I apologize for my short leave from this hangout spot. I try to maintain my consistency and though i continued to write, took a week off posting to develop some related strategy which i will share in the near future. This would be a good time to also express my appreciation for your continued patronage of Broken Bread Club. I am blessed that you are blessed by it.
In this post, I highlight three factors that when combined constitute a litmus test of faith. You are in good company if you ever wondered about your faith or were unsure of the strength of your faith. This is bound to be a source of conflict for most Christians because sometimes, we believe our faith in God is unshakable and at other times we feel like we have no faith at all. I have been at these two extremes and on some occasions my transition from one end of the spectrum to the other end took all but 8 hours. Feeling all so faith-filled in the morning and by evening of the same day, I am wondering if I have the faith for the challenge of the moment. Though faith is not only required when we have to move mountains, we tend be more in touch with the need for faith at those times.
How do I know if I have faith? Am I showing and walking by faith? The integrity of your faith can be tested against these three parameters; obedience to God, persistence in prayer, and actions that produce results.
18 And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him? 19 So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest. – Hebrews 3:18-19 (NLT)
Obedience: The children of Israel did not enter the Promised Land because of disobedience which the writer also connects to unbelief. They disobeyed because they did not believe God. Faith is obeying God to prove that you believe Him. Belief without obedience is not faith. Faith is not just about dealing with obstacles; it is way broader than that. It is not just required to be healed divinely when our health fails but it is also required for seemingly common things such as living a life that is pleasing to God. A Christian who abstains from sin has demonstrated faith. Faith is about much more than some explosive display or conquest. To my point, we are required to walk by faith and you would agree with me that there is nothing extraordinary about walking. However faith is required for the daily Christian walk. Believing that God is and working to meet His standards is as much a sign of faith as anything else.
Abraham, who is called the father of faith, lived a life of chronic obedience to everything God told him. He was told to leave his father’s house and go to a land yet unknown. Such a vague instruction to leave the certain for uncertainty, yet he obeyed without question. God told him to circumcise himself at the age of ninety-nine and every male in his household, and he obeyed God. God asked for his son Isaac as a sacrifice and he once again obeyed God. His pattern is easily discernible.
Your faith is tied to your obedience. When God instructs, do you obey or you dismiss? Without passing judgment …Christians are divided on the subject but there are many Christians who actually believe in tithing but don’t tithe. That’s not faith. There are many who believe that the only way to be forgiven by God is to forgive others yet they hold grudges and strife. That’s not faith. Am I obeying completely every revelation I have of God and every instruction He has given me directly or through His word?
Persistence in prayer: This might be a slightly divisive point but my conviction stands on scriptures. I have heard it taught that repeating a prayer point is a result of a lack of faith. I don’t agree with the idea that we should only pray once about an issue. In Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18, He illustrates the importance of constancy and persistent prayer. The widow continued to bug the judge until she got justice which Jesus likened to the persistent prayer of the saints. He expects us to cry out night and day on our issues until we see change. Jesus interestingly links her persistence to faith.
Faith does not just believe that God can do it. It believes that He can do it, will do it and persisting in asking until He does it. In another instance, a Canaanite woman came to Jesus in Matthew 15 and Jesus would not grant her an audience because she was a gentile. She persisted and Jesus eventually said to her, “O woman, great is your faith”. Great faith persists in prayer. Keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking until change comes. The Bible calls it diligently seeking God because He is a rewarder, not of those who seek Him once and give up but those that do it diligently.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)
Actions that produce results: Faith can also be identified by actions that produce results. If your Word based actions produce proofs, then you are likely walking in faith. As earlier established, faith is not passive. When faith comes alive in a man’s heart, he is spurred to action, oftentimes spontaneously. The conviction of faith moves us to actions that align with our expectations and level of revelation.
It is important that I sound a note of caution at this point. I explained in previous posts that faith is a function of knowledge and revelation, not information. If two people take the exact same action; the first is full of pure faith and acts as such while the second just follows in the footsteps of the first. One is an action taken in faith and the other is an action unsupported and would lead to disaster. An action taken in faith might appear foolish, and to the faithless it surely is but it produces proofs because the action stands firmly on insight. Hence don’t rush out into action because I say so. It is action based on insight and it always always produces results.
Jesus made the connection between results and faith in a few instances. He would often say, “Your faith has done this” or “be unto you according to your faith”. One common denominator is that all of these people took actions that were knowledge based. The woman with the issue of blood risked her life by the action she took in seeking Jesus and the result was evident to all. Likewise, the three Hebrews boys had faith in God and stood against Nebuchadnezzar. Faith without works; whether good works or aligned actions, is dead.
Subject your faith to the litmus test today. Are you walking in obedience to prove that you believe God? Do you persist in prayer because you are convinced that He is faithful and will answer? Do you take insight based actions which produce results? These dear reader are some of the ways to test and assess your faith. Shalom.