Note from the Editor: the following was written by Amanda Henderson and was originally published on her Facebook page. Any editing to the original content was done with permission and to fit the format of Land. Amanda is a graduate of Charis Bible College Atlanta 2009. To find out more about Amanda, her heart for the Lord, and where to meet her for Bible Study visit her website at www.freelyforgivenforever.com.
Has anyone told you to purposefully “use your faith?” Does that phrase sound a little strange to you?
Faith is simply what you believe.
It’s just a given; everyone believes in something according to the information they receive or disregard. People believe in God, or in themselves, or even in their own faith (such as, “I’m a Catholic”), or in other belief systems (astrology, Hinduism, agnosticism etc). If people weren’t created intrinsically with the ability to believe, instead of being people, then they’d all be like broomsticks or something!
Some kind of faith is ALWAYS being used by a person, and a person just can’t turn off what they believe.
Also, a person can’t isolate their faith from themselves and turn it WILLINGLY in a different direction from their current beliefs like they would using a wrench or something. What a person trusts in cannot be changed by willpower alone, but convictions are instead the RESULT of making conclusions about some form of LOGIC or experience. In fact, the Greek word for “WORD” (or logos) in the Strong’s Dictionary means “divine expression or computation.”
Therefore, Jesus, the WORD made flesh, is the computation of God who logically explains how God desires to have a relationship with each person! Receiving the “computation of the Cross” causes faith in Christ to come alive in your heart.
Your beliefs (or faith) reside in your heart and are such an integral part of WHO you ARE that scripture tells us that God even KNOWS US ACCORDING to our HEARTS (1Sam 16:7).
For instance, Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites because they had evil hearts but instead put on an outward show of supposed holiness. You literally BECOME what you BELIEVE (Prov 23:7). So, if you could change what you believe by sheer willpower, that would mean that you and your faith can be separated from each other, and that’s not correct.
Your faith is such an integral part of you that you can know immediately what’s in your heart by your “gut reaction” to situations because ALL the issues of life always first pass through your heart, or belief system (Prov 4:23).
Therefore, if you want to live a sincere (and easy!) life, you can’t by force “use your faith” to make decisions that are opposite to what you truly believe. If you try to live that way, that’s called being a hypocrite, lol (and nobody wants to live that way)!
As an example, you don’t have to put forth effort to MAKE your heart beat – it automatically beats (thank God!) because it’s part of who you are. In a similar sense, a “life of believing” (any type of faith) is not hard – it’s how every person lives.
For instance, if I asked a typical man, “What dress are you wearing to dinner tonight?”
He would likely reply without hesitation, “None – I’m a man; I don’t wear dresses.”
His response was automatic because he is so convinced (his faith) that he is definitely a man. Usually a man doesn’t have to be told to “use his faith” to forcefully direct his convictions to believe that he is a man, right? His faith automatically kicks back an answer and effortlessly directs how he lives.
Jesus said it is impossible for a person to SINCERELY live a life different from the beliefs they have in their heart (Mt 12:34).
People get frustrated like Paul did once (Rom 7:15) when they try to forcefully produce a life of good works when they don’t have the power-over-sin-GRACE message (Rom 6:14) completely saturating their hearts.
In this case, they often say a “life of faith is hard” because they’re trying by their own effort to live holy when they are actually believing/trusting (even a tad) in works-righteousness (the Law), which imparts condemnation to their hearts (2Cor 3:9). In other words, a person won’t live a holy life successfully if they are believing they’re condemned.
Right believing leads to right living.
In Paul’s situation, his desire was to live a holy life, but he discovered that he was shooting himself in the foot by trusting in the Law, which prevented him from living a life victorious over sin (Rom 7:9-11).
There are different faiths like I mentioned earlier. Any kind of “life of faith” is automatic for every person, but the QUALITY or type of faith is determined by the information a person FOCUSES on. For instance, there is pure faith, and then there is doubtful faith (an example: Peter who had faith in Jesus to walk on water but doubted and sank at the same time—Mt 14:30).
Jesus’ own “measure of faith” easily manifests in every person’s heart when the pure gospel is heard (Rom 12:3). God has created each one of us to be able to live an EFFORTLESS life of unadulterated faith in Him when we choose to look ONLY to Jesus as the way to have a relationship with God and to receive from Him.
Don’t forget that you BECOME what you consistently BELIEVE (2Cor 3:18).
As an example, God has created a chameleon to EASILY BECOME brown or green according to the environment it lives in, or what it “looks at,” in a sense.
That’s the way it really works for people too: when we focus our thoughts of God only through lens of the gospel of Jesus (and not trust also in poisonous law-mindedness, or contradictory earth-realm information and experiences), His gift of faith that He’s equipped every person with (Eph 2:8) automatically “pops out” in our lives as the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23)!
This is why the Word says faith in Him simply appears in our hearts when we hear the message of Jesus’ finished work (Rom 10:17). We don’t have to strain to manipulate our faith to do something when our spiritual vision is only on the Cross of Christ.
A life of faith in God is very tough “to do” when one listens to tumultuous windy teachings that can sound so wise (Eph 4:14), but at the root of such worthless teaching is trusting in man’s own willpower and philosophies which are actually WEAK (Col 2:20-23).
Since PURE faith in Jesus only appears in our hearts when we hear the PURE gospel, Jesus wisely warned us to BEWARE of the “yeast of the Pharisees,” who taught that good behavior (law-based teaching) is necessary to have a relationship with God. Jesus cautioned us that our pure faith in Him can get corrupted when we allow ourselves to trust in teachings that have even a teensy bit of law-mindedness (yeast).
Therefore, in order for our life of faith to benefit us, we need to diligently guard what we believe in our hearts (Prov 4:23) by only reflecting upon the message of Jesus’ finished work.
Don’t cave in to slick-sounding preachers who look like they have it all together because they have snazzy robes and tv programs and teach things like, “Sow your miracle seed today!”
Or, “Pray long and hard!”
Those ‘ministers’ are wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing – run away from them and their teaching which poisons your faith in Christ!
When we fight this good fight of faith by guarding what we hear and trust in, God promises that HIS-kind-of-faith will appear as EFFORTLESS fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and we won’t feel like our faith will only “work” if there’s a bulldozer pushing it.
1Sam 16:7 ESV, Prov 23:7 KJV, Prov 4:23 NKJV, Mt 12:33-34 NKJV, Rom 7:15 Phillips, Rom 6:14 NLT, 2 Cor 3:9 NCV, Rom 7:9-11 NLT, Mt 14:30-31 ESV, Rom 12:3 HCSB, 2 Cor 3:18 AMP, Eph 2:8 ESV, Gal 5:22-23 KJV, Rom 10:17 TLB, Eph 4:14 NLT, Col 2:20-23 CJB