Everything that happens to us supernaturally happens by faith. Somewhere, somehow, someone has to release faith for the supernatural to happen in our lives.
Just think for a moment how you came to be born again.
Maybe it was a friend, sibling or spouse who prayed for you to come into the kingdom of God. Maybe it was a great-great-grandmother who prayed for your salvation long before you were even born. It may have been someone on the other side of the world who interceded for you in the spirit, praying in other tongues and never even knowing what—or for whom—they prayed.
Oftentimes, we never know. But the point is, at some moment in time, faith must be released on our behalf for a supernatural event—like salvation—to happen in our lives.
In my life, I know of at least one person who prayed and released faith on my behalf concerning my salvation, but I didn’t know it at the time. That person was Ken’s mother. In fact, just a few months after Ken and I married, I got saved by reading a Bible that his mother had sent him for his birthday. It wasn’t long afterward that Ken was born again, too.
So whether it’s getting us born again or getting us healed, whether it’s avoiding a financial disaster or avoiding a fatal car wreck, faith must be released. Someone’s faith must be in operation—and if it’s not our faith that gets us in the right place at the right time, then it’s somebody else’s that does.
Throw Open the Windows!
Isn’t it comforting to know that God has people of faith and people of prayer scattered throughout each generation—people who pray and believe on our behalf?
But you know, I discovered that you and I cannot live on somebody else’s faith the rest of our lives. If we try to, we probably won’t live out the full number of our days on this earth. We won’t walk in the fullness of the financial blessings God has stored up for us. We won’t walk in the fullness of the ministry gifts God wants to pour out on us for the benefit of the world around us, a world that’s full of lost, sick, lonely and needy people.
If you and I continue to depend only on the faith of other believers—our spouses, our parents, our children, or even our pastors and spiritual leaders—we will always be hindered and hampered, and never as free and successful as God wants us to be.
So we must develop our faith. We must learn how to operate in our own faith. That’s why, in this two-part series, I want us to focus on four specific principles of faith.
Now, obviously, there are more than four principles to faith, but I want to introduce these four to you because I consider them to be vital. I believe they are essential to understanding how God designed faith to operate in our lives. With that understanding in hand, we can then use our faith more effectively.
In this first half of our study, I want us to examine two of the four principles, the first of which is: Faith gives God an opening.
We read in Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Verse 2 tells us that we have “access”—by faith—to the grace of God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. It is our faith that allows us access to God’s grace. That sounds reassuring, but what exactly does it mean?
Let’s look at verse 2 in The Amplified Bible: “Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace—state of God’s favor—in which we [firmly and safely] stand.”
That’s a mouthful, but basically the Apostle Paul is telling us that faith gives us access to God’s favor. Our faith gives God an opening through which He can pour all His favor into our lives.
The moment you and I received Jesus as our Lord, we gave God an opening into our lives. Our faith gave Him entrance to come in and save us. By faith, we gained access to the favor of God to be born again. But that was just the beginning.
There is still much more of God’s favor for us to receive and experience every day of our lives. Faith requires that we continually receive the Word of God to lay hold of all of God’s goodness. Faith is kept alive and working by taking God’s Word into your heart.
Believing God’s Word concerning any area of life and acting in line with that Word is faith. The force of faith is activated by hearing and believing God’s Word. It is a spiritual force produced by the abiding Word of God in the heart.
You and I were created by God with the ability to choose. He gave us a will. So, when it comes to our relating to and interacting with God, we make choices to believe what He says or to disregard what He says. Many times the right choice requires faith to believe what He says rather than how it looks to the natural eye.
In Deuteronomy 28, as God prepared to cut covenant with His people, Israel, He told Moses to tell them, “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee…” (verses 1-2). That was the bright side of the picture.
On the other side, God warned Moses that if the people of Israel chose not to hearken to His voice and obey His commandments, then they would suffer consequences. The rest of Deuteronomy 28 contains more than 50 verses detailing the curses that would overtake them.
God laid everything out for the Israelites, all the terms and details of His covenant. Then, He told them in Deuteronomy 30:19-20:
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
God operates by promise. He gives His Word. If you believe and obey it no matter what, He brings that promise to pass in your life.
The bottom line was whether or not the children of Israel trusted God enough to agree to His terms of the covenant. If they did, they would have to walk in His ways. They had to choose by faith.
A Choice to Make
Noah is a good example.
Early in the book of Genesis we read how, when God first approached Noah about building the ark, no one had ever heard of the concept of rain. No one knew drops of water could fall from the sky because it had never rained before. Up to that point, an underground sprinkler system of sorts—dew—had been used to water the earth. Yet, here was God talking to Noah about rain, floods and building a big boat.
Well, Noah had a choice to make, Do I believe God and build this monstrosity called an ark, or don’t I? It was a far out plan to Noah’s natural understanding, but God knew exactly what He was doing.
Noah chose to believe God.
Once Noah made his decision, it took a long time to build that ark. After all, he only had his family to help him build it. Everyone else thought he was crazy. “Crazy old Noah—building a floating house with no water to put it in.”
Don’t you know during the construction phase of that ark, Noah had plenty of opportunities to change his mind and back out of this foolish-looking project of his.
Nonetheless, he continued in faith. When God said—“Everything that is on the land shall die. But I will establish my covenant (promise, pledge) with you” (Genesis 6:17-18, The Amplified Bible)—Noah believed Him.
We find out that not only did Noah obey God by building the ark, he also obeyed by preaching to the unrighteous people while he and his family hammered and sawed. He preached what God told him to preach. The Bible says Noah was a preacher of righteousness. I have no doubt the people said he was a faith preacher!
So, like Noah—and all the other heroes of faith in the Old Testament—if you and I are going to live supernaturally, if we are going to have the supernatural blessings of God overtake us, instead of curses, then we must give God an opening—and faith is that opening. Our faith is like opening a window to God.
Believing Is Faith
Remember, God is no dictator. He never forces His way into our lives like the devil does. He never tries to deceive us. When God laid out His promises, He made them plain and simple. Then He gave us a choice.
Certainly, you and I don’t have to believe what God says. But if we want to live healed, prosperous, blessed in every way, then we will have to believe what He says. That is faith!
Psalms 35:27 says God “takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant,” but that doesn’t mean we have to walk in prosperity. If we want to, we can live in the natural realm and refuse supernatural increase. God won’t force it on us.
If, however, we choose to take God at His Word, we can walk in the fullness of His prosperity for our lives. All we have to do is give Him an opening. All we have to do is believe what He says, instead of believing what we see, hear, or feel.
The second principle I want to introduce to you is: Faith comes.
Like God, faith is no respecter of persons. Anyone can have faith. In fact, Romans 12:3 tells us that God “hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (speaking to born-again people). Consequently, any believer can develop faith. Faith will always come when God’s Word is heard and received.
To learn more about the conditions that cause faith to rise up in any given situation, let’s read Romans 10:13-17.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
First, notice that this passage of scripture begins with a promise from God—“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (verse 13).
So in verse 13, Paul declares a promise and then goes on to show the supernatural process by which it draws faith out of our hearts—the faith that is necessary to lay hold of the promise and cause the reality of it to manifest in our lives.
Faith Comes By Hearing
There are approximately 6,000 promises from God recorded in the Bible, and each one was carefully written down for us.
If you and I were to take each of those promises and read them, speak them out loud and keep them before our eyes, in our mouths and in our ears—eventually—faith would rise up within us. Why? Because faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing the promises of God.
You see, faith is simply believing what we hear. It’s believing what we read and what we say. If we believe what we hear, say and read, and we let it get deep in our hearts, soon faith will rise up within us and see to it that everything we hear, say and read comes to pass. The faith that rises within us gives God an opening to bring His promises to pass.
This point is further reinforced—though in a negative sense—by Paul’s account of what Isaiah had to say about the unbelieving children of Israel.
The Israelites of old really did not believe God’s promises. They didn’t take His covenant to heart. How do we know they didn’t? We just read in verse 16 that they didn’t obey the gospel. Because they did not take God’s Word to heart, faith didn’t rise within them.
To illustrate this point, let’s say I were to tell Kenneth, “You know, I noticed you drooling over that Harley motorcycle you saw for sale the other day, and I’ve been thinking and praying about it, and I just want to bless you with it. I want to buy that motorcycle for you.”
If I were to make a promise like that to Kenneth, and he knew I would keep my word, and he knew I had the money to buy it, I guarantee you he would get excited. Why?
Based on my word, based on my resources, based on my promise, Kenneth would have faith that I would do what I said. In fact, I’m confident he’d start acting as though he already had the keys to that motorcycle in his hand.
He’d start thinking about where he could go on his new motorcycle and what other pieces of chrome and pin stripes he could put on it. He would be in an absolute stir over my promise to buy him a new motorcycle. He would already see himself riding it.
Well, it’s no different with God. If God promises He will do something, He will do it. He is more dependable than anyone you know.
Remember those 6,000 promises recorded in the Bible?
They’ve already been established as reality for us. We read in II Corinthians 1:20 that “all the promises of God in [Jesus] are yea, and in [Jesus] Amen.”
So, if you need healing, it’s done. If you need food, it’s done. If you need protection, it’s done. If you need a house, or a job, it’s done. You and I don’t have to try and talk God into any of these things—they’re already done! God promised them to us, then He ratified His promise through the blood of Jesus, the sacrifice of His own Son.
What is our responsibility, then?
As we saw earlier, we must give God a window. We must give Him an opening into our lives by faith—and not just when we get born again, but every moment of every day!
You and I must keep the promises of God—His precious Word—before us at all times…reading them, speaking them, listening to them. In short, we must do everything it takes to get the Word in our hearts. Because, when we do…faith will come!
So commit to God’s Word. Commit to it, and I guarantee you that faith won’t just come some of the time or, maybe, most of the time. No, faith will come all the time! It will come every time that you believe it enough to receive it in your heart to abide. And when it comes, so will the fulfillment of God’s promises in your life. –Gloria Copeland