James 1:2-4 (MSG)
Faith Under Pressure
2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.
Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
Wow! What a timely word from the Lord today! I don't know about you, but it seems like my faith is always being tested in one way or another. My body may not get as much exercise as it should, but I feel like my faith is an Olympic star!
I have learned that as Christians, our faith is always in training for the next event. I have learned that when we are in training WE ARE TO FOCUS ON THE PROMISE AND NOT THE PROCESS. WHEN GOD HAS COMPLETED THE PROCESS THE PROMISE WILL COME FORTH.
TODAY I WANT TO LET YOU KNOW THAT IT IS ALWAYS GOING TO TAKE FAITH TO GET THROUGH THE PROCESS.
NOW YOU MAY FEEL LIKE YOU DON’T HAVE FAITH OR THAT IT IS NOT AS STRONG OR AS BIG AS SOMEBODY ELSE’S OR IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO GET YOU THROUGH WHAT YOU ARE FACING TODAY.
THAT IS NOT TRUE.
Romans 12:3 (NKJV)
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
SO I PROMISE YOU IF YOU KEEP LIVING THIS CHRISTIAN LIFE
IF YOU KEEP FEEDING ON THE WORD OF GOD
IF YOU STOP RUNNING FROM PROBLEMS AND LEARN TO ENDURE AND TO STAND IN THE MIDST OF EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE, YOUR FAITH WILL BEGIN TO GROW, AND GROW, AND GROW!
I WAS READING AN ARTICLE BY DR. JERRY SAVELLE THE OTHER DAY AND SO MUCH OF WHAT I READ REALLY DID RESONATE IN MY HEART.
YOU SEE WHEN YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE BY FAITH,THERE IS ALWAYS A FAITH PROJECT HAPPENING IN YOUR LIFE; OR THERE IS ALWAYS A FAITH ASSIGNMENT.
AND WITH EACH ASSIGNMENT YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW ABOUT FAITH ALONG THE WAY.
IF YOU HAVE NOT LEARNED ANYTHING NEW ABOUT FAITH SINCE THE FAITH YOU UTILIZED FOR SALVATION, THEN YOUR FAITH HAS NOT GROWN YET.
YOU HAVE NOT LEARNED HOW TO FEED YOUR FAITH AND HOW TO EXERCISE YOUR FAITH.
YOU HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OF FAITH!
LET ME TELL YOU, HEARING OTHER PEOPLES TESTIMONY ABOUT THEIR FAITH EXPERIENCE IS NOT WHAT FORTIFIES YOUR FAITH.
YOUR FAITH IS FORTIFIED BY YOUR OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE!!!
HEBREWS CHAPTER 11 IS FILLED WITH STATEMENTS THAT BEGIN WITH “BY FAITH”!
"BY FAITH ABEL!"
“BY FAITH ENOCH!"
“BY FAITH ABRAHAM!"
WHAT IS YOUR “BY FAITH” STORY!!!!
YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT FAITH HAS CHARACTERISTICS.
AND FAITH HAS A CYCLE TO GETTING YOU TO THE THING THAT YOU ARE BELIEVING FOR.
WITH THE HELP OF DR. JERRY SAVELLE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, I AM GOING TO SHARE WITH YOU SIX CHARACTERISTICS OF FAITH.
1. FAITH SEES -FAITH ALWAYS SEES THE END OF A MATTER BEFORE THE RESULT SHOWS UP IN THE NATURAL.
HEBREWS 11:1, NOW FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR, THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN
IN MY OWN LIFE, EVERY SINGLE THING THAT I HAVE RECEIVED BY FAITH I LITERALLY SAW IT AND I SAW MYSELF WITH IT, IN IT, OR DOING IT, BEFORE EVER GETTING IT!!!
2. FAITH SPEAKS- OUR WORDS HAVE CREATIVE ABILITY. IF YOU TRULY BELIEVE FOR SOMETHING YOU MUST SAY IT. YOU MUST PUT THE WORDS INTO THE ATMOSPHERE SO THAT THEY CAN BEGIN TO WORK FOR YOU. WORDS ARE POWERFUL. WORDS ARE MOBILE AND THEY ARE COMPLIANT. WHEN YOU SPEAK THEM THEY BEGIN TO MOVE AND DO WHATEVER YOU GIVE THEM PERMISSION TO DO.
2 Corinthians 4:13- And since we have the same spirit of faith according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke’, we also believe and therefore we speak.
IF YOU DON'T SAY IT, IT'S BECAUSE YOU DON'T BELIEVE IT YET. YOU DON'T HAVE FAITH FOR IT YET.
3. FAITH ACTS- ONCE YOU HAVE SPOKEN THE IMAGE, YOU BEGIN TO ACT ACCORDINGLY.
Peter saw an image of himself getting out of the boat and walking on the water to Jesus.
“Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water” (Matthew 14:28).
I DON'T THINK PETER HAD A CHANCE TO THINK ABOUT HOW ABSURD HIS REQUEST WAS. HE JUST ASKED JESUS FOR PERMISSION TO TAKE THIS STEP OF FAITH AND JESUS GRANTED IT.
HOW ABSURD IS YOUR FAITH ASSIGNMENT?
HAVE YOU ACTED ON IT? OR HAVE YOU THOUGHT YOURSELF OUT OF IT!!!
DID YOU START IT AND HAVE ALREADY ENDED IT BECAUSE JUST LIKE PETER, YOU LET THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING YOU CAUSE YOUR FAITH TO FAIL?
I CAN TELL YOU THAT IT’S THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT GET US EVERY TIME!!!
WE CRY OUT TO JESUS AND HE STEPS UP TO HELP US IMMEDIATELY!
BUT LIKE PETER, WE LET ALL THE DISTRACTIONS AROUND US GET OUR EYES OFF OF THE SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEMS.
WE LET OUR NATURAL MIND CONVINCE US THAT THE WAY THAT JESUS IS HELPING US IS NOT REAL
AND IT IS NOT NORMAL
AND IT’S NEVER HAPPENED TO YOU THIS WAY BEFORE
NOR TO ANYONE ELSE THAT YOU KNOW.
SO YOU BEGIN TO REVERT BACK TO WHAT YOUR NORMAL LOOKS LIKE.
MAY I ENCOURAGE YOU TODAY WITH THESE WORDS TO SAY TO YOURSELF, ”THE NEXT TIME JESUS SHOWS UP TO HELP ME, I DON’T CARE HOW CRAZY IT MAY SEEM,
I’M NOT GOING TO DO IT!!!
I’M GOING TO KEEP ACTING ON FAITH!"
4. FAITH STANDS - IN THE LIFE OF FAITH THERE IS NO ROOM FOR COMPROMISE!
IN MY JOURNEY OF FAITH I CAN TELL YOU THAT THIS IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF ALL. YOU SEE THIS IS THE PLACE IN THE JOURNEY WHERE THE STRUGGLE GETS REAL. IT IS WHERE YOU HAVE CONSISTENTLY DONE THE FIRST THREE STEPS BUT NOTHING HAS CHANGED. POSSIBLY EVEN GOTTEN WORST!!!
THIS IS THE POINT WHERE WE WANT TO RENEGE ON THE PROCESS AND GIVE UP ON THE PROMISE.
THIS IS THE POINT WHERE THE ENEMY IS SHOUTING AT YOU THAT THIS STUFF DOES NOT WORK.
THIS IS WHERE HE IS LAUGHING AT YOU!!!
BUT THIS IS ALSO THE PLACE WHERE YOU DO WHAT EPHESIANS 6:10-11 TELLS YOU TO DO…
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
LET ME SHARE A QUICK STORY WITH YOU. YEARS AGO A FRIEND OF MINE WAS DYING WITH CANCER. SHE WOULD CALL ME OFTEN TO PRAY WITH HER AND TO STAND IN FAITH WITH HER FOR HER HEALING. IN THE END, SHE DIED!
THE DEVIL TORMENTED ME FOR A LONG TIME ABOUT THIS. HE WANTED TO ME TO BELIEVE THAT FAITH DOES NOT WORK.
WELL ONE DAY HOLY SPIRIT SHOWED ME SOMETHING THAT I HAD TOTALLY MISSED. HE SAID THE DEVIL WAS NOT NEVER AFTER HER BODY. HE WAS AFTER SOMETHING MUCH MORE PRECIOUS. HE WAS AFTER HER FAITH BUT HE DID NOT GET IT. SHE TOOK HER LAST BREATH STILL STANDING IN FAITH. SHE NEVER STOPPED STANDING BECAUSE FAITH WORKS EVEN WHEN WE DON'T GET THE RESULTS WE EXPECTED!
1 Peter 1:7 New King James Version (NKJV) 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
I DON'T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE IN YOUR FAITH JOURNEY, BUT IF YOU ARE RIGHT HERE, LET ME ENCOURAGE YOU TO REMAIN STANDING !!!
5. FAITH REJOICES - PRAISE KEEPS THE ENEMY AT A STANDSTILL AND OPENS THE DOOR TO THE BLESSING OF GOD.
I WANT TO TELL YOU TODAY THAT PRAISE WORKS!!! IN EVERY ONE OF MY FAITH ASSIGNMENTS PRAISE HAS GOTTEN ME THROUGH THE WAITING PROCESS.
IT IS NOT A FORCED PRAISE EITHER BECAUSE IT EMANATES FROM A PLACE OF EXPECTANCY AND A PLACE OF JOY!
James 1:2-4, Consider it all joy, my brothers, when various trials light upon you, knowing that the proving of your faith produces endurance. And the endurance must attain its purpose, so that you would be mature and complete and not falling short in any way.
I HAVE FOUND THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE JOY AND NOT REJOICE. FAITH REJOICES!!
6. FAITH RESTS - ONCE YOU HAVE CONCEIVED AN IMAGE BY SEEING THE END RESULT THROUGH THE EYE OF FAITH, YOU HAVE SPOKEN AND ACTED ACCORDINGLY, AND YOU’VE STOOD AND REJOICED, THEN ALL THERE IS LEFT TO DO IS JUST ENTER INTO GOD’S REST.
LET ME TELL YOU MY FRIENDS, THIS IS A GOOD PLACE TO BE. I HAVE BEEN AT THIS PLACE MANY TIMES AND AM HERE NOW WITH MY CURRENT FAITH ASSIGNMENT. NOTHING HAS MANIFESTED IN THE NATURAL THAT CAN VALIDATE MY CONFESSION OF FAITH! MOST DAYS THINGS SEEM QUITE THE CONTRARY. EVERY DAY THE ENEMY TAUNTS ME AND TELLS ME HOW FOOLISH I AM TO BELIEVE THAT IT WILL EVER HAPPEN. BUT I CHOOSE TO LET MY FAITH REST IN HIM WHO GAVE IT TO ME IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Hebrews 4:11 says, “Let us labour therefore to enter into [his] rest”.
The word “labour” in this Scripture means to be diligent.
THE ENEMY IS ALWAYS GOING TO CHALLENGE YOU IN THIS AREA.
HE WILL DO ANYTHING HE CAN TO DISTURB YOUR REST IN THE THING THAT YOU ARE BELIEVING GOD FOR.
HE WILL TELL YOU THAT THE FAITH STUFF DOES NOT WORK.
HE WILL TELL YOU THAT IT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.
OR THAT WHAT YOU ARE BELIEVING FOR IS NOT FROM GOD AND SO IT WON’T HAPPEN.
HE WILL MAKE YOU THINK THAT YOU MISSED GOD.
HE WILL MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE A FOOL FOR SAYING WHAT YOU SAID…SPEAKING BY FAITH.
WHEN THESE THINGS HAPPEN YOU MUST LABOR FOR THE REST OF THE LORD.
YOU MUST BE DILIGENT TO AND CONSISTENT IN WHATEVER IT IS THAT YOU ARE BELIEVING GOD FOR.
YOUR FAITH HAS REACHED IT’S DESIRED END WHEN YOU CAN REST IN WHAT GOD HAS PROMISED….UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY SEE IT WITH YOUR NATURAL EYES.
THAT'S THE KIND OF FAITH THAT LASTS!!!!
AS I CLOSE, I CHALLENGE YOU TODAY TO CONTINUE TO WALK BY FAITH!!!