Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Storehouse of Faith


“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” Jesus said (Matthew 12:34). Then He talked about the storehouse of the heart. If we store up good things in our hearts, that is what will come out; if we store up evil things then evil will come out (v. 35; see What’s In Your Storehouse?). Now, let me show you one reason why this is so important. Consider the words of Jesus in Mark 11:22-25.
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. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
See the dynamic of the heart and the mouth, how they word together? If you have faith in God and do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will be done, you words become very powerful, even to the moving of mountains. But notice what must be in your heart in abundance — not just in your heart, but in your heart in abundance? Faith! Yes, it starts like a mustard seed, but like a mustard seed, when you plant it, it grows (see Faith is a Seed). When faith is in your heart in abundance, and your mouth speaks out of the abundance of your heart, that is a powerful combination.

So where does faith come from, and how to you get it into your heart in abundance? Paul said that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). When God speaks, things happen, and God always keeps His Word. When we give our attention to the Word of God, to meditate on it, and when we let it instruct our hearts and change our thinking, the Spirit of God works through that. Faith in God begins to rise up within us. As we continue meditating the Word, faith begins to fill our hearts in abundance. Then, when we speak, and our words are in alignment with the Word of God, they come forth with the force of faith. Things we thought improbable, or even impossible, begin to happen.

But there is also something else that must fill our heart, and that is forgiveness. We must be willing to forgive everyone we have anything against. It is no coincidence that Jesus speaks of forgiveness immediately after He talks about faith-filled words and prayer. No, it is integral to the operation of faith.

When Jesus told Peter and the disciples that they must forgive “seventy times seven,” they said, “Lord, increase our faith” (Luke 17:4-5). They realized that real forgiveness requires the power of faith. However, Jesus teaches us that the opposite is also true: powerful faith requires a heart of forgiveness. They must go together. If we do not have the faith to forgive then we do not have the faith to move mountains. Paul tells us that even if we did have faith to move mountains, but do not have love, then we are nothing and our accomplishments are in vain (1 Corinthians 13:2).

This brings us, then, to a third thing we must have in our hearts in abundance: Love. In a religious dispute that was taking place in the first-century Church over a ritual issue, Paul concluded, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).

There it is. Faith works through love. That is, faith is activated, energized, made effective, through love. If faith worked without love, we would soon destroy the world. Imagine the debris that would litter the highways as people charged their road rage with the power of faith. No, there must be love if we are to have mountain-moving faith. Indeed, love is the most important. “Now abide faith, hope, love, these three,” Paul said, “But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Out of the storehouse of the heart the mouth speaks. When faith, forgiveness and love fill your heart in abundance, your words will become very powerful. Mountains will move.

What's in your storehouse?

(See also Faith Comes by Hearing and How to Forgive by Faith)