Learning to Workout in Your Spiritual Gym. 

One of the most challenging things I heard in Bible College was this:

Most people have not used their faith since they received Salvation. 

At first this was offensive to me.  I thought who was he to make such a statement in class.  But, by the moving of the Holy Spirit, I knew he was right.  Yes, I used my faith for emergencies, or when I needed a parking place in a hurry.  But did I use my faith as Jesus commanded me?  Did I truly understand faith?  Did I understand all that was included when I received the “measure of faith?”
So like many of my previous posts, I am going to try to tackle a most misunderstood issue and make it as simple and practical as I can.  I plan to do a two or three part series on faith.

What is Faith?

In Christian teaching this is the favorite and most often quoted verse of all when it comes to faith:

Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (NKV)

This however, is not my favorite verse on faith.  Although I have been to Bible College, I still like to break down the issue of faith to make it simpler.

In the New Living Translation, I found a verse that I have mediated on for years. It is so simple.

Romans 4:20-21 –  Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise.  In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.  He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything He promised.

He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything He promised

I will share it again.  What is faith?  Being absolutely convinced that God is able to do anything He promises.  I will simply say that faith is taking God at His Word.  If God said it, it is true and valid.  That is a check you can take to the bank and cash.

When you mediate on Romans 4 and see what Abraham did it was truly amazing.  Abraham was a 75 year old man who was married to Sarah for approximately 60 years.  She was barren, unable to conceive.  But Abraham believed God and took God at His word when He said they were going to have a child.  Then for whatever reasons, God waited another 25 years before fulfilling His promise to Abraham.  In verse 20, the Bible says that year after year Abraham never doubted God but instead grew stronger and stronger in faith.  He believed God so much that it did not matter how long it took for the promise to manifest.  Abraham was like a child waiting for Christmas morning.  The child knows on that day the tree will be loaded with gifts.  Every day that passes to the child, it is a day closer to that wonderful day.  That was how Abraham and Sarah demonstrated their faith in God’s Word.

Roman Centurion 

Then in Matthew 8, Jesus meets a Roman Centurion.  The Centurion’s great faith had a powerful impact on Jesus.

If you are not familiar with the passage, a Roman soldier (an enemy of the Jewish people) came to Jesus for Jesus to heal his servant.  Jesus offered to go to his home which was a great offense for a  jewish person.  They were not to enter a gentile’s home, but Jesus offered anyway.

Matthew 8:8,  The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.  But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.

What made this man’s faith so great that Jesus marveled at it?  Ready for some super theology?  He took Jesus at his word!  He believed without a doubt.  If Jesus said it, it was as good as done.  He knew the capabilities of Jesus.  He believed that whatever Jesus said would be done.  In verse 13 – Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

Remember this from the passage, the centurion asked Jesus (who had the power) and the soldier (believed it).  Jesus did his part and in verse 13 in the New Living Translation it states:  Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go on home.  What you believed has happened. 

What I want you to see in this first lesson is that faith is a two way process.  God has the power to save, to heal, to deliver and protect you, but then you have to believe, and be fully convinced that God can and will do all he promised.

Secondly you must read what the Bible actually says, not just what you believe the Bible says.  I once heard some good advice from a world class preacher.  If you are not sure what to believe, just look at what Jesus did.  Look at His actions, at how he dealt with people and their sicknesses and how he protected the disciples in the boat.   Look at how He took care of the needs of the people when they were hungry or demon possessed.  That is a picture of what God is like.  Jesus said it!  If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.  Why?  Because Jesus and the Father God are one!

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