We recently did a teaching in our Life Team that I felt was pretty significant and valuable concerning the understanding of faith in its application, and felt that this one would be worth sharing.
I will post this similar to how I presented it to our Life Team- and let you dialog it out that way.
When you think of the concept of faith, what do you think about? (many scriptures, attitudes examples given… etc)
There are many ways to look at faith, and we have to understand that faith is vital to our relationship with God. Without faith, there is no way of pleasing and working with Him. It is impossible.
I want to present two seemingly polar opposites of what faith is- the Fight of Faith and the Rest of Faith.
What scriptures speak of the ‘Fight of Faith?’ 1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Ephesians 6:16…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one…1 Pet.5:8-9a Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith..
These scriptures clearly speak of a combative element that faith must have.
What about the ‘Rest of Faith’? What scriptures speak of this? Heb.3:7 – Heb 4:11 (too long to put in here)Another example given is Jesus sleeping in the boat in the middle of the storm. That is a pretty clear example of a resting in faith.
Is faith something we will have in heaven? Yes- 1 Cor 13:13 says that faith is eternal. We will even need it in heaven in order to please God. We must be on a never-ending journey of going from faith to faith. Question: will we have the Fight of Faith in heaven? (stunned silence…) No, I guess not. Will we have the Rest of Faith in heaven? Yes.
So we can see that the Fight of Faith is something unique to this earth life, but on this earth, we must understand that neither the Fight of Faith nor the Rest of Faith can exist without the other.
Question: what is a COUNTERFEIT of the Fight of Faith? note: I didn’t say ‘opposite’ I said counterfeit. A counterfeit LOOKS like the real thing but isn’t.
I submit to you that the counterfeit of the Fight of Faith is the ‘Stress of faith’. It looks like your are fighting the problem so hard, and saying all the right things, but internally, your focus and faith is more on the condition of the circumstances/problem rather than the promises of God. This causes your reactions to stress out in the midst of the battle and when it comes down to it, there is no real faith as the basis for your actions and words, but just a wishful thinking, and a fervent working to solve the problem, with no real confidence in a victory forthcoming.
Question: Ok, what is a COUNTERFEIT of the Rest of Faith?
I submit to you that the counterfeit of the Rest of Faith is actually the ‘Apathy of faith’. It looks like you are totally comfortable and at peace in the midst of the situation, but in reality, you have totally removed your thoughts from the situation -period. You have checked out. You are neither thinking about the problem as well as the promises of God. You just don’t care, and have better things to think about, when people confront you with the facts, you casually brush them off. But there is no basis of faith in which you are believing to deny the right of those facts to exist. Those facts can do whatever they want to, and although you can say the right words, your internal configuration is one of FEAR, instead of faith and you are trying to squash those fears with ‘positive thinking’ rather than a solid confidence that Faith in God will have the final Word in the situation.
“How can you tell if you are in a counterfeit of either one?”
good question- the way you can know you are not in a counterfeit of one of these is….
You must continually have BOTH the fight of faith and the rest of faith. YOU CANNOT TRULY HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. If you have one, but not the other you will ultimately have NEITHER, and walk in the counterfeit of each of these. If you have the Rest of Faith without the Fight of Faith, you will not obey 1 Pet.5:9 and resist the devil or the circumstances. You will fall into an ‘easy-come, easy go’ attitude which allows you to be devoured. The fiery darts will easily hit you, because you never confront them with your faith in the Word.
Conversely, if you have the Fight of Faith and not the Rest of Faith, you will never have the understanding of the finality that Faith possesses. You will stress out and end up changing your words, emotions, and actions based on what the circumstances dictate. There is no ‘So SHALL MY WORD BE’ attitude, there is only being tossed to and fro, considering the circumstances more than the dominion of God that has ordained the end result.
You can’t have one without the other. You can’t have the fight without the rest, and you can’t have the rest without the fight.
To take this out of the principle/formula view and into more of a relationship type of view consider this:
One of the most beautiful things about God/Jesus is His (seemingly) opposite characteristics. Let me explain. There is no one that Loves greater than Jesus, but at the same time, we could see his Love so passionate that it would consume anything that would harm the things He loved. Religion, Sickness, Death, Corruption, Deception… You would see his anger lash out to cover and defend who He loved. It was a perfect, pure blend of Love and Anger in the holy nature of 100% goodness.
In the same way, He was a warrior against the works of the enemy- annihilating every instance of what the enemy was doing and setting captives free. But yet, He had no stress about whether what He said or did would be successful. He was totally in control, totally in peace at all times. He completely understood that what He said would come to pass, and no circumstance had the final word in His life. Polar opposites, but these attributes actually perfected each other, and actually required each other to exist.
The Fight of Faith MUST possess the Rest of Faith, and the Rest of Faith MUST possess the Fight of Faith.