches that man can overcome all problems  by using his mind, reason, or willpower. These teachings are man-centered. They rely on self and not on God. “Mind over matter” is not based on the Word of God.  Faith is God-centered, not man-centered.  It is a gift of God, not something you produce through your mental abilities.

Faith can be misplaced.  Faith is not just “faith in general”–it is directed faith in the one and true God.  You can have misdirected faith in natural resources (Psalm 44:6; 20:7); great men (Psalm 146:3); idols (Isaiah 42:17); false prophets (Jeremiah 7:4,8); wealth (Psalm 52:7); friends (Psalm 41:9); and by placing trust in yourself instead of God (Proverbs 28:26).

You are commanded to have faith in God.  Jesus commanded:  “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).

It is impossible to please God without faith.  You must not only believe in God, but you must believe that He acts in your behalf:  “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”   (Hebrews 11:6).

Atheism is an extreme form of lack of faith.   It is refusing to believe that God exists  (Psalm 14:1).

Saving faith is a gift of God.  God grants everyone a measure of faith in order for them to obtain salvation:   “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:8-10).  It is through faith you are saved:  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast”  (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Faith cannot be increased by works.  You cannot increase your faith by doing things for God.  Faith, however, is demonstrated through your works  (James 2:14-18).

Faith increases through the Word of God. The Bible reveals that everyone is given a certain amount of faith as a gift from God (Romans 12:3b).   Your faith can be increased by studying the Word of God because the scriptures were recorded to increase your faith  (John 20:31).  The Apostle Paul declared:   “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”  (Romans 10:17).

Faith affects how God works in your life. There are various levels of faith that can be developed after your conversion to Christ.  Jesus spoke of people who did not use their faith as being “faithless” (Matthew 17:17).  He spoke of those with little faith (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; Luke 12:28) and of those with great faith (Matthew 8:10; 15:28; Luke 7:9).  Jesus did no great works in Nazareth because of their lack of faith (Matthew  13:58).  When a centurion came to Him with a request, Jesus said: “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” (Matthew 8:13) and to a woman seeking healing “…your faith has healed you” (Matthew 9:22).

Faith is an important spiritual virtue.  Faith is a shield against Satanic attacks (Ephesians 6:16). Faith is the victory that helps you resist the enemy (1 Peter 5:9) and overcome the world (1 John 5:4).  Faith gives you endurance (James 1:3) and results in blessings in your life (1 Peter 1:5).  Faith gives assurance of eternal life (John 5:24) and dispels the darkness of this world (John 12:46).  You are sanctified by faith (Galatians 2:20) and receive the promise of the Holy Spirit by faith (Galatians 3:14).  Faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that is to be manifested in your life (Galatians5:22-23).  Christ dwells in your heart by faith (Ephesians 3:17).  Your entire Christian walk is based on faith (Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7).

DEALING WITH  FAITH:

Confess your lack of faith as sin. “…for what is not of faith is sin”  (Romans 14:23).  Lack of faith means you do not believe God at His Word.  As the father who brought his ailing child to Jesus, cry out by faith, “Lord I believe.  Help me overcome my unbelief!”  (Mark 9:24).

Immerse yourself in the Word of God.  Faith is increased through hearing, reading, and studying God’s Word (Romans 10:17). There are approximately 500 references to faith and belief in the New Testament.  Read through the New Testament and study each reference to faith and belief.

Spend time in prayer.  Prayer is linked with faith in Matthew 17:20 and James 5:15.  As you pray regularly and receive answers to your prayers, your faith will increase.

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT FAITH:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.    (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.”(Matthew 8:13)

“…your faith has healed you” (Matthew 9:22)

“According to your faith will it be done to you…” (Matthew 9:29)

Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Matthews 13:58)

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:19-21, NKJV)

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”   (Matthew 21:22)

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  (Mark 4:40)

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”  (Mark 5:34)

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36)

“Lord I believe.  Help me overcome my unbelief!”  (Mark 9:24).

“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.  (Mark 10:52)

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.  “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:22-24)

Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. (Mark 15:14, NKJV)

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.  (Mark 16:16)

For nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)

“Where is your faith?”  he asked his disciples.  (Luke 8:22)

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”  (Luke 12:27-31)

If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.  (Luke 16:31)

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  (Luke 17:5)

Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”  (Luke 17:19)

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.(Luke 18:42-43)

If you are the Christ,” they said, “tell us.” Jesus answered, If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. (Luke 22:67-68)

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”  (Luke 27:5)

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  (John 1:12-13)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. (John 3:36)

Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, Jesus told him, you will never believe. (John 4:48)

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”  (John 5:24)

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. (John 6:47)

The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe. (John 6:63)

For even his own brothers did not believe in him. (John 7:5)

I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.  (John 8:24)

Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. (John 12:37)

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.(John 12:46)

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.  (John 20:31)

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see. (Acts 3:16)

I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.  (Acts 26:17-18)

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”  (Romans 1:17)

Read Romans chapters 3-4 for several key references to faith.

Yet he (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:20-21)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:8-10).

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.  (Romans 10:17)

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

Read 1 Corinthians chapter 13.  Faith is one of the three main virtues of the Christian life.

…for by faith you stand.  (2 Corinthians 1:24)

Know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.  (Galatians 2:16)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)

(Read Galatians chapter 3 for several key references to faith)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-10)

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  (Ephesians 6:16)

If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. (1 Timothy 4:6)

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:11-12)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  (2 Timothy 4:7)

See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:12-13)

Let us hold unswerving to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

Now faith is the assurance, the confirmation, the title deed of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see, and the conviction of their reality. Faith is perceiving as real what is not revealed to the senses.(Hebrews 11:1, AMP)

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.   (Hebrews 11:6)

(Study Hebrews 11 in its entirety.  It defines faith and gives multiple examples of faith in action.)

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;   he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.  (James 1:5-8)

Study James chapter 2 for numerous references to faith.

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  (James 5:15)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  (1 Peter 1:3-5)

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,  for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  (1 Peter 1:6-,9)

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 John 3:23)

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  (1 John 5:4)

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. (Jude 3)

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20)

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

(See also “Unbelief” in this database.  For further instruction regarding faith, obtain the Harvestime International Network publication entitled “Foundations of Faith” available at http://www.harvestime.org)

Failure

FAILURE

 

DEFINITION:  Failure is a lack of success in achieving something.  It is falling short of what is required or expected, failing God, others, or one’s self.

FACTS ABOUT FAILURE:

Failure to live up to the mandates of God’s Word is sin.  This requires repentance.  “Forgive our sins” is part of the model prayer to be prayed daily  (Matthew 6:12).

All failure is not sin.  Sometimes you fall short of  goals or expectations you set for yourself or those that are set for you by others.  For example, you might fail at meeting your employer’s expectations in a certain area or fail an examination at school. This is not sinful.  It is simply a setback that, if handled properly, you can learn from and turn into a comeback.

Failure makes you realize your dependence on God.  The world says “you can do it”.  Failure eliminates this idol of self-effort and makes you realize you can and be successful through Jesus Christ. Even the great Apostle Paul admitted that the difficulties in Asia were beyond his ability to endure and were permitted so that “…we might not rely on ourselves but on God…”  (2 Corinthians 1:8-11).

DEALING WITH  FAILURE:

If you have failed to live up to the mandates in God’s Word, repent.  This type of failure requires repentance and forgiveness by God.  You will not succeed if you continue to conceal your sins (Proverbs 28:13).

If you have failed to live up to expectations, forgive yourself.  Many expectations are imposed upon you by others or yourself.  Realize that you are an imperfect person living in an imperfect world.  Failure to achieve a self-imposed goal or one imposed upon you by others is not sin. Forgive yourself and move on.

Forget the past.  You can learn from the past, but you cannot live in the past if you want to succeed.  As long as you are living in the past, you will never have a future. Like the Apostle Paul, forget the past and keep pressing towards the future (Philippians 3:13-14)

Confess your dependence on God.  Rely on God for strength to suceed (2 Corinthians 1:8-11).  Make Philippians 1:6 your daily confession:  I can do everything through him who gives me strength”.

Confess your confidence in God:  You are not destined to fail.  If you are a true believer, God will complete what He has started in you. “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Do not quit!  Failure is not permanent.  You never truly fail until you quit trying!

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT FAILURE:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  (Deuteronomy 31:8)

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart  and my portion forever.(Psalms 73:26)

…for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.  (Proverbs 24:16)

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.  (Proverbs 28:13)

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  (Isaiah 60:1)

But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.  (Luke 22:32)

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.   For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,  so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.  (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6).

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  (Philippians 4:13)

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)