Heart of Faith

The Bible teaches that those who believe in Jesus receive the right to become God's children. If you've accepted Jesus into your life, you possess the privilege of being God's child......

January 22, 2024

The Bible teaches that those who believe in Jesus receive the right to become God’s children. If you’ve accepted Jesus into your life, you possess the privilege of being God’s child. This status isn’t determined by human will, lineage, or blood; rather, it stems from being born of God through faith in Jesus. It’s essential to grasp that you are more than your body or soul – you are a spirit man born of God.

Your spirit, born of God, is not confined to your current physical location; it is seated with Christ at the right hand of God. This is not a future event but a present reality. Your spirit’s position with Christ is a result of Jesus’ death, where, symbolically, you also died with him. The remarkable news is that you were not only crucified with Jesus, but you were also raised and now share in his exalted position.

You don’t have to physically die to reach heaven because, in a spiritual sense, you already died with Jesus. Through faith in Christ, you have been resurrected and are now seated with him in heavenly places, regardless of your physical location on Earth.

This profound reality is not a future promise but a present truth, a spiritual download that occurred the moment you received Jesus into your life. Understanding that you are born of God and seated with Christ empowers you. 

1 John 5:4 – For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Your faith is the victory that enables you to overcome the challenges of this world. Embrace this truth and live in the fullness of your identity as a child of God, born to overcome.

You are not meant to be tossed to and fro; each one of you possesses the potential to overcome the world because you are born of God. However, potential, much like potential energy, is beneficial only when set into motion. Consider a car in a garage—it has the potential to move, but it remains useless until it is set in motion. Similarly, God has blessed you with the potential to overcome the world, but it is your responsibility to activate it. Repeat after me, “I have to do it.” God’s desire and grace provided you with the potential, but you must take the initiative to turn potential energy into kinetic energy, making it useful and productive.

Remember, faith is the victory, and it is through faith in the Son of God that you overcome the world. Nothing in your life should challenge you to the point of defeat because you have the inherent potential to overcome every obstacle. This is why life should progress from faith to faith, not from faith to striving.

Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Your journey is meant to move from glory to glory, walking from faith to faith. Upon accepting Jesus, you received a degree of glory. Embrace this truth and recognize the potential within you to navigate life’s challenges with faith and victory.

The realization that your journey to greater glory is not a future event but a current reality should empower you. You’ve already received a measure of God’s glory, and the potential to move into even greater glory lies within you. This progression is within your control; it no longer depends on God alone because He has bestowed upon you the potential, His faith, and everything necessary to step into the next level of glory. Your decision to embrace this truth is what propels you forward. 

Faith is not just an occasional practice; it must permeate our entire lifestyle. We choose to live by faith, rejecting the sway of fleeting feelings or the limitations of the physical realm. Our unwavering belief is anchored in the goodness of God and His Word. Reflect on Mary, a young, virgin girl faced with the impossible proclamation from the angel that she would conceive. Her response, “Let it be done as per your word,” illustrates the power of faith. In the same way, you are born of God’s Word and possess the potential to overcome the world. The pathway to overcoming lies in faith, prompting our commitment to reading, meditating on the Word, and prayer.

Recognize that you do have the potential to soar in the spiritual realm, but its realization requires faith. It’s conceivable that while advancing spiritually, you may still face challenges in the natural realm—sickness, depression, and overwhelming emotions. The key is to apply your spiritual reality to your physical circumstances and walk by faith. 

The strength of your faith is truly revealed after enduring tests. It’s easy to claim faith, but its authenticity is proven through challenges. 

James 1:2 – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.

The use of the word “count” is significant; it urges us to intentionally shift our mindset positively. The strongest faith is the one that remains steadfast after being tested.

Count is a mathematical term. It uses “count it all joy,” my brothers when you go through trials of different kinds. The testing of your faith produces steadfast endurance and strength within you. When this strength is complete, you become perfect and lack nothing.

It’s important to recognize that we often pray for the wrong things. Instead of praying for situations to be removed from our lives or for things to disappear, we should be praying for faith. Faith, not prayer alone, moves mountains. Prayer strengthens you internally, giving you the courage to face challenges and speak in faith so that mountains can be moved.

Many times, our prayers go unanswered because we’re asking for the wrong things. Consider military training as an analogy. When someone enrolls in a military school, they undergo rigorous training to become tough and resilient. Similarly, we should pray for God to toughen us up so that when faced with hard circumstances, they appear easier to overcome.

The story of David facing Goliath illustrates this point. David’s previous training in caring for his father’s sheep involved confronting lions and bears. This rigorous training made him tough, enabling him to trust that the God who delivered him from the jaws of a lion and a bear would also deliver him from the giant.

If you’re facing challenges or tests, view them as opportunities for promotion. Instead of praying for an easy way out, pray for strength and resilience to overcome the obstacles in your path.

Don’t be disheartened by challenges or tests; consider them knocks on your door, signaling an opportunity for promotion. Embrace the stretch, the discomfort, and the movement out of your comfort zone. Reflect on our journey as a church: two years ago, we transitioned, investing time and resources. Now, we are moving again, unable to carry everything with us. Structural work and new investments are required for the next phase.

For those part of a growing church, abandon the idea of settling down. Growth demands continuous movement and a departure from comfort. This isn’t the time to retire; it’s the time to press forward, to keep growing, and to embrace promotions in faith.

Let go of the notion that one day the church will acquire land and everyone will be settled. Instead, anticipate yearly contributions to building funds, understanding that the budget will only increase. Embrace the reality that growth requires ongoing commitment and financial support. Get accustomed to the idea that, while we are here, we will keep moving, growing, and advancing in faith. 

I arrived in this part of the city in 2021, and ever since, it has been a journey fueled by faith. Every aspect of our lives, from securing a house and a car to building two places, has been part of this faith journey. As we prepare to move into a third place, I can affirm that each year has unfolded as a faith journey.

Let me share a profound truth with you: your growth isn’t hindered due to a lack of resources; it’s often stunted by a lack of vision and faith. Consider the Israelites leaving Egypt, entering the promised land, facing giant kings with enormous beds. The challenges seemed insurmountable. When Moses sent 12 spies, 10 were overwhelmed by the obstacles, questioning their purpose. However, two, like Caleb, had a different spirit. They were moved not by what they saw in the natural but by the word of the Lord. Despite facing the same challenges, they were guided by faith.

In your own life, you might encounter situations that seem overwhelming. Your contract might be nearing its end, and everything around you might appear to be crumbling. Yet, this is precisely when you must rise above your circumstances, step out of your comfort zone, and declare God’s word. We are not swayed by our circumstances; we are moved by faith. When you receive a promise, hold onto it with confidence.

3 essential aspects to cultivate in your heart for faith

Now, let’s focus on three essential aspects to cultivate in your heart for faith to thrive, as faith is a matter of the heart, not just a mental agreement.

Check your desires

James 1:14 – But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 

What are the desires of your heart? Are they in alignment with God’s Word and His promises? This alignment is crucial for cultivating faith in your heart. When desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it brings forth death. Do you see the progression? It is desire that gives birth to sin. When sin is fully grown, it leads to death. Therefore, it is essential to examine your desires.

Not all desires are inherently bad. The key is to discern which desires are godly and which are ungodly. By ungodly desires, I don’t just mean irrational ones. An ungodly desire is any rooted in the disbelief of God’s goodness. It’s a desire that emerges when you doubt God’s goodness. Consider the example of Job. God did not test Job; rather, Job was tested because of his own desire that birthed sin and eventually led to death.

What was Job’s desire? He desired the protection of his children. Is that not a good desire? Certainly, every parent wishes for their children’s protection. However, the issue lay in the fact that this desire was not rooted in the goodness of God. How do we know this? The Bible reveals that whenever Job’s children would party, he would sacrifice in the morning, fearing they might have sinned against the Lord. He had more faith in the sacrifice than in the goodness of God. As a result, in Job 3, he confesses that what he feared happened to him. That desire, rooted in the disbelief of God’s goodness, gave birth to a sin: fear. Fear serves as a gateway for demons and Satan to wreak havoc in one’s life.

While it may seem logical and natural to desire certain things, if those desires are not rooted in the goodness of God, they are sinful. Let me reiterate: Any desire not rooted in the goodness of God is a sinful desire, regardless of how logical or natural it may appear.

Consider Eve’s state before her conversation with the serpent. The fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil wasn’t initially desirable to her. Despite daily encounters with the tree, she didn’t find it appealing. However, after engaging in conversation with the devil, her perspective changed. The Bible notes that she started to see the fruit as pleasing and desirable, believing it would make her wise. Now, desiring wisdom isn’t inherently wrong. The critical question is: where is the desire rooted?

Take note of the devil’s strategy in his initial question to Eve. He asked if God had forbidden them from eating from any tree, instilling a sense of lack. The devil aimed to portray God as a restrictive figure, emphasizing control over abundance. Eve, in response, acknowledges the restriction on eating from the trees in the middle of the garden, though this was not entirely accurate. The devil successfully deceived her into perceiving God as limiting and not entirely good.

This is where the issue lies—the desire for wisdom became ungodly because it was rooted in Eve’s disbelief in the goodness of God. She fell for the lie that God restricts, rather than understanding His abundant nature. It’s a reminder to examine your heart for sinful desires that lack a foundation in the goodness of God.

The solution, however, isn’t necessarily to change your desires but to shift the posture of your heart. If your desires are rooted in the goodness of God, they transform from being sinful to godly. Delighting in the Lord is key, and the promise is that He will grant you the desires of your heart. God isn’t opposed to your desires; the crucial factor is where these desires find their roots—in belief or unbelief. Transition from unbelief to the goodness of God. 

2 Peter 1:4 – by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

The verse states that every corruption present in the world stems from a sinful desire. This is a matter to be treated with utmost seriousness. A desire rooted in unbelief has the potential not only to corrupt your heart and mind but also to adversely affect your physical well-being. Sinful desires, those not anchored in the goodness of God but rather grounded in unbelief, have the power to bring corruption, impacting not just your emotions but your overall health.

Desires wield significant influence. We, as believers, have the privilege of walking in the goodness of God. As Paul emphasizes in Romans 2, it is the goodness of God that leads people to repentance. Therefore, the key is to consistently abide in the goodness of God. Even if you continue praying and reading the Word, the focus should remain on the goodness of God. Acknowledge that it’s not your efforts or prayers that make things happen, but the goodness of God.

Reflect on the example of Job. The issue wasn’t with his sacrifices; it was that Job had forgotten the goodness of God. In a similar manner, as you pray and engage in spiritual activities, center your attention on the goodness of God. Declare His goodness, especially when faced with challenges in the natural. Affirm, “God, You are good. I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

Sharing a personal testimony, my father had a stroke in early 2019, and the situation seemed hopeless. Yet, in the middle of the night, I received a word from the Lord: “You shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Despite the discouraging medical prognosis, I declared this truth. Within four days, he was discharged from the hospital. The emphasis is not on the declaration itself but on aligning our reality with God’s goodness through declaration.

Examine your heart diligently. Check for any desires that are not firmly rooted in the goodness of God. The goal is not to change your desires but to shift the foundation of those desires to God’s goodness.

 

Check your joy level

James 1:2 –  Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds.

Check your joy level— the depth of joy.  we are reminded to count it all joy, not merely a fraction of joy. When facing life’s trials and challenges, embrace joy wholeheartedly. Whether encountering difficulties or unforeseen circumstances, consider it all joy. Allow joy to permeate every aspect of your being.

For instance, if someone rear-ends your car while driving, resist the urge to lament the broken tail light. Instead, rejoice in the prospect of a new car that the Lord may provide. Shift your perspective and count it all joy. Reflect on the example of Paul and Silas, battered and imprisoned, yet singing songs of praise in the darkest hour. This transcends mere positive motivation; it stems from the depth of the spirit. Joy is a fruit of the spirit, a tangible reality in the kingdom.

Approximately one-third of the kingdom is joy, and that joy resides within you. Examine your joy level as an indicator of your faith. If your joy is lacking, return to the Word and rekindle it. It’s a simple process: dance if you don’t feel joy. By doing so, you instruct your body to align with faith, and your mind will subsequently follow suit. Put on a worship or praise song, especially when facing overwhelming challenges like mounting credit card bills. In the privacy of your room, dance like David, declaring victory through joy.

The Old Testament Israelites understood this principle. In times of adversity, when surrounded by enemies with limited resources and no apparent solution in the natural, they released their tools and weapons and began praising God. Acknowledge that praise brings victory, and joy is the key. Evaluate your joy level— if it’s not at its peak, reconnect with the Word, dance, and embrace the joy that overflows. 

Hebrews 12:2 – looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

It speaks of Jesus, who serves as a remarkable example for us. While it’s impossible to compare our experiences to what Jesus went through, his endurance through the crucifixion was fueled by the anticipation of joy. This joy gave him the strength to bear the cross and endure the suffering. What was this joy? It was the joy of seeing you and me saved. His focus on this joy provided the endurance necessary to face such immense challenges. Remember, the joy of the Lord is our strength, especially during challenging times.

Reflect on your own joy level. A vibrant and joyous church should be a place of celebration, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Others may find it perplexing, but the spiritual realm operates beyond our natural understanding. Embrace joy as it can be the doorway to your breakthrough.

Take a moment to sing and make melody to God, even if it’s within the privacy of your own space. It may seem crazy, but it brings deliverance. Dance, sing, and let the joy of Jesus flood your emotions and thoughts. As you do so, you’ll realize that though the external situation may not have changed, you have changed. This internal transformation will empower you with the faith to change your circumstances. 

 

Check your patience level. 

The Bible teaches that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and endurance. Endurance, in turn, grants strength to overcome trials, and this strength is marked by patient endurance. 

Hebrews 6:12 – so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Inheriting promises is contingent upon both faith and patience; one cannot exist without the other. Complaining and patience are incompatible. True patience involves waiting with a positive attitude, maintaining high faith, and waiting with joy even when the desired change is not yet visible.

Consider the story of Caleb, one of the two spies who brought a positive report when the Israelites were poised to enter the promised land. Despite the discouraging report from the majority of spies, Caleb, described as having a different spirit, received a promise from the Lord. Due to the disbelief of others, including a 40-year delay caused by their disobedience, Caleb’s promise was also postponed.

At the age of 85, 45 years after receiving the promise, Caleb approached Joshua, declaring that the word given to him was still alive in his heart. Despite the passing years, Caleb exhibited the strength of a 40-year-old, untouched by the effects of time. His body and spirit remained strong because he clung to the promise. Caleb, at 85, sought permission to drive out the giants in the promised land, showcasing that faith and patience can sustain strength and vitality, regardless of age.

If you find yourself at 85, let me assure you, the anointing to overcome giants is still within you. How did this happen for Caleb? He stayed rooted in the word of God. In Joshua 14, he emphasizes bringing forth the word again—the same word God spoke to him 45 years ago. This consistent reliance on the word strengthened him.

Have you received a promise from the Lord that hasn’t manifested yet? The answer lies in staying on that word. Stay on it, and it will cultivate the faith, joy, and patience needed for endurance. Even if years have passed without fulfillment, especially if the delay is due to someone else’s unbelief, your time has no negative impact on the strength you possess. You are meant to conquer giants, but the first step is envisioning it in your mind. You need to see it happening in your thoughts because what your mind cannot conceive, your hands cannot grasp.

When God promises your inheritance, envision it as yours, regardless of the time it takes to materialize. God’s restoration is not just about returning what was lost but doing so abundantly. When God restores, it’s as if you lost nothing, as if time was not stolen from you. This is the shalom of God—nothing missing, nothing broken. You have the power within you, and when God’s peace works through you, it can restore everything in your life.

It’s worth the wait. The weight of the wait is worth it, my friends. If you’ve received a promise, staying committed to it is worth every moment of anticipation. Whether you’re waiting for a life partner or any other promise, examine your desires, ensuring they align with the goodness of God. If the word is from the Lord, the wait is worth it.

Regardless of the time that passes, when God’s word is fulfilled, it will feel as if you received the promise just today. You won’t miss out or lose anything. In the Bible, there is no example of someone who stayed committed to God’s word and missed out on life. It may seem like you’re caught in the middle of a storm, like the disciples on the sea, yet when Jesus steps in, instantaneously you reach your destination. Everything will make sense when you arrive at the shore.

In the midst of the sea, nothing seems logical, but you must relinquish your need for things to make sense. God’s peace surpasses understanding. Surrendering the desire to make sense of everything allows you to truly believe in God, and as you believe, everything will start to make sense.

Check three things: your heart for desire, your joy level, and your patience. All three are rooted in one thing—whether your focus is on the goodness of God. When your mind is fixed on God’s goodness, every desire, emotion, and patience flow from godliness. Focus on the goodness of God, and the word the Lord has given you will be fulfilled. The Lord’s promises are sure to come through.


About the author

Samuel Thomas

Samuel is a second-generation pastor with a rich heritage in the Holy Spirit. He has been the pastor of Lighthouse Church since 2017 with a two-word mission statement: transforming lives. Samuel's priority in life has been to know Christ and to grow deeper in His love.

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