Faith is the most fundamental doctrine (instruction) that God has written on our hearts. To mature as christians, we must have a complete and correct understanding of faith. Mature faith is not imparted. Faith is grown from a seed (the word of God – the ONLY seed) and matured (proven) over time through trial and test. This is NOT going to be a short, “get faith quick” study. Consider these statements:
- By faith, the human race was spared utter destruction by a flood.
- By faith, nations rise and fall.
- By faith wars have been won.
- By faith, some families are torn apart while others are reconciled.
- By faith, some willingly give their lives, or live as outcasts. While others, by faith, live long, peaceful lives.
- By faith, the minds of sinful men are caused to repent and turn towards a righteous God.
How do we reconcile those statements? Consider these scriptures:
- There is “One Lord, one faith…one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. .” (Eph 4:5-6)
- We are to serve YHVH to edify one another with sincerity, truth and love “Till we all come in the unity of the faith…” (Eph 4:13)
- Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him (this is why faith is so important!!): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is (evidence of things not seen), and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (substance of things hoped for).
The effects of true faith are beyond human reason. Yet for all it’s vast implications, it is truly the most simple concept:
Faith is simply “such belief in YHVH that produces absolute trust and obedience”. Or even simpler: Faith is “being faithful”.
Without sound definition and correct application, faith becomes a tool used to manipulate and coerce others, an excuse for disobedience, and at worst an attempt to manipulate YHVH Himself all to satisfy our own desires apart from the will of YHVH.
What Is Faith?
The Word itself has a definition that most everybody knows well. Let’s step through Hebrews 11 and 12 and take a look at Faith:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is (evidence of things not seen), and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (substance of things hoped for).
Faith is the concept of believing/trusting in who He is (understanding/knowing His character) which causes you to submit to His will (follow His instructions). When you seek His character/His face, or who He is (Love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, etc), you are rewarded with the hope of salvation, redemption, and the hope of realizing the many promises YHVH has proclaimed in His word.
Heb 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
obtained a good report – martureo – mar-too-reh’-o – to be a witness, to testify to, give evidence
Through their faith (their faithfulness), the elders through the writings testify to us/show us/witness to us that YHVH IS, and show how He rewarded them. Imagine that – the elders remained faithful to YHVH, and it is now a witness to us!
Heb 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
worlds – aion – ahee-ohn’ – an age; present or future, course, span of time (we get the word ‘eon’ from that)
framed – katartizo – kat-ar-tid’-zo – to complete thoroughly, that is, restore
We are not talking about creation here. The writer of Hebrews is getting ready to list heroes of the faith throughout the ages, and he starts off with the above statement. This statement is laying the foundation that YHVH’s plan throughout the ages was to use simple men with simple faith (faithfulness) to chart the course of history. Verses 2 and 3 go together:
Heb 11:2-3 For by it (faith, faithfulness) the elders obtained a good report (a witness – the report or witness that the writer of Hebrews is about to show us throughout the rest of this chapter). Through faith (faithfulness) we understand that the worlds (ages) were framed (completed thoroughly, restored) by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (by faith we understand that God did all of this….)
Now let’s examine the examples that helped the writer of Hebrews form this concept.
Ref: Gen 4:3 -7 <—Don’t skip these references….go read them!!!
Heb 11:4 By faith (being faithful to YHVH’s instructions) Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
Abel obeyed YHVH; he brought the correct, acceptable sacrifice, that was more excellent than Cain’s sacrifice. This is what it means to “diligently seek Him” (vs 6) – knowing and understanding what was required, i.e. what pleased God and following through.
Abel clearly believed that “YHVH is”, and was counted righteous because of it. The reward of his faith (his faithfulness, his obedience) was “the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering” (Gen 4:4)
YHVH Himself testified (bore witness) of Abel’s faith (his faithfulness) by accepting his gift (sacrifice). Abel has been dead for ages, but his faith (his faithfulness) is still a witness of YHVH’s character.
Abel believed that “YHVH is” and trusted that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. Abel “diligently sought” YHVH by offering an acceptable sacrifice. Because of his faith (belief, trust, obedience – faithfulness to YHVH’s instructions), his sacrifice was accepted, which became a witness still spoken of today. We cannot readily see YHVH or his character, but we can understand it because we have the witness of it through Abel (things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.)
Faith is really that simple!
Refs: Gen 5:22-24; Jud 1:14 -15
Heb 11:5 By faith (because of his faithfulness) Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God (Enoch followed YHVH’s instructions).
Enoch obeyed God by fulfilling the role of a prophet. He spoke hard but necessary words to the people of his time. This is “believing that He is” and “diligently seeking Him” – which produces obedience.
His faith (faithfulness, his obedience) pleased God so much that the writer of Hebrews says Enoch did not see death. This was his reward, and also his witness. Again, we cannot readily see YHVH or his character, but we can understand it because we have the witness of it through Enoch (things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.)
Refs: Gen 6 – 9:17
Heb 11:7 By faith (faithfulness to YHVH’s instructions) Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear (believed YHVH enough to act on His instructions), prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
Gen 6:13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. (this was in the future, for Noah this was the “things not seen”)
Gen 6:22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
This is how Noah acted: believing that “He is” and “diligently seeking Him” which produced obedience. His obedience WAS the evidence (witness or testimony) of things not seen (YHVH said He would bring the flood in vs 13).
YHVH Himself was a witness to Noah’s faith which produced righteousness:
Gen 7:1 And YHVH said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
How did Noah’s faith save him? Noah trusted (was faithful to) YHVH’s word. He built the ark, according to the instructions YHVH gave him, and patiently waited. Noah waited for around 100 years for YHVH’s word to come to fruition. BUT, during that time he warned others of the coming doom:
2Pe 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
Noah’s reward for “diligently seeking Him” is found here:
Gen 9:9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you
Heb 11:7 By faith (faithfulness to YHVH’s instructions) Noah (remember Heb 11:7 says he was “moved with fear”, he knew who YHVH is, which produced obedience)… condemned the world (through his witness, his faithfulness), and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith (righteousness that comes by faithfulness to YHVH).
The 100 years or so that Noah spent building the ark was done out of belief that caused obedience. He trusted that YHVH would keep him as He had promised. Through this faith (belief, trust, obedience – faithfulness) Noah survived the flood and YHVH’s covenant was made with His people. This became yet another witness that “YHVH is,” and also points to His character. We cannot readily see YHVH or his character, but we can understand it because we have the witness of it through Noah (things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.)
Ref: Gen 12:1-4
Heb 11:8 By faith (faithfulness) Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Abraham believed that “YHVH is” so much it produced trust and obedience. He left the worship of other gods, his family and the inheritance of his earthly father to follow YHVH. In Gen 12:7 Abraham is promised an inheritance. (also Gen. 13:15-17; 15:7-8)
Abraham believed that YHVH is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him:
Heb 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
By faith (trust, belief, obedience – faithfulness) Abraham sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles (tents) with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
Heb 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Abraham trusted YHVH even though he never saw the promise (Heb 11:13), and YHVH even told him that his descendants would endure 400 years of slavery:
Gen 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
Would our faith (faith as we define it today) stand through 400 years of slavery? Would we cry out to YHVH for deliverance and begin to make excuses when He didn’t answer our prayer how we thought He should?
Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
…just like Abraham said in Gen 23:4…
Heb 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
…being faithful (having faith, using your faith, exercising your faith – whatever you call it) doesn’t mean you always get what you want. It means you believe YHVH so much that the answer to your prayer doesn’t matter:
Heb 11:15-16 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
These people trusted in a promise that they never saw. The fact that they didn’t see the fulfilment of the promise didn’t shake their faith in YHVH. They believed Him anyway.
Heb 11:17-19 By faith (through faithfulness) Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Remember, Abraham’s loins were dead and Sarah’s womb was dead. Issac WAS the evidence of the promise that Abraham has based his faith (faithfulness) on. Abraham’s belief/trust in YHVH was so great that he trusted Him to fulfill the promise that was given to him. The promise was that the covenant between YHVH and man that had been established through Noah would continue on through Abraham and his son Isaac. Abraham trusted YHVH so much he was willing to obey YHVH when He asked him to sacrifice the son of the promise.
Ref: Gen 22:1-17
Great faith is not ‘imparted’. Great faith is grown by repeated test and trial. Faith is like a teabag. It’s activated when it’s in hot water.
Abraham’s faith (faithfulness) had grown from the time he left home until the point he offered Isaac. We know this because of the times his faith (faithfulness) faltered. An example of his faltering faith (faithfulness) is the times that he lied about Sarai being his sister. (Gen 12:10-20 and Gen 20:1-18) Those lies came out of a lack of faith and trust. This lack led to disobedience in that he gave a false witness of who his wife was. Had YHVH given him a son somewhere in the middle of this and asked Abraham to sacrifice him, Abraham might have tried to find some way to get out of it. He would not have had the witness he had over 50 years later.
Through trials and tests Abraham’s faith (belief, trust, and obedience – faithfulness) was proved and grown. Through 62 years we are able to follow Abraham’s life. From the time he began to follow YHVH until the death of his wife, Abraham went from beginner sized faith to faith that trusts YHVH with the life of his only son – the son that was given to him from the dead loins of a man 100 yrs old, and the dead womb of a woman 90 years old.
The sacrifice of Isaac was a huge test of faith (test of faithfulness), and Abraham passed. He trusted that YHVH would “make all things work for benefit..according to YHVH’s purpose” (Rom 8:28), even if it meant that after sacrificing his son, his son would be raised from the dead (the writer of Hebrews surmises in Heb 11:19). Abraham was determined to obey regardless of what he saw, and regardless of the outcome.
Abraham’s faith (faithfulness) obtained a witness (produced evidence) of the character and desires of YHVH. YHVH desires that we serve Him because we trust Him. YHVH’s character is that He keeps His promises and uses trials to grow our faith in (our faithfulness to) Him, proving to us that His timing is best and His ways are not ours. We cannot readily see YHVH or his character directly, but we can begin to understand it because we have the witness of it through Abraham (again, this is an example of “things which are seen were not made of things which do appear”.)
Suggested Reading: Take time to read the stories of each person listed in Heb 11. Each person may have had failures, but each showed great faith (faithfulness) by belief, trust and obedience. This is NOT a short, “get faith quick” study!
Heb 11:28 Through faith (by faithfulness) he (Moses) kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
(Ref: Exo 11,12) It was God Himself that killed the firstborn in Egypt that night. God could have simply spared the firstborn of each household Israel, but He didn’t; He required that they obey His command to place the blood on the doorpost and eat the Passover meal. It was belief in YHVH’s word sent through Moses that produced obedience that shows the faith (faithfulness) that protected the Israelites.
Heb 11:29 By faith (through faithfulness) they (the Israelites) passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
(Ref: Ex 14) When the children of Israel reached the Red Sea, Moses followed YHVH’s instructions. Again, belief in what YHVH said (His instructions) produced obedience which is faith.
Heb 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
(Ref: Josh 6) Joshua believed the word of YHVH sent by His messenger, so he obeyed. Do you see the pattern? At the end of this story this is written about Joshua:
Jos 6:27 So YHVH was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.
Final thoughts on Heb 11
Heb 11:24-27 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ (the ridicule that comes from separating yourself to YHVH) greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
Moses, being chosen or anointed by God, just like Jesus, endured persecution and reproach not only from the authorities at the time, but also from the people.
DON’T MISS THIS LESSON FROM HEBREWS 11:
Heb 11:32-35 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again:
WooHoo!!! Look at the great and mighty things YHVH has done for His people who trust completely in Him!!!! But it doesn’t stop there. There were some who had great faith, but DID NOT receive deliverance:
Heb 11:35-40 … and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us (the understanding of faith given to us through their trials — for us!!), that they without us (those who are dead already) should not be made perfect (die in such ways).
In other words: God used their circumstances to teach us what faith is. Sometimes our trials are not for US directly, they are for someone else…
Can our modern definition of faith stand up to these kinds of tests? Consider these heroes of faith the next time you are tempted to NOT pray the will of God, or when you tell God that you do NOT accept a situation, or you feel the need to pray for selfish entitlements. These types of prayers INHIBIT the growth of faith. None of the heroes of faith or even the Messiah himself prayed such prayers. Are you hurting your walk with God and potentially your witness by your lack of faith?
Faith in the NT
If you have not read Part 1, then stop now and go back. You cannot understand Part 2 if you have not read Part 1.
Between the OT and NT, the definition of faith has not changed. The proof of this is the fact that the NT writer of Hebrews 11 used OT examples to point to the definition of faith.
Here are 3 examples from the NT concerning faith:
The Temptation of Jesus
This is found in Matthew 4:1-11; also in Luke 4:1-13
Mat 4:1-4 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Jesus is quoting Deu 8:3:
Deu 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
YHVH made the children of Israel to hunger when they were wandering in the wilderness. There was a purpose for this – to grow their faith – so that they would know that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of YHVH – so they would know who their provider was.
Jesus had fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. If Jesus turns the stones into bread, he is not trusting YHVH to provide for him. He would then begin trusting in himself, or in the bread itself for his survival. By quoting Deu 8:3 Jesus is proving to the tempter His faith (His faithfulness to the Word of YHVH) by remembering everything that happened to Israel and how YHVH cared and provided for them. (Suggested Reading Deut. 8:1-20)
Mat 4:5-7 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Deu 6:16)
Jesus went to the topmost corner of the Temple where the tempter twisted the meaning of this scripture:
Psa 91:11-12 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
This scripture was cherry-picked to get the meaning the devil wanted. If Jesus had fallen for this trick, he would have disobeyed YHVH. How?
YHVH did not tell Jesus to throw Himself down in the courtyard where hundreds of people would have witnessed the miracle of Him surviving the fall. YHVH had another plan. So instead, Jesus responded by untwisting the scripture. He may have thought: “Certainly, YHVH will give his angels charge over me, but I must not tempt him.” He was thinking of the example in Exo 17, referenced by the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:16.
Deu 6:16-18 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. (See Exo 17) Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee.
Exo 17:7 And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah (testing and quarrel/provocation/strife), because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?
The point is that Jesus’ did not try to take matters in His own hands. Sure YHVH could have done a miracle, but YHVH had not given Jesus a specific direction here. Instead Jesus showed His faith (His faithfulness to YHVH) by not assuming what YHVH might want, and instead trusting YHVH’s exact instruction and remembering what He had learned of His Father.
Mat 4:8-10 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
This time, Jesus went to the highest mountain to look out as far as He could see. The tempter offered him the power to rule all he could see if Jesus would just bow down and worship him. He is trying to divert His belief in YHVH.
Remember, Jesus was raised his entire life learning about the coming Messiah, and how the Messiah would deliver the Israelites from oppression. This was the promise that every Jew was waiting for. Think of what must have been going through Jesus’ mind. He now knew He was the Messiah, so if He walked into any of these kingdoms and proclaimed who He was under His own power, the people could rally to His cause and soon He could rule over all. This was a real temptation for Him.
Instead, Jesus’ response was simple trust, belief and obedience in YHVH:
Deu 10:20-21 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.
Jesus was tempted to march in and take over, but instead He chose to wait and to trust YHVH.
The tempter tested all 3 aspects of faith – Belief, trust, and obedience. Jesus – our example – defeated him with scripture, the very Word of YHVH which He trusted and believed producing submission and obedience. In other words, Jesus was faithful to YHVH, or as we would say, Jesus used his faith.
Jesus’ Prayers in the Garden
Ref: Mat 26:36-44
Jesus shows his faith (belief, trust and obedience – faithfulness) through this prayer. Three times he prayed the same thing. Each time his prayer showed his carnal desire (vs 38: My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death) to have “this cup” taken from him, but it also showed his greater desire (the desire of His heart Psa 37:4) – to do the will of his Father.
Lord, Increase Our Faith
Luk 17:5-10 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
Jesus responds to the apostle’s request “Lord, increase our faith” with a short, two point sermon. What is He trying to teach with these two points? This is some hard, direct truth:
Point 1: The Mustard Seed By contrasting the power of what YHVH can do with a mustard seed, Jesus is taking the focus off of faith and putting it on YHVH. The power of YHVH does not lie in the amount of faith we have. YHVH’s power comes from YHVH alone. Jesus is trying to get them to understand that what YHVH desires is for His people to be willing and obedient, and trust YHVH no matter what. That concept is so simple and basic – like a mustard seed. If you can perfect that level of faith, then you will indeed become a tool meet for the masters use (2Ti 2:21)
Point 2: The Master and the Servant The idea here is that the master does not become a debtor to the servant no matter how much work the servant does. Just because we go about doing what we are supposed to do, i.e. having faith (being faithful), trusting and obeying, doesn’t obligate YHVH in any way. It is by His grace we have the opportunity to have faith (be faithful) in the first place. There are examples where God chose to change His mind when one of His people prayed a “faithful, (full of faith defined correctly)” prayer; but that was His choice. He was not obligated to answer any certain way. There are also examples where God denied a request, such as Paul’s prayer to remove his “thorn in the flesh”
2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Similarly, when we are tempted to doubt or be discouraged because our prayers are not answered like we expect, and we wonder where the love of God is, remember John 3:16. The lesson is “I already showed my love like this: I sent my only son for you. My grace is sufficient in this situation.”
Instead, we are always in His debt. We will never be able to pay this debt, nor are we ever meant to. We will always be dependent on grace, and we will be subject to His will. We will never work our way out of debt to the place where God is in our debt or that He should owe us anything.
Rom 11:35-36 … who first gave to Him, and it will be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things; to Him be glory forever! Amen
Remember, the apostle’s request was “Increase our faith (faithfulness!)”; Jesus concludes by saying: “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants (we are owed nothing): we have done that which was our duty to do.”
In other words, faith is increased by doing (and finding contentment in) what we are supposed to do, (what YHVH has commanded us) – Believing, Trusting, Obeying – being faithful to Him – THAT IS FAITH!
Carnal Faith vs Spiritual Faith
Correct Faith (in spirit and truth, i.e. correct motivation and understanding) has God as the object.
We must not have faith in our own desires, dreams, etc
Men’s hearts are inherently evil:
Jer 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I Jehovah search the heart, I try the reins, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.
In order to accept the covenant YHVH offers man, we must die with the Messiah, and be reborn a new being. We, as this new being, are not our own, but are rather bought with a price. This means our dreams, desires, opinions, plans, etc all die on the cross with the Messiah and we submit to the will of YHVH. Can YHVH use our dreams and talents for His glory? Sure. Will He? That is up to Him. His ways are higher than ours. (Isa 55:8-9)
We must not have faith in our words
Faith in your words takes the focus away from YHVH and puts it in yourself and your ability. Words by themselves are meaningless. Just as Jesus showed when tempted, only words spoken from a broken and contrite heart of obedience glorify the Father. All other ‘words’ glorify self.
Lam 3:37 Who is able to say a thing, and give effect to it, if it has not been ordered by the Lord?
Jas 4:13-16 How foolish it is to say, Today or tomorrow we will go into this town, and be there for a year and do business there and get wealth: When you are not certain what will take place tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist, which is seen for a little time and then is gone. But the right thing to say would be, If it is the Lord’s pleasure and if we are still living, we will do this and that. But now you go on glorying in your pride: and all such glorying is evil.
We must not have faith in our prayers.
Jas 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Just because we pray 3 times a day with many tears doesn’t mean anything. God looks on the heart. See Lk 18:9-14. (The Pharisee and the Publican) Also, YHVH is not moved by repeated words or chants:
Mat 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
We must not have faith in our faith
Mar 11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
To rely on the power or the amount of our own faith puts the source of power as us and not YHVH. What is the need for YHVH if we can do it ourselves? We must have faith IN YHVH alone.
Faith trusts God even when we do not get the answer we want or seem to need.
Compare with the following verses:
Psa 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
If your delight is TRULY in YHVH, are your desires going to be for “stuff”? Self? Vain ambitions?
Psa 37:5-7 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth (wealth, cars, houses, fame???? no…He will bring:) thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: (THAT’s FAITH) fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Don’t get me wrong here. Sometimes the correct answer from YHVH might be material things, even miraculous things, but you should not trust in that. You should trust that YHVH knows what is best, even if it is simply a lesson in patience while your world falls apart around you.
Mat 21:21-22 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith (if you remain faithful no matter what), and doubt not (do not doubt that YHVH knows what is best), ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer (submission to YHVH, according to His instructions), believing (being faithful to YHVH), ye shall receive.
Mar 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
1Jn 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
1Jn 5:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
All scripture must agree. One example verse that demonstrates the key to “getting the desires of your heart”:
Jas 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
“Ask amiss” does not mean “asking in an incorrect fashion.” It means that you ask for something for the wrong reason, apart from the instructions of YHVH. “Consume it upon your lusts” means “for selfish reasons,” not that you are “asking in the wrong way”, i.e. not believing hard enough or not ‘faithing’ enough.
Verses like Psalms 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” as well as a few of the others above are too often “cherry-picked” by too many, read out of context, not defined completely, and have now been the foundations of many false doctrines.
These verses do not detail how we get what we want from YHVH. Instead these verses are YHVH’s words instructing us what we SHOULD desire. Scripture time and again shows us that we are to desire what He gives us, not how to manipulate YHVH into giving us what we desire.
If you truly “Delight yourself in the Lord,” will you really desire anything selfish? Of course not, because “delighting ourselves in Him” means we are becoming more like Him. As we become more like Him, what upsets Him upsets us, what brings Him joy brings us joy, and His desires become our desires. Then and only then will we see the desires of our heart, because we have crucified the old man and are praying His heart.
- In God we are to: trust, wait, rest, delight, commit, know, have patience.
- If we delight in Him, if HE is our desire, guess what we receive: Our Desire – HIM. (This is our inheritance and our reward)
- Faith (faithfulness) blesses us with:: His peace, His safety, His stability, His provision, His guidance, His protection, His deliverance, a foundation solid as a rock, a certain future, a refuge, strength, no worry, no lack.
Through faithfulness, He will give you the desires of your heart: Him.
A selfish prayer (carnal faith) desires the promises because it was promised. A faithful servant desires YHVH, and as a result gains the promise.
Luk 12:22-32 … Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
What is the kingdom?
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Jesus also said:
Luk 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Doesn’t that sound exactly like “delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart?” No “speaking” our own reality. No declaring. No claiming. No positive confessions. Just plain and simple truth:
Mic 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth YHVH require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Pro 3:5-6 Trust in YHVH with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
The bottom line is that faith is not God’s people creating their own reality by the strength of their own will, fervency of belief, zeal, positive confession, “declaring” what we want, etc.
Faith is simply being faithful to YHVH. Faith is such belief in YHVH that it produces trust and obedience.