What is your faith? When people ask that question. . .many expect you to say the church, denomination or a religion you align yourself with.
Are you Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim etc?
If you view faith as an organization. . .then I would say your faith is at best misplaced and most probably … dead.
What are the characteristics of dead faith?
First, dead faith is merely head knowledge.
Intellectual agreement by itself is tragically inadequate.
James 2:19 in the New Living Translation says:
“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.”
Second, dead faith is merely tongue faith.
Simply said, tongue faith consists of words without action.
James 2:16-17 is powerful in any translation, but I particularly like the Message Bible version which says:
“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?”
Third, dead faith makes God’s Word of no effect.
Mark 7:13 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. And many things of this kind you are doing.”
One of the great sins of modern humanity is its tendency to nullify the Word of God in favor of our human traditions. Dead faith has a way of making the Word of God useless through its traditions.
We could discuss more characteristics of dead faith, but we think you get the point.
How do you change dead faith to active, living faith? Ask yourself the question found in 2 Corinthians 13:5 in the Classic Amplified Bible:
“Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?”
Corrie Ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, and a mighty woman of God once said:
“Faith is like radar that sees through the fog-the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.”
Someone once said:
“Faith is the willingness to risk everything on God.”
Pastor Joel Osteen said:
“God has already done everything He's going to do. The ball is now in your court. If you want success, if you want wisdom, if you want to be prosperous and healthy, you're going to have to do more than meditate and believe; you must boldly declare words of faith and victory over yourself and your family.”
Living faith will get you through every adversity and even things you cannot see.
Here are seven keys to living faith.
First, living faith speaks with the mouth what is in the heart.
Romans 10:8 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“But what does it say? The Word (God’s message in Christ) is near you, on your lips and in your heart; that is, the Word (the message, the basis and object) of faith which we preach.”
We love how the Message Bible completes the last part of Romans 10:8 when it says:
“. . .It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us.”
When we received Jesus Christ into our hearts, we did it by confessing with our mouths. Our mouth was instrumental from the very beginning of our Christian walk in activating the living faith that God imparted to us.
The Apostle Paul was a verbal torch. He had a living faith that surged outward in his speech, touching everyone nearby with its virtue.
Jesus’ words had that kind of effect.
Luke 4:32 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“And they were amazed at His teaching, for His word was with authority and ability and weight and power.”
The disciples also confessed their faith with their mouths.
Acts 4:31 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were assembled was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak the Word of God with freedom and boldness and courage.”
To change your dead, lukewarm faith into a vibrant living faith. . .starts by using your mouth. Confess what the Bible says about you, about your circumstances and about your God. Speak words that build your spirit, not tear it down.
Make this an every day habit. . .you will change your perspective and move into God’s destiny for your life.
Second, living faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
What we hear is first a thought. That should tell us how important it is when dealing with our thoughts!
Romans 10:17 in the King James Version says:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
There is a reason the scripture says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Years ago, I remember hearing Dr. Fred Price say that faith comes by hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing the Word of God. There is much truth in that statement.
The more you hear. . .the more you understand.
According to Strong’s Concordance the word for hearing comes from the Greek root word G191 which means:
“to be endowed with the faculty of hearing; to understand, perceive the sense of what is said; a thing comes to one’s ears, to find out, learn; to comprehend to understand”
Proverbs 2:9-11 in the New Living Translation says:
“Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.
Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.”
When you gain understanding. . .you gain so much more.
In Luke 1:38 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.”
Acts 17:11 in the King James Version says:
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Colossians 3:16 in The Living Bible says:
“Remember what Christ taught, and let his words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts.”
Living faith is fed by the living Word. Hebrews 4:12 in the New King James Version:
”For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
As we feed on the living Word. . .the power of the living Spirit will move through our living heart and produce living actions. Our faith comes alive by our words.
Third, living faith activates your spiritual gifts.
Living faith gives us the power to declare the person we are becoming and to chart our course toward a magnificent destiny.
When we know we possess what the Bible says we possess. . .we can build faith to activate what we possess. When we activate our gift with our living faith. . .we allow God to make our lives count for Him.
Many people wait around for their spiritual gifts to activate themselves . . . then wonder why the Lord doesn’t use them.
The Holy Spirit wants to use us right now. But we must activate our gift through living faith. . .governed by prayer and our response to the Word of God.
The spiritual gift of faith is found in the list of the gifts of the Spirit in the first part of 1 Corinthians 12:9 which says:
“To another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit ….”
The verse says some people are given the gift of faith, but the gift is not specifically explained.
All believers have been given saving faith by God as the only means of salvation. Ephesians 2:8 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God.”
We should also point out that the Holy Spirit. . .the spiritual gift of faith was given for the “common good” as mentioned in 1 Corinthians12:7 in the Classic Amplified Bible which says:
“But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit.”
Fourth, living faith stands strong.
Living faith is learning to stand strong and not quit in the face of adversity.
1 Corinthians 16:13 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith (your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength!”
When you have living faith. . .you become wise to the enemy’s tactics of trying to move you by circumstances or pressures. You will be able to stand stronger in the face of adversity.
Living faith changes a roller-coaster Christian into a stable man or woman of God who is able to resist the devil and stand firm. It means you have come to know who you are in Christ.
Mark 11:22-25 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly]. 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].”
Stay strong in your faith.
Fifth, living faith obeys the Word of God.
We should obey the Word of God even when our natural mind thinks differently. It takes practice not to respond in the natural when the spirit is moving you in another direction.
There’s a great example of this in Luke 5 when Peter and his men had been fishing all night but had not caught anything.
In Luke 5:4 in the Classic Amplified Bible. . .Jesus gave Peter a very specific instruction.
“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon (Peter), Put out into the deep [water], and lower your nets for a haul.”
In verse 5 of the King James Version, Peter responds by saying:
“And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”
In today’s vernacular Peter was saying:
“I don’t get it, but I’ll do it just because You have directed me to.”
Peter obeyed and netted such an enormous catch of fish that the nets broke.
God wants us to receive blessings, enlargement and increase. But we must let down our nets of faith to take up the great catch God has for your life. That takes obedience.
This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible and perhaps sometime soon we will devote an entire program to it.
Sixth, living faith sees giving as a way of increase.
Tithing is foolish to the mind of a natural man. Give away ten percent of your income and live on only 90%. Truthfully, that will seem foolish to anyone who doesn’t understand the biblical principles of increase.
In scripture the only topic Jesus taught about more than money was the Kingdom of God. And some of His teachings on the Kingdom of God dealt with money as well.
Luke 16:10-11 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the [case of] unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions), who will entrust to you the true riches?”
Jesus didn’t mean that we should ignore money because it’s insignificant. He meant that the way we handle money indicates how we will handle other things in our lives. If we can’t even handle our money properly and in godly ways, then we are going to have problems in all other areas of our life.
One more scripture. Proverbs 11:24-25 in The Living Bible says:
“It is possible to give away and become richer! It is also possible to hold on too tightly and lose everything. Yes, the liberal man shall be rich! By watering others, he waters himself.”
We don’t have time to talk about tithing and money matters in detail on this program, but I’ve written about it extensively. Go to www.haroldherring.com and enter tithing in the search engine.
Seventh, living faith will be tested.
I heard the story of a man who once shared his heart’s desire for a strong, unshakeable faith. He shared how he prayed whenever he looked at a brick or stone wall.
“Lord, make me stronger than that wall!!”
Soon he noticed he had more than his share of trouble. . .with one problem after another coming into his life. Finally, in exasperation, he sought the Lord and discovered these obstacles were part of God’s plan to answer his prayer.
Faith grew as he asked the Lord for wisdom and strength to attack his problems.
1 Peter 1:7 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed.”
Three great quotes on your faith being tested.
First, Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, once said:
“The ultimate test of faith is not how loudly you praise God in happy times but how deeply you trust him in dark times.”
Second, Pastor John Hagee, author and founder of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, TX, said:
“The greatest test of faith is when you don't get what you want, but still you are able to say Thank You, Lord.”
Third, Smith Wigglesworth, one of God’s Generals, said:
“Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.”
Final thoughts. . .
We must exercise our faith if it is to be effective. Like a muscle, faith grows by stretching. If we desire our faith to be strengthened. . .we shouldn’t shrink from the times our faith is tried.
Remember, Abraham. He refused to allow a questioning mind to undercut his faith. He refused to be ruled by fears about the future. Instead, he was ruled and governed by the kingdom of God and the supernatural leading of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 4:20-21 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:
“No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.”
Through the prophet Isaiah. . .God focus on what God announces in Isaiah 46:11:
“. . .Yes, I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed it, and I will do it.”
In Malachi 3:6 God declares:
“For I am the Lord, I do not change.”
Isaiah 40:8 sums it up this way.
“The word of our God stands forever.”
What God has promised, He is able to bring to pass. Abraham had full assurance regarding the promises of God.
Living faith honors God by counting Him able and being fully persuaded of God’s willingness and ability to keep His word.
One last quote by Dr. A.W. Tozier who said:
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”
Yes, by God’s grace, you can have a living faith.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS