Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It's simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step. ~ Joni Erickson Tada
Effective faith is critical for every aspect of Christian life. It takes faith to walk in love. It takes faith to forgive, to pray effectively or to intercede for others. It takes faith to overcome lack, debt and illness. Faith is the cornerstone of Christian living.
The Bible tells us without faith, it is impossible to please God. Several other verses confirm that the just [righteous] shall live by faith. God gave us the benefit and privilege of faith-filled prayer so we can move the mountains in our lives. Why? Because, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). Prayer is neither effective nor fervent, however, without faith in the One to Whom we pray.
Faith simply means taking God at His Word, believing what He said just because He said it. You can test your faith by asking, "Do I believe I am healed by the stripes of Jesus, or do I believe I am sick?" Your body may have symptoms of illness or pain, but faith looks not at the things which are seen [or felt]. Instead, faith understands that the things which are seen are temporal [subject to change], but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). In other words, faith says, "I refuse to believe that problem/pain/situation, I believe God's eternal Word."
Do you laugh and make some joke about forgetfulness, or do you affirm, "Jesus was made unto me wisdom. I have the mind of Christ." Faith understands that the answer (wisdom) for every problem is inside you because God dwells inside you!
When your bank account screams 'empty', do you stand in faith and declare, "God meets ALL my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. My cup runneth over!" Faith knows that God isn't limited to this world's resources, including your paycheck. He can shower blessings from heaven in totally unexpected ways. Think about the manna from heaven, the loaves and fishes and tax money from a fish's mouth.
When the disciples were on a boat with Jesus and a storm arose, they woke Him, asking, "Carest thou not that we perish?" (Mark 4:38). What did Jesus do? He spoke to that storm and it ceased, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus asked them why they had no faith - why they didn't speak to the storm themselves! It doesn't matter what storm the devil stirs up if you develop effective faith.
In Hebrew, the word translated 'word' is also translated as 'thing'. So when you read a verse like, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things... " (Matt. 12:35), you can translate that as 'good words'. The words you speak become the things you see! The reason it works is that God has imbued His Word - and therefore our words - with power to produce what we say. If you speak God's Word by faith, the power in His Word will produce the 'thing' you desire... if you keep your faith effective.
Doubt and unbelief contaminate faith. The moment you allow fear and doubt to enter your thinking, you have turned your back on faith. Now your words (which follow your negative thoughts) will sustain that negative situation and draw more of it to you.
Effective fervent prayer connects our words with God's power. Fervent means great intensity of spirit or feeling, enthusiastic, hot, or glowing. You've seen fervent sports fans. They paint themselves in team colors, show up for every game and yell until they are hoarse! It doesn't matter at the time whether their team is winning or losing. They are convinced that their team is the best ever!
Are your prayers enthusiastic, fervent and full of faith that what God said is true? Or are they quietly doubtful, wondering if it could really happen for you? If your faith seems weak and ineffective, there are two simple steps you can do to help you develop effectual fervent faith.
Pour it in!
Think about this for a moment: what changes your focus, changes your faith. If you keep looking at the problems, your focus is wrong and your results will be ineffective or, worse yet... worse. The key to strong faith is an intense diet of The Word. Faith comes by hearing. Every day, every day, every day - spend time with God and His Word. The more Word you pour into your spirit and mind, the stronger your faith will grow.
Life has a habit of sneaking up on you. One minute everything is wonderful - then something happens and you're in a battle that you never anticipated. That's not the time to start building your faith. The devil has a head start and it's very difficult to overcome some of those situations. Instead, stay in the Word. Keep your focus single-minded and your faith strong.
Pour it on!
When Jesus faced temptation in the wilderness after 40 days without food, His answer to Satan was, "It is written... " Jesus quoted God's Word - and the devil had no defense against it. Jesus didn't waver or wonder if He should reconsider the devil's offers. He didn't let Himself be intimidated by the situation. He simply believed God's Word and used it as His protection and defense.
Later in the Gospels, He explained, "For I have never spoken on My own initiative or authority, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment regarding what to say and what to speak" (John 12:49 AMP). Jesus said what God told Him to say - every time, all the time. He didn't waste His Words, He used them to effect.
Mark's Gospel demonstrates the power of words in the story of the fig tree. And Jesus answered and said unto it, "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever." (v. 11:13). First note, that Jesus 'answered', therefore that fig tree must have spoken first. That seems silly, but I'm guessing that your bank book speaks to you. Your bills speak to you. Your body speaks to you, loud and clear, when you hurt. What are you 'answering' back? What Bible verse are you standing on to defeat that problem?
Paul explained the process this way: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Every time a thought of lack, sickness, defeat or fear comes into your mind, fight back with the same weapon Jesus used - the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17).
Pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17). That doesn't mean every moment, but it does mean that your thoughts should turn to God often throughout the day. Tell Him thank you. Ask for help. Quote a Bible verse. Keep God involved in everything you do and say, allowing your faith to connect to His power.
Have faith in God, Jesus said when the disciples noticed the dead fig tree. He was telling them that they have the same power to speak words of faith and see results. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say to this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith (Mark 11:23).
Faith without works is dead - faith without words won't work. You can think you're a believer, but if you're not speaking to the situations in your life, expecting results, your doubt is showing. Jesus said however we measure it is how we'll receive it. If your faith is tiny, you'll get tiny results. Teaspoon, shovel, wheelbarrow or dump truck - get yourself some bigger faith. Pour it in!
Pour it on! Tell yourself: "My faith works! When I pray, I get results. I expect that mountain to move. The power of God is working in my situation right now."
There is nothing too hard for faith. No mountain too high, no problem too huge, no sickness to dire that faith can't conquer. The power has already been released from heaven on our behalf. Now it's up to us - you and me - to develop effective fervent faith. Pour it in, pour it on!
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Ruth Seebeck has built a reputation over the last three decades as a life-skills coach, mentor, Christian counselor and friend. She is a business owner, author, community volunteer and event coordinator whose passion is helping others overcome life's challenges. Seebeck Solutions: Helping you make the most of What Matters Most!