Monday, August 14, 2006

How to Ignite Your Faith

First, understand that faith does not come from you. True, biblical faith comes from God. It is not a matter of will power; it is not positive thinking; it is not something you work up. It is a gift from God.

Second, faith is not like a fog that rolls in, and which can just as easily roll out again. It comes in a particular way. The Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Greek word for “word” here is rhema, and refers to the acutely articulated word. It is not just a word that enters your ear; it is a word that enters your heart. It happens as an act of revelation by the Holy Spirit, for He is the One who knows the all the ways and thoughts of God. When you receive the Word of God into your heart, and you begin to understand the ways and thoughts of God, faith comes.

Third, it is not enough to have faith; you must also put it to use. Many Christians have faith, but they don‘t know how to activate it and press it into service. Jesus described faith as being like a seed. Hold a seed in your hand, and it will not germinate; you must sow it in order to activate it.

Fourth, you sow this seed by what you say. Jesus 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” (Luke 17:6). He taught this principle to His disciples on more than one occasion:
Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. (Mark 11:22-23)
“Have faith in God.” Literally, the Greek text has “have faith of God.” The faith that we are to have in God is the faith that first comes to us from God. He initiates, we respond.

Now, notice that faith is a matter of the heart, not of the mind. It is not something that comes by your ability to reason. But it is also not something that comes by emotion. When the Bible refers to the heart, it is talking about the core of one’s being. In fact, your emotions, as well as your thoughts, can get in the way of your faith and keep you from getting results.

Doubt is being divided in heart. It is when part of you believes and part of you does not. James says,
Ask in faith, with not doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-7)
A divided heart is unstable and cannot bring forth the results of godly faith. Unbelief is a lack of faith, so if you are “running on empty,” let the Word of God fill you up to overflowing with faith.

Next, notice that your mouth also has a role. You do not move the mountain by thinking about it. Nor do you will the mountain to move. Jesus teaches us to speak to the mountain. In fact, though He uses the word “believe” only one time in this verse, He uses the word “say” three times: “Whoever says to this mountain … believes those things he says … he will have whatever he says.”

The apostle Paul shows us this same principle, but in a different way:
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:8-10)
With the heart we believe; with the mouth we confess. To confess means to say the same thing, to articulate agreement. What are we to agree with and articulate? The Word of God. All creation will respond to the Word of God, for all creation was created by the Word of God. “By faith we understand the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:6).

The faith that is in your heart is ignited by the words that come out of your mouth. But they must be words that are in agreement with the Word of God. That is why it is important to let the Word fill your heart, for Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).

If you want to know what is in a person’s heart in abundance, just listen to what comes out of his mouth, especially in pressure situations. If the Word of God is in your heart in abundance, then the words that overflow from your mouth will be in agreement with it.

Faith is the fuel God designed to fill up the tank of your heart. What you say is the spark that ignites it. If your tank is not yet full of faith, get into the Word of God and let it fill you up. Then open up your mouth and speak the Word concerning everything in your world that needs to be changed, and they will begin to line up with the heart of God.