Living By Faith

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World – As in the Days of Noah – The Faithful – Rom. 8:28

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Living By Faith

                                                                                                                                    by Terry Smith

06/93Faith is the great adventure of the Christian life. It is a sea voyage of the spirit. We launch ourselves out into the deep blue waters of God’s ways and thoughts and begin riding the waves of His majesty and wonderful works, all because we have faith to believe in Him. As the Psalm reports, “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.”

To be sure, faith is the excitement of the Christian’s sojourn in this life. And yet, we Christians often make living by faith much more complicated than it really ought to be.

Hearing and Obeying is Key to Living By Faith
To begin with let us whittle down the matter. Faith can be defined as hearing God’s voice and obeying it. As God’s word declares, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God.” Rom. 10:17 Granted this is a sort of catch 22 (which came first the chicken or the egg kind of thing) but Christians must learn to live everyday by faith if they want to live vital and pleasing lives for God. As the scripture declares, “Without faith it is impossible to please him.”

Yes, hearing God’s voice is critical to living by faith. But even hearing God’s voice is a pure gift. God initiates the sound of His voice so that we can hear it in our heart. To be equipped with a heart that can hear God is a gift. Granted it is a gift offered to all men, but still, it only comes by God’s mercy. But to respond to God’s voice is another matter. Hearing and obeying, responding to God’s voice is our decision and our decision alone. Hearing God is the way faith begins; obeying God is the most basic thing on which faith is built. The scripture quoted above which says “Without faith it is impossible to please him,” continues by saying, “for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him”. One of the primary rewards God will give to anyone who is willing to believe in Him and listen to Him is an ear in their heart that can hear His voice.

Once we begin to trust God, faith becomes a two way venture. It is both a gift of the Spirit and a fruit of the Spirit. It is given as a supernatural gift for special needs and it is grown in us by trials and experiences so that the sound of God’s voice becomes detectable in every valve and fiber of our heart and we are able to discern it over any other voice that might clamor for attention there. Yes, faith is initiated in us by God but we also contribute to its increase by the prayers and petitions of hope which we bring to Him. By seeking the fullest measure of faith that God will allow in us, we play a part in having our faith increased. Faith, therefore, is given to us in measure by God according to His will and what we can handle, and we obtain more and more of it by seeking God to give us more.

Jesus, whom Scripture names as the Author and Finisher of our faith, will see that we are given enough of a measure of faith so we can live day to day in the beauty of obedient faith thereby pleasing the Father. In the end faith will teach us to trust God in every situation no matter what the appearance or circumstance.

Three Enemy Voices Counter Faith And Must Be Rejected
Do, young Christian, and fellow saints, the key to living by faith is learning to hear and discern God’s voice, which is none other than the voice of the Good Shepherd, Jesus. We must be taught that all the other voices that press in around our psyche and continually clamor for air time in our minds and hearts must be totally rejected.

Three powerful enemies try to influence us through their persistent voices. The first comes from Satan, an intimidator, liar, and accuser; the second is the world, the great voice of mankind that deceives and seduces; and the last, and most dangerous, is ourselves: the voice of our mind and our flesh.

In many ways we are our own worst enemy because by nature we can’t help but love the sound of our own voice. Ephesians 4:17-18

To live a life of faith on a daily basis we must learn to discern the voice of God in our heart, reject all voices that are not the Good Shepherd’s, and be delivered from love of self, entanglement with the world, and from making concessions to the demonic bullies under Satan’s evil power.

Jesus promised – “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” We must believe this wholeheartedly if we are to live by faith. If we are born-again by inviting Jesus into our heart then we should know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus has the power to make His voice known in our heart.

There Is Difference Between Hope and Faith
To live by faith, the Christian must also learn to differentiate between faith and hope. To mistake hope for faith, is to flirt with disappointment and even bitterness against God. The Scriptures say, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1 Couple that with the biblical tenet, “faith without works is dead”, and we see that the things we hope for are not yet reality. But faith is reality. We can act upon faith because God has said, “It is real, it is done”.

Don’t get it wrong, though, hope is a vital part of the Christian voyage. We may have many legitimate hopes, just as God hopes for all men to come to salvation, but our hopes and expectations are not always realized. We need to understand that men’s wills enter into the process of salvation and redemption and often hope is not turned to reality because of the stubbornness of their hearts.

Only when God’s word (the Good Shepherd’s voice in our heart on a given subject) comes to us can we then know we have faith for something, for it has been delivered to us, as the Bible says, “faith comes by hearing and (our) hearing comes by the word of God.”

When we hear Jesus’ words on a matter it requires action, some sort of spiritual action, because faith without works is dead. When Jesus speaks we can believe that those things we hoped now have the evidence to support their reality and though they are unseen and the circumstances and appearance are not yet apparent, we can act. Faith through Jesus’ voice gives them substance (form, shape, and reality).

So, living by faith on a daily basis hinges almost exclusively upon hearing Jesus’ words on a subject because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And we must be willing to be delivered from the voices of Satan, the world and, of course, the vanity of our own mind.

Spiritual exercise, trials and tribulations, experience, God’s admonishments, and His chastisement, all work to increase our discernment about hearing His voice and enable us to recognize and reject all other voices (spirits).

Jesus said, “My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God and do it.” The Psalmist said, “Seek the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Remember hope is not faith; because faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God. Don’t fall into the traps of presumption telling God what His word says and demanding He apply it when, where, and how you say so. Living by faith is obedience. Want to be Jesus’ brother, sister, or as His mother? Hear the word of God and do it. Solomon summarized his search for wisdom and the true way of life in the book of Ecclesiastes by saying this, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Eccl. 12:13 Solomon was only saying, “We should live by faith”.

Faith is key to pleasing God, “For by it the elders obtained a good report.” If you want the adventure of the Christian life to come alive in your voyage with Christ then you must seek the obedience of living by faith every day. When all is said and done, faith is hearing and simply, as a child, obeying God.

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