Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth century priest, famously said, ‘Many things are possible for the person who has hope. Even more things are possible to the person who has faith. And still more is possible for the person who knows how to love. But everything is possible for the person who practices all three virtues’. One who loves God and His creation is enlightened and strengthened by God to fulfill His Divine will on earth to turn such a one into an overcomer.
Faith defined – The end times is a period of life lived in faith. Lord Jesus taught the disciples about the end times that then false prophets will deceive and many will lose faith but ‘he who endures to the end will be saved’ for only faith will help all believers to overcome (Matthew 24:10-13). Faith does not mean having answers to every question but it is about courage to live with and face uncertainty. It means having the courage to open the heart before God and asking Him all questions and wrestling with Him to get the answers and not letting go like He does not leave us.
As per Amplified Bible translation, ‘Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed – of the things (we) hope for, being the proof of things (we) do not see and the conviction of their reality – faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses (Hebrews 11:1).
We see each word separately – Greek word ‘pistis’ or faith is to be persuaded of what is trustworthy and it is from the Lord. Apostle Paul terms faith as a gift from God through the Holy Spirit and this God given faith then persuades a believer into obedience (1 Corinthians 12:9).
Assurance or ‘hypostasis’ is where ‘hypo’ means under and ‘stasis’ is from ‘histemi’ or ‘to stand. In its entirety it means to properly possess or stand under a guaranteed agreement (title deed) to a promise of property like an evidence of legal standing as a document of assured entitlement. For a believer hypostasis is the Lord’s guarantee to fulfill the given faith since God gives us the entitlement to what He grants faith for.
Next is hope and Greek word ‘elpizo’ means to hope, actively waiting for God’s fulfillment about faith that He has in-birthed through the power of His love (Galatians 5:6). This word comes from the root word ‘elpis’ meaning ‘to anticipate, usually with pleasure’.
So faith is the title deed of things hoped for and the Holy Spirit helps us to grow in faith. When we exercise this Holy Spirit driven faith in Lord Jesus, He puts this title deed in our hands guaranteeing the possession of the thing that we trusted Him for. Faith is therefore the invisible foundation on which the building stands but it supports that which is visible and though it is itself invisible yet true. Faith is a gift of God and not earned by us (1 Corinthians 12:9). Lord Jesus promised the Holy Spirit as our Comforter, teacher and guide and we receive Him by faith (John 14:26). Many start looking for signs of the presence of God making it synonymous with the blessing of speaking in tongues. How can anyone believe anything in the Scripture without the Holy Spirit leading him?
It is God’s grace, not our faith that saves us. In His Divine mercy He gives us faith, a relationship with His Son and through faith I believe that He died for me and through His resurrection He has opened a way for me also to enter heaven where a place is already made ready by Him. As I walk in faith and pray, I take in my hand the promised title deed that God hears me when I stand in the shadow of the glory of my Savior Lord and He is ready to give me what I ask Him (Matthew 7:7-8). Faith is not about asking and receiving but about developing a close relationship with my Provider, Yehowah Yireh. The registration certificate of my car is the assurance of my ownership of that. My faith is the similar title deed that God holds in His custody and it is God given ownership of my hopes. Nobody can take it out of God’s hands and I can claim the results of that from God. I declare in faith that ‘The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him’ (Lamentations 3:24). When I surrender to Lord Jesus as my Redeemer it becomes a two way transaction – on the one end He makes me His own by making me a part of His heavenly family while on the other side He becomes mine giving me hope of fulfillment of all His promises.
‘The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’ and this request was made by them after having been with Him and seen the many miraculous works that he performed (Luke 17:5). Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks says, ‘The greatest source of sin is to forget that we are children of the King. We say ‘Avinu Malkeinu’ –Our Father, our King, recognizing that we are all members of a royal family and must act as ones’. Apostle Thomas refused to believe the testimony of the others and wanted to see the print of the nails in His (Lord Jesus’) hands and to put his hand into His side (that was pierced by the Roman soldier). Lord Jesus showed him the wounds but also said, ‘Do not be unbelieving but believing’ for blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:25-29).
We had presented Holy Bibles to all MLA’s of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh assemblies and in Shimla we discussed with the officers in the security wing about being chosen by the Lord. One of them immediately volunteered to receive the Word in faith that if God has chosen him, he must receive Him. Another person raised a doubt and refused while both had heard the same message.
Increasing our faith – Again, faith is a gift of God and only He can decide the quantum that I have received. Prophet Ezekiel received a revelation about the Temple and was shown the river flowing from the Temple and after every measurement of 1000 cubits the depth kept increasing from ankle, to knees, to waist and finally too deep to stand in and ‘a river that could not be crossed’ (Ezekiel 47:1-5 & 12). On the river bank were trees ‘that bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary’. The fruit of the trees is for food and their leaves are for medicine’. Lord Jesus declared, ‘I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5). Apostle Paul warns us to remember ‘that you do not support the root but the root supports you’ (Romans 11:18). God wants us to be in the center of the river and draw the maximum from Him like a branch draws sap from the roots.
The fruit that we bear when we are planted in Lord Jesus are the deeds of love and compassion that we perform for furtherance of the heavenly kingdom. The nourishment to all branches comes from the same source but God leaves it to us how much fruit we bear. But there is a warning that any branch that does not bear fruit is cut off. Whatever situation we are placed in, we must remember that God is in control and He will strengthen us to be a blessing for others. Moses receives the revelation of God’s glory displayed through the burning bush and came out with many excuses to not go for the assigned task of going to Egypt to lead his people out from slavery. Finally God agreed to provide Aaron as a helper to him (Exodus 3 & 4). God wants us to move in faith in His promise and revelation that we receive in His Word and when we show reluctance, the blessing that was ours gets transferred to another. Moses was destined to be a Prophet and the first High Priest and the blessing was to pass on to his generations but it got passed on to his brother and his family whose names are mentioned repeatedly in the Scripture but there is no mention of Moses’ family after Jethro’s visit.
The more I use and act on my God given faith the more it grows. Hope actually means to wait expectantly and bind oneself to the promise of God’s Word and its fulfillment and this is not wasting time but claiming it as a reward from my heavenly Father. I cannot keep on waiting for feeling my increased faith for that will never happen since faith is not a material thing to be seen or felt. I received faith from the Lord and His Word is planted in me as a seed and I will work on that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to develop that into a tree. Faith is action oriented and not passive and the results of our prayers help us grow in faith.
Except for one occasion Moses never doubted the faithfulness of God and stood before Pharaoh who claimed and was considered as god by the Egyptians. The LORD God told Moses, ‘See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh’ and in faith Moses acted in that God given authority to force the Pharaoh to accede (Exodus 7:1).
Why do we stumble during difficult times? – Faith makes a demand on God’s promise. David faced Goliath with this faith that God will give him victory as per His promise of being with him and he was empowered by God to kill Goliath. Satan took the Lord ‘on an exceedingly high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory’ (Matthew 4:8). Lord Jesus took the three disciples to ‘a high mountain’ and He was transfigured before them and Moses and Elijah appeared and talked to Him (Matthew 17:1-3). But why the high mountain? Satan wanted to exalt his ‘throne’ above the stars of God and sit on the mount of congregation (Isaiah 14:13). During Lord Jesus’ temptation the devil gives his own testimony of control over the earth but in the transfiguration there are three testimonies of Lord Jesus’ identity as Son of God. Presence of Moses, Elijah and God the Father speaking from within the ‘bright cloud’ of His glory, all witness to the authority of Lord Jesus.
What is our high mountain in the body? – The command to love God with all the heart, soul and mind and strength represent our heights of our very being through thoughts, desires, will and all our resources. Satan wants to control all this and with this destroy our hope and faith. A weak opponent always comes with a lot of noise to create fear and the devil creates storms, sickness and opposition from others to make us stumble. God’s promise is of not leaving or forsaking us and I will not fear for God is with me. Lord Jesus has restored the dominion given by God to Adam back to all believers and I will not sit on the bank of the river flowing out of God’s Temple but go deep in through daily prayer, worship and fellowship with God.
I will defeat all attempts of the devil in the same way using the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, as my Lord did in the wilderness. I will remember promises of God to counter all insinuations and lies that the devil will throw at me. Lord Jesus has assured me that when in faith I will talk to the mountain to move, it will (Matthew 17:20). I will move all mountains that the devil brings before me as obstacles and reclaim the dominion. The widow believed the word of Prophet Elisha, gathered all the large vessels that she could, closed the door with her sons and started pouring out oil from the small jar that she had. The flow of oil did not stop till there was no empty vessel left. I will not doubt the promises of God and keep firm and still and see my LORD fighting my battles and ensuring my victory and in that is my happiness and success.
We are chosen of the LORD and He sows the seed of His Word in our hearts through the Holy Spirit and through daily meditation on the Word I nurture this seed. The Spirit of God helps me to grow in faith and fills me with hope in the fulfillment of God’s promises and guides me in prayer. The seed grows bigger and strengthens me to bear much fruit for the heavenly kingdom, filled with the hope of the truth of His Word.