Ingredients of Faith

Language brings people together, irrespective of geographical location. When the Tower of Babel was built, God confused the people by giving them different languages and they separated and spread across the entire world.

January 9, 2023

Habakkuk 3:17-18 (ESV) – Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Though everything around us seems negative sometimes, we need to learn to rejoice in the Lord and labour in His Word.

 Language Unites People

Language brings people together, irrespective of geographical location. When the Tower of Babel was built, God confused the people by giving them different languages and they separated and spread across the entire world.

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the people in the room, and they spoke in one language – the language of God. The Holy Spirit came in the form of tongues of fire, clearly to say that we have been united by the language of God and that it is our time to speak. We need to bank on the Word that is taught so that we will learn to speak and release the same Word wherever we are. We are identified by the words we speak, so we must learn to speak the language of God.

Faith vs Trust

Most of us misunderstand faith and trust and often mistake the two for the same. Faith and trust are different and not synonymous.

To trust God is to know that God is in control and will take care of us. But faith is much more than that. Our faith is tested when we face a mountain. Most times, our response in times of crisis is to trust God, but faith requires us to do much more. Faith speaks! A mature Christian speaks to the mountain instead of asking God to remove the mountain. Maturity is when we learn to respond to the situation in faith.

Mark 11:23 (ESV) – Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will
come to pass, it will be done for him.

Faith is not praying for the mountain to be removed, but speaking to it. Most of us usually pray the most when we face a mountain. But prayer shouldn’t be something we do only in times of crisis. Prayer is intimacy. Intimacy can be broken down into four words: “into me you see”. We open up our hearts to God in prayer, not so He can solve our problems, but so He can look into our hearts and work in us and with us. We build intimacy with God in prayer because we love Him. Prayer and intimacy with Him are important so that our hearts can align with His.

We think that in prayer, we can twist God’s arm into doing something for us. But the opposite is what we really need. God’s will for us is always good, pleasing and perfect and His will for us does not need to change. Hence, we pray for God to change our hearts, so that our will aligns with His.

Faith is built on trust, but it is worked out when we speak. There needs to be a balance of faith and trust, where we speak God’s word and pray in intimacy.

Faith vs Hope

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV) – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Just as faith is not the same as trust, faith is not the same as hope either. Faith is the assurance that we will receive the things we hoped for. For example, if hope is the house we wish to buy, faith is the title deed.

Hope is futuristic; faith is present. Hope is what God has promised us; faith is the assurance of what God has promised us in hope. Faith is the substance (reality) of things hoped for. Faith begins with hope. Without hope, we cannot have faith. Hope comes from God’s Word and knowing His will for our lives.

Romans 15:13 (ESV) – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

God communicates hope to us through images (imagination). When Abraham struggled to believe God’s promise of a child, He asked Abraham to step out of his tent and look up to the sky. God put the image of a sky full of stars in Abraham’s mind to help him imagine. God then asks him to look at the sand on the seashore as a second image to hold onto. This is how God built Abraham’s imagination and gave him hope.

In life, we operate based on the imagination that we carry. Through years of conditioning, our imagination has been programmed a certain way, which in turn causes us to respond to situations accordingly. The best place to find the right images to focus on, is in God’s Word.

Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV) – For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Our imagination determines how we behave. We can’t imagine lack and operate in generosity.

Proverbs 4:23 (ESV) – Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.

All of our realities are different and it is determined by what goes on in our hearts. Whatever is in our heart flows out to become the experience of our life. That is why we need to guard our hearts so that when a crisis comes, we respond in faith.

The Power of Imagination and Confession

Matthew 12:34 – For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Our imagination and confession are connected. We only confess what we imagine. When our words don’t align with what is in our hearts, we turn into hypocrites. We can’t say good things when our hearts are evil. We can’t speak to the mountain without changing the picture in our heart.

Believing is of the heart, not of the mind.

Moses sent twelve spies out to Canaan to inspect the land. Out of the twelve, only two(Joshua and Caleb) gave good reports. The remaining ten said that they seemed like grasshoppers in front of the giants in the land (Numbers 13). No one actually said these words to them, but this is how they saw (imagined) themselves in their own eyes. Joshua and Caleb saw the same giants in the same land, but they had a better report to give because the picture they had in their hearts was not the same as the others. They saw the God that was with them!

David had the courage to face, fight and defeat Goliath because in his imagination, he
had already seen God delivering him (1 Samuel 17:37, 45-50)!

Imagination is reality in itself. God judges and justifies us based on our imagination.  Jesus said that to think (imagine) lustfully is to commit adultery. This is why we need sanctified imaginations. Negative pictures in our hearts can only be removed when we replace them with better ones by labouring in the Word.

When we have images that come from hope, they fill us with joy and peace (Romans 15:13), which are Kingdom realities. Faith begins with hope. Hope is birthed out of imagination (pictures). Imagination draws out the Kingdom reality that is within us. The Kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy (Romans 14:17). If we can stay in the hope that God gives us through these pictures, we will overflow in joy and peace. Once we overflow in this Kingdom reality, we speak.

It is okay to have doubts when we are believing, but it is important that we don’t remain in that place of doubt and we replace doubt with the right pictures and emotions, because believing is of the heart, not of the mind. We need to rejoice in the picture that God gives us. This is what helps us to act in faith. Speaking is putting faith into action.

Romans 10:9 (ESV) – because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and
believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

We need to confess what we believe.

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

Matthew 15:22-28 (ESV) – And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

The woman in this story is a Canaanite and a Gentile. She pleads for her daughter’s healing three times and Jesus’ response each time is different. The first time, He ignores her. The second time, He rejects her. The third time, He insults her. But despite Jesus’ response, she continued to pursue Him because she had faith in the Word, and that she was in the presence of the Messiah, the Son of David, the promised King! She did not let her experience define the Word, but she let the Word define her experience.

When everything seems to be going against us and we are in conflict with what we have heard and believed, we need to cling to the Word even more, and double down on what God says!

“The righteous shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:17

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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