We must learn to grow in our Faith if we are ever going to know the true Power of God. Amen? Amen! That does not mean, however, that by praying long enough or "faithing" hard enough we will ever wrestle the Lord into doing what it is we think He should do. Faith that believes such a thing, is faith, but it's a faith that needs to grow. God wants to grow us in our faith. Like rungs on a ladder, God would have us to step up in our Faith.
Scripture suggests that there are different rungs or levels of Faith. In John 20:29 Jesus told Thomas who had just proclaimed Jesus as Lord after seeing Him "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Gods desire is for us to grow and mature in our Faith. To move from the shallow waters and into the deep. So just exactly what are these levels of Faith and just exactly how do we know were were at.
This is the "God I believe, so therefore do what I want done the way I want it done." We see this in John 4:46 when the noblemen seeks Jesus out on behalf of his sick son and tells Jesus what to do "heal my son" and how to do it "come down".
Classic first rung faith at work.
Today, if we are not careful, we can easily get stuck on this first rung faith. It's disguised in many different ways, but basically, God becomes a vending machine in heaven, and faith becomes the token that gets to the goodies. The goodies, what ever they may be, become the carrot on the stick and the "life of faith" is spent chasing those things in faith. Meetings become a way to bolstering the faith and keeping our eyes on the carrot and in some circles are accompanied by lots hype driven experience calling you into faith. Prayer simply becomes the channel of pressing God to work what is wanted in the way that it is wanted.
This level of faith is willing to listen for and submit to Gods path, but keeps our purpose at the end of the stick. When we have this faith, we have convinced ourselves that what we want is good and therefore God being good is going to bring about that good.
This faith still has a "I need it my way" flavor to it. I'll trust in Him, I'll do what He's asking me to do, because it's going to work out the way I want it. It's going to accomplish what I want, what I need, it's going to come around and bless me somehow. The goodies are different for all of us. Some get trapped in the health and wealth camp. Quickly minimizing our relationship with the Lord to something that has no more to offer then a fast track the dead end health and wealth pursuits of culture. Health and wealth are not bad in and of themselves, but are a very shallow pursuit. Are we in love with God, or money? Others have what we would consider to be more legitimate goodies. A marriage to be heeled, a son or a daughter to return to the Lord. Praise God that in His grace He allows us to see good things brought into fruition, but if the nature of my faith is set only on seeing good things happen, then I'm missing it. Prayer becomes nothing more then a channel for petitioning my purposes while listening for His path. Praise is nothing more than what I do to get me though the problems and into those purposes. What's wrong with that you ask? Well my purpose is still the carrot on the end of the stick, and I'm simply using God to obtain my purpose.
In our relationship with God we are asked to bring Him our requests and are challenged to pray big prayers, because we serve a big God. While we are praying those big prayers, we are to have as the foundation of those prayers, the deepest level of Faith.
The Bible teaches that there is a much more worthy level of Faith…
Sometimes the good in Romans 8 is wrapped up so deeply in the purposes of God that we're never even able to see it on this side of heaven.
Things will happen that do not make sense! We don't understand. Things that go against our purposes, our plans. Do we have faith then? Do we allow His purposes to override ours? Do we become discontent because we do not have what we want, or do we find ourselves content with just Him?
True faith will let God and God alone be more then enough! This faith moves us past needing our path to be fallowed or our purposes to be meet, and into simply needing God. Satisfied with Him and Him alone.
This is why you see Paul in prison singing worship to the Lord. His praise was not born out an ambition for motivating God to get him out of prison. His praise was born out of contentment! Contentment not with the circumstances but simply in the person and the presence of Jesus. rom Knowing Him, having Him in his heart.
Hebrews 11 is know as the hall of faith and in it we find all these amazing things done by so many in faith. Starting in verse 8 you read of all the goodies and say, "oh that is so good"! Subduing kingdoms, walls falling, paths made where there were none, stopping the mouths of lions. Yes! Bring on the faith! But wait what's that?
" All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith…"
This is total abandonment Faith. No longer imposing my demands and my purposes, but simply requesting as I seek Him, trust Him and Need Him…. Way past the "as long as it goes the way I want" faith and into "as long as I have Him" faith. God no matter what things look like, or how it turns out, I will trust in you!
Yes, here are my hopes, here are my dreams and desires, but I surrender them all to you and trust you no matter what!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego exemplified this kind of faith when facing the fiery furnace. In Daniel 3:17 the boys tell the King "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver usfrom Your Majesty's hand." He is able, and He will deliver us!
Now keep reading… verse 18 "But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." Wait a minute! Of course God wants to deliver the boys, right? Is that a lapse in faith? The answer is "no", the boys are modeling for us the deepest level of faith. The "but if not faith"
"Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you." Jeremiah 32:17
IN AMERICA I BELIEVE THE BASIC QUESTION IS; DO YOU LOVE GOD MORE THAN YOU LOVE STUFF? MATERIALISM IS A DISEASE, AND WE HAVE WRECKED OUR ECONOMY BECAUSE WE ARE FOCUSED ON STUFF AND NOT ON WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT.