Posts Tagged ‘substance of things hoped for’

Becoming Believers

“Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.” (Mk. 16:9-11)

Did you catch that… the disciples didn’t believe that Jesus was alive! Even though Jesus had told them over and over again that He would be crucified and raised again on the third day… they still seemed to stumble over the news from Mary. No question, the disciples had faith in Jesus; they knew He was the Messiah. He was a trusted friend… their Lord, King and Master. To the best of their ability they knew Him as God, but they couldn’t believe He was going to do what He said He would do. It’s just like many Christians today. They have faith in God, but they don’t believe the promises of God… what He tells us in His Word.

Faith vs. Believing:

Is there a difference? In some ways there doesn’t seem to be much difference. We see the words faith and believing used interchangeably. Yet it is important that we see the difference, so that we can grow in our faith by enlarging our capacity to believe.

Faith, as the Bible tells us is the substance of things hoped for and the assurance of things not yet seen (Heb. 11:1). In this way it becomes a force that emerges out of your spirit man, based upon knowledge and hope. The Apostle Paul said faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). It’s a gift from God and a fruit of the Holy Spirit that grows as we learn how to overcome doubts and unbelief. In fact, Timothy was commanded by the Apostle Paul, his mentor; to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12).

Believing on the other hand is an activity of the soul, choosing to believe mentally or to agree with God – is what unleashes the force of faith. You might ask for an example… the best I can think of is Abraham’s faith. The Book of Romans tells of Abraham’s believing, against all the facts and natural limitations; that he and Sarah would have a son. It says that “he did not waver at the Promise of God through unbelief but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God” (Rom. 4:20). His believing was activated by his consistent praise and “giving glory to God”… and he grew in his conviction that God was able to do all that He had promised.

Unlocked & Released:

So we can see the difference between faith and believing, in that faith must be unlocked and released by our actions… our words and behavior. These are soul realities and activities of the mind, will and emotion. Believing is what makes faith the force that pleases God (Heb 11:6). If faith is the currency of heaven… then believing is the transaction that moves the heart of the Father. Faith itself may be available, but until it is acted upon, vocalized or passionately demonstrated; it is like wanting a trinket, but never getting the coins out of your pocket. Faith without works is dead (Jms. 2:20)… but Jesus said that if you believe nothing will be impossible (Mk. 9:23).

Faith Character

Here are just a few of the things that great people of faith have accomplished: They “subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle and turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented- of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth” (Heb. 11:33-38).

Faith in God:

What a powerful reality! What a motivating message! The world has yet to see what we can accomplish through faith in God! You and I are called to trust and access Christ-like character through our faith (Rom. 5:1-2). To develop a “so be it” kind of character that responds to challenges in life… just like Jesus.

  • Temptations require us to know the Word of God and speak, “It is written!” (Mt. 4:4) 
  • Storms and impossibilities require our voice to shift the atmosphere, “Peace be still!” (Mk. 4:39) 
  • Sickness and disease require an anointing that releases heavenly authority, “Arise and walk!” (Lk. 5:24) 

Four times Jesus said, “All things are possible” (Mt. 19:26, Mk. 9:23, Mk. 10:27, Mk. 14:36). With God all things are possible. All things are possible to him that believes. You can go anywhere, be anything, and accomplish anything. It all depends on how much faith you have in God. Remind yourself, ”it is not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts”  (Zech 4:6).

Character of a Spiritual House:

Faith must be seen as the foundation stone of our spiritual house (Mt. 7:24-27)! What a powerful platform from which to operate! The Bible defines faith as: ”…the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”  (Heb. 11:1). Seeing is often a hindrance to our vision and can leave us lacking the character to endure what we cannot understand. What we must remember is that our journey reaches far beyond our earthly assignment or personal destination. We are following God in order to leave a legacy for the next generation to step into. The character of a spiritual house is all about the fathers and their vision… Can it be written upon the hearts of those who hear our story?

“But what does it say? The Word is close to you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the Word of faith, which we preach; That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:8-10)

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