Faith is a significant issue in the Scriptures. We are told that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:16). We are told that faith is the door to access salvation and unlock the benefits thereof. Jesus is very clear that at His return He is going to be looking for faith on the earth (Luke 18:8). Paul exhorts us to walk by faith and not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7). Throughout the Scriptures faith is very clearly presented as the thing that operates the Kingdom of God. We cannot be redeemed without it. We cannot please God without it. We cannot even access God without it.
Why is faith so important in God’s economy? Why does He put such an emphasis on it? In this age of materialism and science where we trust only what we can inspect and verify with our hands, faith seems to be a superstitious relic to a non-believer, and the believer often fails to grasp its significance and operation as well. To really understand faith, you must go back to the garden to an interchange between Eve and the serpent that literally changed human history forever.
In the garden, the serpent brought a chilling question in Genesis 3:1, asking Eve, “Did God really say…” This questioning of what God had spoken was the door that opened Even to an interchange that quickly led her to trust her own perception over the command of God. The serpent led her to a place where she could place confidence in her own perception and her own ability to discern things over the commandment of God. In that moment, she could no longer trust God absolutely. Doubt had been planted in her heart and she acted on it with disastrous results.
Eve was in an environment that is very different from the one you and I are in. She was untouched by sin and rebellion. The Scriptures are also clear that she had daily interaction with God. Considering the fact that she was created without a fallen nature and had a heart without the deep root of sin, her fellowship with God would have been very open and personal without the barriers that we experience.
This is what is so amazing about the human heart. God gave the human heart so much of His own nature that even in her fellowship with God where He was affirming His unique relationship with her and Adam on a daily basis, she could still be brought to a place where she lost confidence in what God said. Being made in the image of God, she carried around a capacity to make decisions that she was not fit to make. She carried a capacity to question God and in fact put herself in the place of God by making judgments about good and evil that she was not qualified to make. This capacity alone shows us how incredibly unique man is and how incredibly we are made in His image. So we see, that daily fellowship with God was not enough to keep Eve from questioning what God said and that question led to the greatest downfall in history, the fall of the human race. This fall has left it’s ugly, evil shadow over all humanity ever since then.
God always deals with the root of an issue rather than the fruits are results of it. Jesus was so ruthless on religiosity because good works are meaningless if they spring from a heart that has evil roots in it. The violence of the cross is a dramatic illustration that the roots in men’s hearts from which their thoughts and actions spring, even the “good” ones, are not good enough and must be violently torn out and replaced with a new root from God Himself.
One of the most deadly roots in us came from this interchange with Even. It is the questioning of the Word of God. We consider the Word of God based on human understanding and based on what we perceive and can grasp and then make a judgment on whether or not what God said is truly worthy of our obedience. I fear we probably do this far more than we know.
In the western world, we are so ingrained with the scientific method that we approach all of life, including spirituality, from that vantage point. In fact the great argument of the atheists in our generation is that they cannot scientifically measure and perceive God therefore He must not exist. This is a root that has come to us from Eve and it is a very root of Satan and it must be pulled out.
God’s solution for this root of unbelief is faith. If we are going to become all that God created us to be, we must have an absolute confidence in God’s nature whether or not there is a measurable and observable justification for our confidence in Him.. Faith is the ultimate test of our confidence in God and it is tested in the absence of physical reinforcement not in the presence of it. Faith is the thing that uproots the unbelief and rebellion that is deeply rooted in our hearts. We are so comfortable with it that we do not even realize how deeply we are affected by it.
The plan that God has for redeemed humanity is so far beyond what we could ever even consider. He gives only a few hints in the Scriptures of what He has planned for man, but the fact that He made us in His image and the great personal price He paid for redemption reveal that God has something incredible in store. What He has in store is going to require a redeemed humanity that have forever conquered this poison of unbelief.
In order to build this sort of believer, God requires faith. The life of the believer has its genesis in an act of faith in the work of Christ and the progression of our walk with Him requires ever increasing amounts of faith. God will require more and more faith of you as you walk with Him in order to root out your unbelief. Only He knows how deadly that root is. It led to the fall of all of humanity, so it cannot have any place in God’s kingdom.
God will lead you in your walk with Him to moments where you will have to distrust even yourself and have confidence only in Him. He will bring you to crisis moments where you have to trust what He says and who He is over what you perceive with your body and your mind and what you feel in your heart. You may think you are going mad, but you are not. God is pulling out the root of unbelief and planting a new root of faith and confidence in Him. It is often a painful process and a painful moment when God does His work, but it is a necessary thing if we are going to recover our relationship with God as He originally intended it to be.
God is going to have a people, a harvest of the earth, that have passed the test of faith. They will be a people that will deny even their own hearts in the moment of testing to put full confidence in what God says. Sure, God could overwhelm hearts with His presence and His reality in order that we might have confidence in Him, but He knows that experiences fade and what the human heart experiences in one moment it will question and deny in a later moment unless this root of unbelief is dealt with.
For this reason, God will make His requirement of faith on you. In most cases, faith will be required with no feeling and no reinforcement from God in that critical moment. This is not because He does not love us or because He is not there, as the atheist claim, it is because this is a requirement to restore our confidence in Him to the point that no devil or circumstance could ever lead us to make Eve’s fatal mistake again.
God knows that we are weak and will test our faith up to the limit and then afterwards encourage us with His presence, but rest assured He will keep pushing the limits of our faith until we have a confidence in Him that is beyond what we can measure or observe and even overrides what we feel in our own heart. When God comes to you with this requirement know that He is coming to root unbelief out of you and that the fruit of this work will be a vibrant, living faith and that faith will lead you into the very experience of God that you are longing for. Experiencing God is critical, for if we never experience God, our faith is not living but merely intellectual or religious, but it is often the working of faith in the absence of experience that often brings the experience of God that our soul craves and that God craves for us.
This faith is not simply a claiming a thing you do not have or see, or speaking a thing you desire when you see no way to obtain it. The kind of faith we are talking about is when you deny the lies of the evil one and even the inclinations of your own heart and trust what God said simply because He said it and for no other reason. It is a confidence in Him that is the root issue in faith, not the learning of a method to obtain a thing that you see no way to obtain. This is not to say that God might not speak a thing and then require faith for that thing to be obtained, but the core issue is not accessing things or specific outcomes, it is confidence in the heart of God that overrides our confidence in everything else, including ourselves.
Men will mock and scoffers will scoff, but a day is soon coming when the wisdom of living this way will be justified. If we are going to be an apostolic church, this is a requirement. There is no way around this. It is a test of maturity that we must go through. I am convinced that Jesus Himself had to walk with the Father through faith and through periods that were lacking in any stimulation and experience of heaven simply that He might demonstrate a deep, abiding faith that depended only on God’s character and not on His present experience of perception.
Do not let men rob you of your faith and do not let your mind deceive you until you demand explanations and manifestations from God before you trust His word. Rather, take confidence in God’s character and promises and walk the difficult walk of Faith and let Him do His work.