Real Faith – part 2
Part 2 of 2 [Read Part One yet?]
We said in part 1 that there is human faith – evidenced in everyday experiences – like faith in the government, verbal contracts, your spouse, the chair you are sitting on, etc. Human faith is sometimes turned toward God. But it’s not the kind of faith that will get you through difficult times or actually change your circumstances.
For dealing with the tough decisions, difficult problems, times of real trial, and the experience of miracles, real faith is necessary. I call it spiritual faith or real faith, to distinguish it from mere human faith.
Where does spiritual faith come from?
Jesus is the source of real faith:
Heb. 12:1-2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith . . .
Acts 3:16 (NIV) “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing . . .”
Faith originates with God – it is His gift to us:
Rom. 12:3 “. . . think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”
The “measure of faith” is – just what you need to get the job done. This is faith given at a particular time of need or for a particular purpose; for instance, the saving faith that brings us to God.
Eph. 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
God also gives faith as an anointing of the Spirit:
1 Cor. 12: 7-10 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit . . .”
We don’t own these anointing-gifts of God – they come and go as God pleases. Without the Holy Spirit, we can’t operate in these gifts. Remember, we are just the mailmen delivering His package for a particular need on a given occasion.
Though there are measures of faith and anointings of faith, faith is also a fruit.
As a child I could only recognize the kind of trees in our small orchard by the fruit that appeared on them in fruit season. The fruit began as a flower, then formed a small fruit “bud”, and grew until it reached maturity and ripened.
Faith as a fruit:
John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit . . .”
2 Thess. 1:3 “We ought always to thank God for you. . . because your faith is growing more and more and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.”
Not only does the fruit that grows on a particular tree depend on the nature of the tree, but that fruit has to remain on the tree until it is fully grown; it won’t continue to grow after being picked from the tree.
You cannot maintain freshness and continue to grow the fruit of faith without maintaining a relationship with the branch, connected to the tree, fed by the “root of faith”.
There are a two important things the Scripture says about the operation of faith.
1. Faith and love work together:
In the New Testament there are about 50 references to faith in the same context as love.
Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus . . . The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
1 Cor. 13:2 ”And if I have faith that can move mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing.”
Without a love for God and a love for people, we would misuse faith. We would pray selfishly, or without thought of consequences. Love is greater than faith, and will moderate the use of faith.
1 Cor. 13:13 – “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
2. Faith and patience work together
Heb. 6:12 “Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
Through patience, faith’s work is perfected in us. Faith is not about getting our will done – it’s about getting God’s will done. It’s about “on earth as it is in heaven.”
I want to operate in “real faith”, not an imitation – only the supernatural kind that can’t be explained away. The kind that will bring glory to my heavenly Father and bring heaven into this realm; the kind that will cause people to say, “What a dad you have! I’d like to get to know Him.”
What have you discovered about faith that you can share with us?
©2011, Marcy Alves
Posted on April 13, 2011, in Christian Growth, My Journey and tagged belief, believing God, Christianity, faith, God’s gifts, love, marcy alves, real faith, Religion & Spirituality, source of faith, spiritual formation, spiritual fruit, spiritual journey. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.