Okay, God has enabled me through His Spirit to have His nature and characteristics. Now what? As we go further into understanding How God’s kingdom here on earth functions, we begin to see that we have an active role. God wouldn’t simply enable us to sit there and stare at the sky. He has a purpose for each one of us. The best thing that a person who is born again can do is to find his/her purpose God has for him/her here on earth. God doesn’t just reveal all His purposes and plans to us in a single shot, because that might overwhelm us, or it may get us so anxious that we might want to do it in our way or in our time. We need to continue walking after the Spirit after God has revealed a purpose to us. That doesn’t necessarily mean we sit back and wait for something to happen; instead, our heart is to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His leading. Imagine the man Ananias, who prayed for Paul (then Saul) and he received his sight and was baptized [Acts 9:10-18]. To some, Ananias’ role might sound as insignificant. However, because of his availability to God, this man Saul was changed and transformed and became one of the most influential Christians that ever existed on this earth. So God could use you to start a revolution or be the revolution, all you need to do is to be sensitive to His plans.
Today we will look an important ingredient of our relationship with God. There is no relationship without this ingredient and in fact it is the basis of our salvation. Yes, I’m talking about ‘Faith’. We all know how Jesus urged us to have faith and to believe. However with the passage of time a lot of misunderstanding has crept in and has left the believer in confusion over faith. I was once talking to a woman and she mentioned that “If I begin to expect things by faith then I’m exalting myself, in other words faith is the exaltation of man”. I feel sorry for her, because she is a good woman of God and a good friend; however she has chosen to look at things in that perspective, in spite of having a few wonderful testimonies herself where she used her faith and saw the deliverance of God come through. “Faith simply cannot be the exaltation of man”, because faith is not of man, at least when we’re talking about supernatural faith and not human faith. I have very briefly explained about human and supernatural faith in my article “Faith, Doubt and Unbelief”. Supernatural faith is a gift from God and that is why salvation is of God and not of man otherwise man could have boasted that I chose to believe so I was saved. There is no boasting in salvation [Romans 3:27-28] because we are justified by God-given faith.
How do we receive this God-given or supernatural faith? Here is where both God and man are involved. It is a co-operation of man with the plan of God. The plan of salvation was laid from the beginning of creation. If you read the Old Testament you will notice how it conceals the truth about Jesus in the form of types and shadows. This plan was in execution during the life of Jesus on earth. God’s plans never fail; they always end up successful even if it looks like it is heading in the way of failure to our senses, so also the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ was successfully achieved. It is done, finished, accomplished. Salvation is now available to you and me. All I need to do is believe in what was done. [2 Thessalonians 2:13 – NKJV] “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth”. This verse very clearly spells out that God intended to save His people from the very beginning. It also tells us that this plan of salvation was designed to work through the working of the Holy Spirit (God’s part) and through our belief in the truth (Man’s part). If I confess to this truth (that Jesus is my Savior) in my heart (and not just by my lips) then a change takes place within me. I am born again, with a new nature and I possess God’s gift that is deposited in me in this new creation that I’ve become. The most important thing as a new creation is that I have ‘supernatural faith’ i.e. the faith of Jesus Christ (you might say wow! Could that be true that I have the same faith that Jesus had?). [Galatians 2:16 – KJV] “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ”. Many translations say “faith in Jesus Christ” but if you go back to the original Greek word, you will see this verse saying “faith of Jesus Christ”.
This has been a mind-blowing revelation for me personally. To think that I have the same faith that Jesus had was unthinkable for me, but that was my unbelief which God helped me deal with. Today I have absolutely no doubt about it. [Luke 17:5-6] ‘And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you”’. The apostles were asking Jesus to increase their faith, but look at Jesus’ reply; He said that all that was required was to have a mustard seed size faith. As you know a mustard seed is very tiny, so Jesus was indicating that the quantity of faith does not matter, it’s the quality of faith. So how does the quality of faith change? This happens when we yield to doubt and unbelief which can overpower our mustard seed size of faith. The Lord showed me a beautiful demonstration of this. He said to me, look at a candle, when you light it in broad daylight how effective is its flame? I said it is ineffective. God said, precisely, now light the same candle in the dark of the night and how effective is it now? I immediately understood that my doubt and unbelief can begin to overshadow my faith just like the sunlight overshadows the flame of the candle in broad daylight. But if my unbelief and doubt is taken away then my faith becomes as effective as the candle light in the dark of the night, ‘Very effective’.
There are many descriptions and analogies for faith, faith can be compared to a muscle. Unless you exercise your muscle it won’t grow strong similarly we need to exercise our faith. You can’t directly life a 100 pound weight if you haven’t exercised by lifting smaller weights like 20, 40, 60 pounds. In the same way when we begin to exercise faith is smaller things we grow in strength to be able to exercise them for greater things. Faith is like currency in God’s kingdom. He wants us to use this God-given faith because it is the means through which the kingdom on earth can be transformed bit by bit. Jesus compares faith to a servant when he gives the example of faith of mustard seed size. [Luke 17:6-8] “So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’?” Just as a master uses his servant to accomplish things for him, so we ought to use faith to accomplish things for us in the kingdom of God. We shouldn’t shy away or be discouraged from using our faith because it is after all a gift from God to be used in His kingdom.
That’s it for today, keeping basking in His love and enjoying His kingdom here on earth.