What Actually Is ‘The Faith’?

Gary Wilkerson

Often believers don’t distinguish between faith and ‘The Faith.’ They may not sound like different things, and many believers treat them like they are the same, but they really are not. In scripture, we see a faith that believes in God for prayers to be answered and God’s presence to come down on us. Many of us only live with this kind of faith. “I have faith for the miracles and a revival in our country. I have faith to plant a church. I have faith to preach the Word of God with power and see the gospel spread to new places.”

Now all of those things are wonderful. In Jesus’ ministry, people came to him several different times and asked him for healing, and he told them, “Your faith has made you well” (see Matthew 9:22, Mark 10:52). We want that kind of faith in the church. It is what happens in our hearts when we let the Spirit move us and when we are believing for God to take action in our lives or the lives of people we love. There’s nothing wrong with this type of faith.

‘The Faith’ is also very powerful, though, and I suspect that it sometimes gets neglected in the church.

Often, Hebrews 11 gets read as a roadmap for believing for great things, the first kind of faith I mentioned. I would suggest to you that it’s not. Abraham never said, “You know what, God? I’m tired of being in this country. I’m believing that you’re going to make me a father of nations and my offspring will be as many as the stars.” He wasn’t believing for any of this, but God spoke to him, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you…” (Genesis 12:1-2, ESV).

That Word from God gave Abraham the faith to go out and obey. He had faith — ‘The Faith’ — given to him by God in order to obey God. If we’re a believer, we’ve been given this gift. We ought to often turn to God in awe of his holiness and goodness that makes such faith possible. ‘The Faith’ is our confidence in what Jesus has done for us, our willingness to be moved by him.

Our God vs Our Circumstances

John Bailey

Maybe you're struggling through some things today, and the circumstances are so far from ideal that you feel hopeless. I want to encourage you in this situation.

When I had just started a new church, we were put out of the facility we were at, so we had to move into part of this movie theater. Well, the movie theater was actually the perfect place for Easter because so many people showed up that our auditorium was full. I was really encouraged, thinking “God is definitely going to move today.” Now, you know at movie theaters they start the music around 45 minutes to an hour before a showing? I thought we would be fine because movies don’t typically play that early in the morning. Well, the times had changed for Easter.

We had the sermon, then I was coming to the altar call, and this automatic music comes up from the movie theater, and it’s loud. I don't listen to a lot of music, but the woman in this song is going on and on about shaking something in the club. Not exactly the music that you want rattling the walls as you make an altar call. I actually found out later it was Beyoncé. Anyway, this song is playing like it’s never going to end. I tried to make a few jokes. Anybody ever been in that place where you're trying to buy time? Finally, I gave up and just made the altar call. About 20 people asked Jesus to be their Savior with Beyoncé singing overhead.

God can do anything. We forget that so easily, especially when something goes wrong, when part of our plans fall off the rails. In those moments, we have to remember who God is and say with the writers of scripture, “Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17, ESV).

Maybe you’re in a season of a new beginnings, or you’re facing a dearly-held dream collapsing. No matter what situation you're in, I want to tell you that God can do powerful things through your life. He is not limited by your circumstances. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

A New Creature in Christ

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God’s Word boldly declares, ”I am crucified with Christ: it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV), and “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You may say, “I know I’m in Christ by faith. I realize I am a new creature, but I still struggle terribly with a habit. It makes me so discouraged.” Satan would love to convince you that God has given up on you. He wants you to think God sees you as dirty, filthy with sin. It's all a lie. What you're experiencing is the flesh battling against the Spirit in you. This battle is common to all believers, and when you're in the middle of it, Satan wants to convince you that the “old man” is still in control.

Here is the truth. No matter what your condition, God does not waver in his love for you. He never stopped loving Adam's race, despite all its wickedness, idolatry and lustful ways. He has preserved us throughout history to the last days when he stepped in with his rescue plan. God made it possible at the cross to redeem every one of us, Adam and all his descendants.

We must stand firm in the knowledge that our standing with God is based on one thing: we are victorious because of the cross. This victory doesn't come through any good thing you or I do. As Paul says, “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness” (Romans 8:8-10).

Our victory comes solely through repentance, faith, belief and trust in God's care for us. Our part is to stand firmly on the position he has graciously given us in Christ. His Word assures us, “You may fail at times. But when I look at you, I see only my Son, Jesus. You're going to come through this battle victorious, with no guilt and no condemnation.”

Where Do You Turn for Encouragement?

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

Where can you find Christians wholly devoted to the Lord who have easy, trouble-free lives? Show me a Spirit-led, God-filled follower of Christ, and I'll show you one who is chased, chastened, often baffled, and well-acquainted with deep waters and fiery furnaces.

Those who seek to avoid difficulties seldom get the revelation of God's fullness. They attempt to use faith to exempt themselves from crisis, not realizing they are robbing themselves of the greatest opportunity to find out what they are made of. Then one day when trouble inevitably shows up, they cave in, having no proven source of inner strength.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul prayed, “that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16 NKJV). He was saying that the Lord needs Christians who are not tossed about by every wind and wave of doctrine; who have discernment; who aren’t seeking out the next charismatic teacher with a “new revelation”; and who do not depend on others for their happiness and spiritual strength. He needs people who have been tested and demonstrate that the very life of God is in them. They draw their sustenance from their inner man who has been reborn through grace in Christ Jesus.

We can learn valuable lessons from King David's experience when he and his men came upon the utter devastation left behind by the Amalekites at Ziklag. Although his heart was anguished, “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). It is imperative that we also know how to encourage ourselves in the Lord so that we are prepared when trouble comes our way.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I beseech you to open your eyes to the mighty power of God at work in you, and to appropriate the completeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter what fiery furnace we may be cast into, our God will walk us through it.

God’s Promised Rest

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered his rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:9-10 NKJV). You may wonder, “What does it mean to enter this promised rest? What should it look like in my life?” Simply put, entering his promised rest means fully trusting that Christ has done all the work of salvation for you. You're to rest in his saving grace by faith alone. I pray that God will remove the scales from our eyes and allow us to truly understand this.

When Jesus urges, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28), he invites us to stop all fleshly striving and human efforts to obtain peace. He wants us to totally rely on him and his work for us.

Our battle is not against flesh and blood; it takes place in the spiritual realm. The Old Testament makes this crystal clear. Time after time, Israel made empty, futile promises to God: “We want to serve you, Lord. We'll do whatever you command us to do.” History proves they had neither the heart nor the ability to follow through on their word. God had to strip them of all faith in themselves.

Everything we need comes from our precious Lord. Paul states, “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us; for in him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’” (Acts 17:26-28). This speaks of uninterrupted fellowship. Through the victory of the cross, our Lord has made himself available to us every hour of the day and night.

We have to make a decision and say, “I want Christ in my life. I want to be set free from all flesh. I am therefore going to move forward into his presence and claim my possession. I want Jesus to be my all, my only source of satisfaction.”