Got Faith, Where Is It? Part II
In my previous post I wanted to establish the fact that our faith in itself is not a production of our own will. The seed of faith planted in our heart is solely the byproduct of the work of the Holy Spirit on us through God the Father’s will. That’s not to say that we can encourage the growth of that seed by “seeking” God. But what I am saying is that we didn’t put it there. I finished that post as such:
Phil 1:29 “For to you it has been granted for Christ‘s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,”
Again here we see that our belief or faith was given to us but even more so the very situations, trials, tribulations, circumstances and the like that we are having “faith” in to overcome are also given to us. It is those very things we pray to overcome, that God uses to our benefit to bring us closer to him. He also uses them to mold and shape us into the image of the Son (Romans 8:28-39). God’s will is our sanctification, our ever growing holiness until we can be completely glorified (1 Thessalonians 4:3 ).
Our faith is from God and of God’s grace. Our faith reveals God to us so that we can have a relationship with Him. It is not the works we do that grants us access to the throne but it is faith by way of grace earned by the Son through his life, death and resurrection. The moment we attach our faith to situations, temporal objects, worldly successes and sinful people; Satan challenges it. If your “faith” only grows with the increase of stuff, Satan challenges it. He challenges it just like he did to Job before God. Satan challenges our faith because he knows something we refuse to learn, the very thing God continues to try to teach us about faith.
I what to restate this because now that we know that our faith is a gift from God, who did God intend us to have faith in? Also, how does God’s purpose for faith get redirected so easily as well as what are the outcomes to following God’s purposes for faith? In the instance of the tribulation of Job, I am not suggesting that Job had wavering faith. I brought Job up because of what Satan implied about him. Satan’s meeting with God carried some slander and accusations about why Job loved God and worshipped him. If we are brave enough to actually explore them, we can find out how we get so redirected. With further study we can even see in the responses of Job’s friends who we get to a “Word of Faith” mentality.
Firstly, when we believe that faith is of our own doing we will begin to think that it really is a magic wand. If we truly believe that our “faith” is the key to unlocking the word, we will definitely start the snow ball rolling. But to get there you must first explain away, forget, ignore or put yourself in the driver seat of your salvation. That seems crazy but it’s being done. So, if God didn’t give us faith as a gift and we simply decided to follow Christ on our own then we can plant the seed of faith ourselves. Ok so now we got that out of the way but in order to forge our magic wand we need authority. To do so we have to be more than like Christ we have to own the same powers as Christ. So we make the created, creators. By improper discernment and study we have allowed others to insert us in the wrong places. They then offer examples of the “already wealthy” as proof of this being right. But the plan does not work unless those being fooled aren’t already greedy and discontent with their lot in life. God does not put the righteous in a situation that encourages them to sin. Sinners sin because in their heart is sin. (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
Now looking at Satan putting Job to trial while we think about ourselves and the treasures of our hearts…
Job 1:6 One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan[b] also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” 9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
Satan implies that Job’s worship is based solely on material blessings from God. It is the very material blessings that some will used to justify using faith to manipulate God. The goal of faith is not about amassing wealth, nor is about creating a comfortable life on earth. Job used his wealth as a tool to help others. But he didn’t use faith but his faith was a product of his righteousness as it kept him throughout his ordeal.
Job 31:24 “If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ 25 if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained, 26 if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor, 27 so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage, 28 then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.
Job, seeing how much God had blessed repented if things had pulled him from God as it would have become his security or savior. So often we are so situational with our relationship with God. We all have become very prayerful in the midst of great turmoil. In the midst of financial need we wear our knees out? In great distress we stand on the name of Jesus and claim victory with the blessings of money. Our faith becomes a tool for our own betterment not the result of a relationship with God.
The wealthiest King in Israel’s history, Solomon had a different view of riches:
- Proverbs 30:8-9 (NIV) …Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
- Proverbs 23:4-5 (NIV) Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
- Proverbs 28:20 (NIV) The faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
Yet we still use our faith to gain instead of trust Christ and worship him with thanksgiving. If we are not careful we will be tested like Job because our “faith” is in our ability to hope wishfully has blinded us to the real reasons for blessings.
Deuteronomy 8:17 Beware lest you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
With the thought of the wrong direction we have taken, next we will explore the true object of our faith.