We began discussing the spiritual gift of faith. Before we can get into understanding the supernatural gift that comes through the Holy Spirit, we need to understand a little bit about faith in general and what it is NOT.
According to Hebrews 11:1-3, faith is the connection between the unseen promises of God and the "seen" world we live in. But operating and living by faith is much more than just confessing the Word or "naming it an claiming it." To understand what faith is, we need to understand what it isn't. We all speak and create based on what we believe and have faith in, but we need to speak and create what is in the Word. Many people think they are living by faith, but are actually living in foolishness of presumption.
Foolishness would be belief that you can obtain the promises using your own method or that following God’s principles is unimportant. The example we looked at was of King Saul in I Samuel 13. He set out to do the right thing, but got impatient waiting for Samuel (the man of God) to do what he promised. So he took things into his own hands and did what he thought was good to do. But it was NOT what he was supposed to do. When Samuel arrives he rebukes Saul and tells him that he has acted foolishly.
Presumption is receiving the Word of God but stepping out beyond the faith that is in you (faith in your faith). Many times it happens because we think we have earned the promises — I've prayed and confessed and I give my tithes and serve at the church, so God will do ________. This is not faith in God, but faith in our own faith. We forget that the breakdown is not in God not doing things but things hindering us from receiving what has already been done. We do not earn the promises of God. They HAVE been given. What we do is live by the principles that produce the promised results.
The example we looked at was with the Israelites in Joshua 7. They had just defeated
by following God's instructions. God had told them that all of the plunder from
belonged to Him (they would get all of the plunder from all the future
victories), but, unbeknownst to Joshua, someone had taken some of the plunder
for himself. Then, Jericho
Joshua sent a force onto Ai and they were defeated. We can look at that defeat and think that God punished them for withholding something that belonged to Him. However, God did not tell them to go to Ai. Joshua, in his overconfidence from defeating
so easily, went out beyond what God told Him to do. God does not set us up for defeat to teach us
a lesson. He didn't tell the Israelites to go to Ai, but they decided to go.
After Joshua dealt with the "sin in his camp," God then told him to
go to Ai. This time they routed Ai. In fact, God used the mistake they made the
first time to their advantage to bring victory. God uses our mistakes to our
advantage if we will allow Him to. That
does not mean that God meant for them to be defeated in order to be victorious
later, but instead God used their defeat to bring victory when they operated in
and followed God’s direction. Jericho
So, we don’t want to operate in foolishness or presumption. We want to operate in faith. We began looking at Abraham's faith. He finally obtained the promise when, at 99 years old (and after making mistakes), he came to the conclusion that it was impossible for him to obtain the promise on his own. It was then that he knew that only God could make it come to pass. It was in that same year that he finally had the child God promised — Isaac. The more impossible the promise became, the greater faith Abraham had to believe God would do it. Often we do the opposite and let our faith wane when it goes beyond our ability. When we know we have to do something we can't do on our own, we know God has to do it.
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