Faith reaches into the realm of the spirit, grasps the promise of God and brings forth a tangible, physical fulfillment of that promise. ~ Gloria Copeland
Let's talk about faith - the God kind of faith. He defines it as effective faith - faith that moves mountains.
The Apostle Paul knew a lot about faith. He wrote most of the New Testament letters and talks about faith in those Epistles more than 200 times. I'm guessing he has a lot for us to learn about the keys to effective faith.
You might remember that Paul (Saul) persecuted Christians, sanctioning their scourging and execution or imprisonment, prior to his spiritual transformation on the road to Damascus. When he discovered the truth of Jesus Christ, he also discovered the power of effective faith - absolute trust in the integrity and surety of God's power, grace and mercy. He is the one who declared that God meets ALL your need; that God's promises are sure, and faith is your connection to the manifestation of every promise.
In Philemon, Paul prayed that the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus (v. 6). Let's take a deeper look into the wisdom of that scripture.
... the communication: Communication is a means of exchange or expression. Faith communicates. It is not stagnant or ineffective. It connects with, reveals, or causes a transfer of something.
We talk about communicating disease from one person to another. We are aware that our emotions communicate themselves to others. And we communicate verbally by sharing stories, ideas and concepts, warnings and information. You get the idea.
Faith communicates. On a physical level, you place your faith in people and circumstances. "I believe my mom is picking me up after school." Or... "I trust my boss to pay me on Friday."
On a spiritual level, faith communicates your trust in God and His Word. In Hebrews, Paul says faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not [yet] seen (v. 11:1). Be assured, God wants to meet your needs, provide everything you require, and give you the desires of your heart (Ps. 34:7). Faith is the key that connects you to God's heavenly supply.
... of your faith: Paul said in Romans that God gave every man the measure of faith (v. 12:3). That means if you're here on this earth, faith is in you and available, ready to be put to work. Later, in Ephesians, he noted that we should all come into the unity of the faith and... the measure of the fullness of Christ (v. 4:13). If you're going to 'come' to something, you must not be there yet. In other words, you're going to have to grow and develop your faith until it is strong and unshakeable - just like Jesus'.
Jesus never met a disease or situation that He couldn't heal or change. He fed thousands, healed lepers, calmed storms and raised the dead. After He defeated Satan, He affirmed His resurrection to His disciples and sent the Holy Spirit to live in every born-again believer.
Why? So that we would have access to the same kind of faith-power that He did. He explained it this way: Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believes in Me, the works that I do he [you] shall do also; and greater works than these shall he [you] do, because I go unto My Father (John 14:12). He expects us - you and me - to develop our faith to the point where we expect miracles to happen as a result of our prayers.
... may become effectual: Effectual - effective, producing the desired result. If you're not seeing the results you want, something's not working right. Face the fact that God is not the problem. He's already provided everything, every promise and every instruction that you need. Somewhere along the line, your faith is being hindered. It's not making a clear, strong connection.
If you've ever tried to make a cell phone call in the mountains or some rural area, you know the chances are pretty good that the trees and hills are going to block your reception. You need to find out what's blocking your faith-connection - and fix it.
Often, faith is weakened by a lack of faith-food. You may not be spending enough time studying and meditating in The Word of God. It's easy to let the cares and responsibilities of daily life crowd out time with God. Jesus taught as much in the parable of the sower. He said they choke the Word, and [faith] becomes unfruitful (Matt. 13:22). Faith needs nurtured and fed, watered by The Word, to become strong and effective.
Sadly, most people won't do that. They'd rather hope that God will just 'fix it' - wave a magic wand, so to speak, and make it all better. Miracles do happen, but they are usually triggered by someone's faith. Everything God does on this earth is a result of faith and grace. Paul explained in Romans that it [whatever 'it' you are believing or hoping for] is of faith, that it might be given by grace [why?] so that the promise might be sure to all the seed (v. 4:16). The promise is 'sure', confirmed, absolute from God's side. Are you willing to do what it takes to develop your faith to make a strong connection?
... by the acknowledging of every good thing: One way to develop your faith is to recognize and acknowledge the good that is already present in your life. You need to know and admit that whatever good comes your way, it's from God. He's the Master behind it all! His good plan incorporates every good and perfect gift (James 1:17) - from the smallest to the greatest.
The question is: how grateful are you? Do you take time throughout the day to say 'thank you' to your Heavenly Father, to acknowledge His hand in your life? Are you grateful for running water... or the fact that you can get out of bed in the morning. If you don't have those particular blessings, what else can you be grateful for?
It's easy to get your thoughts tangled up in the negatives. Your whole body might feel just fine, but if you have a hangnail, the only thing you notice is the pain in your fingertip. For your faith to be effective, however, you need to focus on the positives and be 'eternally' grateful. In every thing give thanks... (I Thess. 5:18). No matter what you're going through, find the 'good thing' you can be thankful for. Keeping your mind on things which are above (Col. 3:2)is key to developing effective faith.
... which is in you in Christ Jesus: Here's the bottom line. Whatever you need or desire, as long as it's in line with God's Word (I assume you're not praying for an infinite supply of drugs, or for God to hurt someone), the promise is accessible in you! The Bible says that Christ is in you. You carry the seed of faith, love, peace, abundance and every good thing. Now, you need to grow that seed!
Just before He died on the cross, Jesus said, "It is finished." (John 10:30)What was? Everything He came to earth to do: to bring healing, deliverance, abundance, grace and mercy to every person. All He did during His earthly ministry would now carry forward into eternity. Old Testament verses that say 'shall' or 'will' became past tense with the death and resurrection of Christ! It is already done, as far as God is concerned.
You can have it all - every promise. Actually, you already have it- it is already in you! Jesus made the connection from heaven to earth. Now you need to use your faith to finish the connection.
Think of it this way. Electricity (power) is readily available at any outlet. But if you don't plug in the toaster or laptop, you won't have any power for your situation. No toast. No email.
Your faith 'communicates' with God, plugging in to the power of heaven. Study and meditate, then communicate your faith through prayer, praise, thanksgiving and affirmation. Stay with it until your faith overpowers every faith blocker, every doubt and fear. Then you will experience the results of effective faith and the fulfillment of every prayer.
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