Great Faith, Part 2
The aim of the introductory post in this series was to paint a balanced picture of the place of fear in opening the door to faith. Learning to recognize what kind of fear is operating and what to do with it is vital in the quest to develop Great Faith. Fear can be a tool to drive us to God or a weapon to separate us from God. So in a sense, fear is not really the enemy. Fear is just a reality that is created when we are not fully convinced that God is Who He says He is and does what He says He will do. Fear is the byproduct of processing life from a reality that is experienced with our senses instead of a reality that is experienced through our spirit. Remember, what we see as our source determines our course.
With a clearer understanding of the inner workings of fear, we are now ready to fix our sights on the path to great faith. The scriptures instruct us that everyone has been given a seed of faith (Mark 4, Matt. 17:20). If we are to follow this analogy through its logical progression, we must look at the natural process of growth in order to understand its spiritual application. Back in the account of creation, God endowed all living things with the ability to reproduce through the miracle of the seed - everything that lives has the ability to reproduce after its own kind (Gen 1:11-12). It is interesting to note that the biblical use of the word seed is synonymous with the actual end-product of the seed - the manifested reality of what the seed was created to become. An apple seed will produce an apple tree, which will produce apples, which produce apple seeds, which produce apple trees… Therefore, it is not incorrect to say that the seed and the apple are one and the same. They are just in different stages of manifestation. The seed contains all the same genetic material that will be in the tree and in the fruit. This is miraculously amazing and this is the foundation of what the essence of faith is.
This principle of seed-to-manifestation is the basis for understanding how spiritual truths become a reality in our natural human existence. Every spiritual truth we hope to experience comes to us in seed form. Jesus used the analogy that the Word of God (truth) is seed sown into the soil of humanity (Mark 4) and that if it finds the right conditions it will produce eternal life and all comes with it.
Jesus is the full manifestation of the Word of God in the flesh (John 1). He is the seed that, under the right conditions in our lives, will produce trees (lives) that are just like Him, that will produce fruit that contain the same seeds of eternal life. Jesus said referring to himself, unless a seed is planted in the ground and dies, it remains just a seed. But if it surrenders to this process of being planted it will bring forth an infinite harvest of new life (John 12:20-ff).
This is Jesus’ way of saying that He is the seed of eternal life. When He surrendered to death on the cross, was buried in the ground, and burst forth from the grave with resurrection power, He became the first-fruits of all who would receive the seed contained in this New Fruit (1 Cor. 15:20).
Remember the seed-principle: everything reproduces after its own kind. Since Jesus was (is) the full manifestation of the Word of God that became human flesh, then it is possible for our human flesh to become the manifestation of the Word of God! If we receive this Seed into the soil of our lives, given the right conditions, we will become like Jesus and produce the same fruit He did! The moment we become “born again” we have become a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17-ff) with the ability to produce new creation fruit, which contain new creation seeds. This all sounds quite bizarre and almost too fantastic to believe. Ah! This is where faith comes in!
All of this seed-to-manifestation stuff cannot be activated through natural thinking or natural working. The seeds of God are first spiritual and must be received and processed by our spirits through a simply amazing heaven-to-earth connector we call faith (1 Cor 2:12-15). Biblical faith is not just wishful thinking, mind over matter, or willing something to be so. Biblical faith actually has substance that can be observed through the fruit it produces. Faith is like the wind (Jesus said the Holy Spirit, the activator of faith, is also like the wind). We can’t see its substance but we can see its activity (or fruit) so we know it is there even if we can’t see it with our natural eyes.
Faith is the ability God has given to us to enable us to live in a physical world while at the same time live from a spiritual world. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Our spirits are eternal, our human flesh is temporal. Human resources decay, spiritual resources are incorruptible. There is no better working definition of faith than what has been given to us in Scripture. Hebrews 11:1 states this:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, as it was the substance of things which have come to pass; and it is the evidence of things not seen” (Aramaic, Peshitta translation).
Let’s pick this apart a bit. Faith is substance. Faith is not a mental ascent to some esoteric realm but a firmly rooted, evidence-based belief system that is supported by a fully tested method of operation. The word for substance chosen by the Holy Spirit literally means to “stand under” (understand) or support structures. To truly understand something means that I am living by what I understand to be true. For example, if I am going to take a shower I must be willing to “stand under” the shower head even if I don’t see any water coming out of the spout. My faith is demonstrated in my action to act as though the water will come out if I open the valve. My action to open the valve is based on evidence that this is what has happened in the past and there is no reason to think it will not happen in the present. This is the essence of the word “faith.” Faith is my action that is driven by a firm conviction that there are fully trust-able truths that I can fully expect a result from. Faith is the activity of hope. We receive the things we hope for to the extent that we act on the body of verifiable evidence we have from the things that we had hoped for that came to pass already. (My shower from yesterday is the evidence or faith that I will be able to take a shower today).
Faith is not blind belief, but a rock-solid trust that the things I am building my life on today have their substance in things that happened yesterday so I can have confidence that my tomorrow will be built on the substance of my today. Just think of how many habits and routines we have established and we never give a second thought to the possibility that the shower will be out of water the next time I get in it.
The biblical definition of faith also states that it is the substance of things not seen. In the natural world we live mostly out of our senses (basing our actions on things that can be physically experienced). Biblical faith also moves us into the realm where we are enabled to believe in, and thus act on, things that have no physical manifestation, yet. This is where it gets exciting! Through this gift of faith, God is calling us and enabling us to live in and through the realm of the unseen. Here is how Hebrews 11:3 states it: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen came from those which are not seen.” Wow!
God is inviting us to live in a reality where nothing can become something. All that we see and experience was created out of nothing. But how can that be? Romans 4:17 states that God “calls” forth things that are not as though they were. All that we see came into existence through God calling, or speaking, these things into existence. What didn’t (or does not yet) exist in physical form already existed in spiritual form (invisible to our natural senses). God’s creation is activated by His Words. His Words contain all the creative DNA and power to produce exactly what is in His mind. His Word, in a sense, is the seed of creation. Faith in its simplest form is to receive the seed as the evidence that it is all that we need to live as though we have the full manifestation of what we are hoping for.
With the understanding that Great Fatih comes to us in seed form, our next step on our quest is to understand the planting process. Get ready to do some gardening!
So stay tuned, and tune in...
by Pastor Jim Anan