Purposefully Use Your Faith?

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

 

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8 comments

  1. Thank you for posting this! It has really made me think what my faith means to me. Keep up the good work! if you have time, I would love it if you checked out my blog 🙂

    https://faithbeforetheworld.wordpress.com/

    1. Praise God!

      I am so thankful Amanda contributed and that her message impacted you, Ihe. She is willing to contribute again — so keep your eyes open for her posts on Land.

      I look forward to checking out your blog too!

      God bless you, beloved 🙂

  2. I may be misreading you, but I read part of this as saying that if anyone, including Paul, had enough faith, he would be able to…not sin? I’ve always read that as describing Paul’s struggle to live a worthy life as his loving response to Jesus. He ends with thanks for Jesus Who saves him from his sin in his dilemma.

    Did I indeed misunderstand you? I overall did enjoy the article!

    1. Jeffrey, hello! I am stoked you enjoyed Amanda’s message, overall.

      My apologies for not replying sooner. Something about how I read Amanda’s piece and your question confused me. I messaged her and relayed what you asked.

      So Amanda’s reply was in regards to the context of Paul’s address in Romans 7: Paul had enough faith, given that all that is required in Jesus is for us to have a mustard seed. But, what Paul discovered (and presented in Romans 7) is that being Law-minded (or that the “sin in his flesh” which is found in the unrenewed mind) was producing all kinds of poor behavior, “killing him.”

      I hope that answers your question.
      If not, we can dig deeper for sure. I’ve gotta work out some technical issues and get Amanda official access. My apologies for that too, lol.

      Good hands on training with the blogosphere happening 🙂

      1. Please don’t apologize! I’m so glad of your efforts to respond. Allow me to use a statement in your reply: The sin…which is found in the unrenewed mind. Is that meant to say that if one is renewed in the Spirit, if one has accepted Christ that they will no longer sin? Two stronger, more Spirit-filled men than Paul and Peter would be hard to find, yet the sinned and fought well past Pentecost. Were their minds unrenewed?

        I truly am not trying to argue. I’m seeking clarity. This verse is important to me as a sinner. I continue to sin, but I take some comfort in knowing that even Paul struggled as I do. If that makes any sense. There lies my concern. What do you think?

      2. Good morning, Jeffrey!

        No worries, I do not find your commentary to be in the tone of an argument. I understand that you are seeking clarity — me too 🙂

        I think it’s important to start by saying that both Amanda and I do not call ourselves “sinners” because we are in Christ. Abba Father does not call His adopted sons and daughters in Christ sinners (dual nature); instead (as we read in many introductions to the NT letters as Amanda reminded me) we are called saints (saved by His grace through Christ Jesus; IN Christ). But, it’s not only in the introductions to many NT letters, Paul points us to Christ, and Christ in us, again and again in his letters (which I believe are totally Holy Spirit inspired like all of the bible).

        I think there is still confusion about our identity in Christ collectively as the Body which is changing more and more.

        The more we renew the spirit of our mind in the word, the less we experience the reactions of the flesh (sin). But, even when we react in the flesh instead of respond by the Spirit (the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, producing the fruit — love, joy, peace, etc), our positional relativity never changes, we are in Christ always and never separated from God. We’ve only got one nature in Him and that’s His nature. Our true identity is in Him. We are being transformed into His likeness — which starts from the inside, from our spirit man, out — into our soul and body.

        Paul expressed the conflict he experienced in Rom 7 (and that we experience) when finding himself not focusing on Jesus, and Christ in him. Thinking, speaking, or acting from the flesh puts us back under the Law (which is also to say, the thinking that our righteousness is in anything other than JESUS, that who we are is based on what we do like works of the flesh, or performance to get something from God like His approval).

        When I experience myself getting in the flesh, I am comforted by the fact that I am one spirit with Jesus, and that my authentic self, my true identity, is not based on my behavior — good or bad.

        Like Paul said, this does not mean that grace gives us the “license to sin.” Just because I know I’m not losing salvation or blessedness or favor with God when I get in the flesh (like, as an example, behave really impatient with someone and start cussing them out), doesn’t mean I’m running around saying, Well, but it’s just my personality. I am not patient. But, God loves me and forgives me so it’s all good.

        No way! I hate being impatient, because I know that’s not who I really am, it’s not like Jesus (who I am one spirit with).

        In fact, I think a lot of the personality profiles (including astrology — and I t’aint talking about the little paragraph forecasts folks read in the dailies, lol) folks “live” by are poor excuses (especially for believers) for owning characteristics that do not align with the nature of God. I know they can be helpful, but most of them seem to be rooted in humanistic psychology (which is pretty worldly and self-involved).

        Paul and Peter were in earthen vessels, so yes, I believe they still experienced unrenewed minds, BUT, they had the foundational revelation of Christ in us and that He is our true identity. It’s all about Jesus. They encouraged us to keep focused on Him, and Christ in us. They stay focused on sin in the flesh.

        Jeffrey, I do get the comfort in knowing that Paul experienced internal conflict from time to time. My beloved brother, I totally get Peter out on the water walking towards JESUS and then being like, “Umm, I’m walking on water. Wait, that’s not possible.” And then starting to sink because he doubted.

        But, I praise God for the Holy Spirit who reminds me of what a patient Savior we have in Christ. He is tender and loving and gentle with His flock. His rod and His staff comfort us. He uses that rod to strike the enemy who tries to harm us and His staff to rescue us out from the cracks we fall into. He stretches His hand to us immediately — no hesitation, and when He asks us, Where is your faith, there is no anger or condemnation, no ridicule or meanness. He asks us because He knows and wants to show us by the power of His Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth and shows us things to come. We are bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh.

        His will is for us to believe just how real this is for us — we are not meant to experience a passive victorious life. We are new creatures in Christ, sharing in His power and authority for here and now.

        I believe, Lord, help my unbelief.

        I know it’s a long reply, but I got excited about Him — and for that, I never apologize 🙂

      3. Julissa, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write such a detailed answer to my questions. I see where we actually think alike, but our verbiage…and maybe perspective…are different. But again, think we agree. I really like the way you have explained this, and have found my understanding broadened on this point. Truly. Paul’s struggle in Romans has always been a source of comfort to me, but your interpretation/explanation is also comforting. Thank you for that! I feel so rewarded communicating with you and other Christians in these blogs! I read the Bible regularly and know it fairly well, but I am finding so many new perspectives! Again, thanks for your patience while I question and probe. God bless. I’ll be reading more of you!!

      4. God bless you, Jeffrey!

        I am also thankful, and excited, to encounter family in Christ sharing the Good News via blogs.

        What blessed encouragement 🙂

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