God’s Gift of Faith, Will You Seek It or Your Own?

Numbers 11:18-20 Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. 19 You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 20 but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?” ’ ”

Psalm 78:26-31  He caused an east wind to blow in the heavens;
And by His power He brought in the south wind.
27 He also rained meat on them like the dust,
Feathered fowl like the sand of the seas;
28 And He let them fall in the midst of their camp,
All around their dwellings.
29 So they ate and were well filled,
For He gave them their own desire.
30 They were not deprived of their craving;
But while their food was still in their mouths,
31 The wrath of God came against them,
And slew the stoutest of them,
And struck down the choice men of Israel.

Some people will tell you that any lack of self confidence is not a good thing. Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry made a statement in the 1973 movie “Magnum Force” that has stuck with me through life and at times comes to memory. Harry said, (link) “a man’s got to know his limitations.” At an earlier part of the movie Harry says to the same guy, (link) “you’re a good man lieutenant, a good man always knows his limitations.

I was about 18 when that movie came out. After about 20 years of living had passed and seeing what the weaknesses of my moral character had rewarded me with, I became a “Born Again with God’s Spirit” Christian. I wasn’t a convert that was full of ego, thinking of all the good points of my character that I could help God out with. Instead, I had a healthy understanding of how hard headed and hard of hearing I had been to the warnings God had sent my way and I had disregarded. That revelation led me to add this caveat to my prayers on a regular basis, “oh God, please be persistent with me when there is something You want me to understand. I know I can be dull of hearing and sometimes, if You need to, draw me a picture for me to ‘Get It.'”

Almost 2 years ago I wrote a note to myself to check out a movie that was mentioned at church. It was going to be played at the monthly men’s meeting if I remember right.

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Every now and then I would notice my note and think, “someday I need to check out this movie,” then forget about it for awhile. So Thursday night my wife and I finally watched “Little Boy.” The main focus of the movie is the “faith” of this Little Boy and how it was related to getting his father to come back home from WWII. In the movie the Little Boy has an encounter with a magician that makes him think he has some extraordinary power so he goes to his priest to learn about “faith to move things.”

The priest asks the Little Boys to try to use his “faith” to move a soda bottle across his desk in the way he had done on the magicians table, probably only by trickery of some part by the magician. After a few attempts and much straining of the Little Boy’s “faith” to make the bottle move, which it doesn’t, the priest suddenly grabs the soda bottle and moves it across the desk.

The Little Boy questions the priest about why he couldn’t move the bottle and why did the priest move the bottle. The response of the priest illuminated something in me as he told the Little Boy, “your faith made me move the bottle.” That “clicked” in my mind, “our faith in God is what moves His Hand on our behalf.” Later in the movie the Little Boy is challenged about his faith. His response is that his faith can “move a mountain” and amazingly, he does for the whole town to see. Watch the trailer to “Little Boy.”

So yesterday morning was research time for me as I looked again at a scripture that I’ve heard quoted and read countless times.

Matthew 17:20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

“Faith” to move a mountain isn’t the same kind of faith that the bus will be on time. It isn’t the kind of faith that we put in our spouse. It isn’t even the kind of faith we muster up to believe that God will do something we want Him to do.

This kind of “Faith” is like the prayer that little 10 year old Ruth prayed when asking God for a hot water bottle in the post I wrote titled, “Moved By The Holy Spirit To Pray.”

In that story as told by the missionary Helen Roseveare, little Ruth prayed a prayer that was answered 5 whole months before she prayed it. Ms Helen said she had a hard time even saying amen to Ruth’s prayer because of the impossibility in her mind that it could be answered. Little Ruth’s prayer is a perfect example of the God kind of “Faith” Jesus was speaking of that could move a mountain. Faith the size of a mustard seed, if that seed originated in the mind of God has NO Limits or possibility of failing. It was so obvious that the Holy Spirit used little Ruth’s mind and mouth to speak the hearts desire and mind of Almighty God.

Ms Helen quoted this bible verse as her understanding of how little Ruth’s prayer was already answered before she even prayed it.

Isaiah 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Before

I learned something important and seldom mentioned from a pulpit about the Word of God concerning this “Faith,” H4102, as I studied the word as it is used in this Bible verse and over 200 others.

Faith

According to Strong’s Concordance, Faith – H4102 – Pronunciation: pis’-tis
Definition: From G3982; persuasion that is credence; moral conviction (of religious truth or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher) especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: – assurance belief believe faith fidelity.
KJV Usage: faith (239x), assurance (1x), believe (with G1537) (1x), belief (1x), them that believe (1x), fidelity (1x).
Occurs: 244
In verses: 228

Mr Strong didn’t add anything to what I had already understood “Faith” to be but another search result did.

The BibleHub.com website’s HELPS Word-studies https://biblehub.com/greek/4102.htm had something to add to Mr. Strong’s definition of “Faith.” It was something I knew in my heart and had even experienced in my life about the “God Kind of “Faith.”

Just for the record, I have never bought into the “hook line and sinker” Word of Faith doctrine of “Declaring & Decreeing a thing and it WILL Be Established.” I do believe our words are powerful and that good or bad confessions have the potential to loose or bind things in the heavenly realm. I don’t believe if I say something enough times, no matter how much I say I believe it, that it will cause it to happen. Actually, I try to remember to add a caveat to most of my prayers, telling God, “if it’s Your will.”

I think, and there are scriptures that should make us realize that we don’t understand the “Big Picture” of anything we pray for and we don’t know God’s plan or purpose for the things He decides to let His children go through to bring them to maturity as a Christian. Adding, “if it’s Your Will,” to my prayers helps me to remind myself, that God is the God and I don’t know everything concerning anything. If I’m asking for anything that God thinks is not good for me, I’d much rather His NO than suffer the consequences of a resentful, OK.

Psalm 106:13-15 They soon forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,
14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness,
And tested God in the desert.
15 And He gave them their request,
But sent leanness into their soul.

Anyway, here are the Bible Hub.com “Helps Word-studies notes concerning “Faith.” I emphasized the points I don’t ever remember hearing preached by “Word of Faith,” Prosperity preachers when telling their masses to send their money as a seed offering of “Faith” so that God will “Bless them with any of their hearts desires.”

Bible Hub WORD Helps-studies, Faith https://biblehub.com/greek/4102.htm

4102 pístis (from 3982/peithô, “persuade, be persuaded“) – properly, persuasion (be persuaded, come to trust); faith.

Faith (4102/pistis) is always a gift from God, and never something that can be produced by people. In short, 4102/pistis (“faith”) for the believer is “God’s divine persuasion” – and therefore distinct from human belief (confidence), yet involving it. The Lord continuously births faith in the yielded believer so they can know what He prefers, i.e. the persuasion of His will (1 Jn 5:4).

[4102 (pistis) in secular antiquity referred to a guarantee (warranty). In Scripture, faith is God’s warranty, certifying that the revelation He inbirthed will come to pass (His way).

Faith (4102/pistis) is also used collectively – of all the times God has revealed (given the persuasion of) His will, which includes the full revelation of Scripture (Jude 3). Indeed, God the Lord guarantees that all of this revelation will come to pass! Compare Mt 5:18 with 2 Tim 3:16.]

1. The root of 4102/pistis (“faith”) is 3982/peithô (“to persuade, be persuaded“) which supplies the core-meaning of faith (“divine persuasion”). It is God’s warranty that guarantees the fulfillment of the revelation He births within the receptive believer (cf. 1 Jn 5:4 with Heb 11:1).

Faith (4102/pistis) is always received from God, and never generated by us.

Romans 12:3: “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;(MyNote: sounds like Dirty Harry’s saying) but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (4102/pistis)” (NASU).

Ephesians 2:8,9: ” For by grace you have been saved through faith (4102/pistis); and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (NASU).

Galatians 5:22,23: “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith (4102/pistis), 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

2 Thes 1:11: “To this end (glorification) – indeed each time we pray about (peri) you for the purpose (hin) of our God counting you worthy of the call – even that He may fulfill (His) every good-pleasure that comes from (His) goodness and work of faith, in (His) ability.”

Reflection: Faith is only (exclusively) given to the redeemed. It is not a virtue that can be worked up by human effort.

2. Faith (4102/pistis) enables the believer to know God’s preferred-will (cf. J. Calvin; see 2307/thelçma). Accordingly, faith (4102/pistis) and “God’s preferred-will (2307/thelçma)” are directly connected in Scripture.

2 Ro 12:2,3: ” And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will (2307/thelçma) of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (4102/pistis)” (NASU).

5 2 Cor 8:5,7: ” And this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will (2307/thelçma) of God” (NASU). 7″ But just as you abound in everything, in faith (4102/pistis) and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also”(NASU).

Heb 10:36,38: “36For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will (2307/thelçma) of God, you may receive what was promised” (NASU).

BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH(4102/pistis); AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM” (NASU).

MyNote: That sounds like I shouldn’t be trying to get God to answer favorably for the things “I have faith to believe God to do,” rather I should be seeking God to know what His Will is, asking Him to inbirth the seed of Faith for the things He wants me to come into agreement with Him for. “God, please make the desires of Your heart be the desires of my heart.”

1 Jn 5:4: “For whatever is born of God conquers the world; and this is the conquest that has conquered the world – our faith (4102/pistis).”

3. In sum, faith (4102/pistis) is a persuasion from God that we receive as He grants impulse (“divine spark”; cf. the Heb hiphil form of believe, *mn, in a later discussion). Faith is always the work of God and involves hearing His voice – whereby the believer lays hold of His preferred-will (cf. J. Calvin).

1 Hab 2:1: ” I will stand on my guard post And station myself on the rampart; And I will keep watch to see what He will speak in (Heb b ) me” (NASU).

Hab 2:4: “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live in his faith” (= 4102/pistis, “faith from the Lord”).

More on what faith is . . . and isn’t
1. In Scripture, faith and belief are not exactly the same. Faith always comes from God and involves His revelation therefore faith is beyond belief!

2. Faith is God’s work; faith is never the work of people. We cannot produce faith ourselves, nor can we “drum it up at will.” Rather, faith comes as Christ speaks His rhçma-word within (see Ro 10:17, Gk text).

3. In all of Scripture, only the term faith is ever used in the following way: Ro 14:23: Whatever is not of faith (4102/pistis) is sin.” Heb 11:6: “And without faith (4102/pistis) it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (NASU).

Reflection: Nothing quite like this two-fold witness appears elsewhere in the Bible. These sweeping statements sober the heart and inspire the soul!

The Lord offers to inbirth faith in each scene of life – so that each matters equally in eternity . . . no matter how insignificant they seem (Lk 16:10 with Lk 17:6 and 2 Pet 1:2).

Key quotes
“Faith always pre-supposes revelation” (W. H. Griffith Thomas, Genesis, 55). “Faith is always a response to a divine revelation” (W. H. Griffith Thomas, Hebrews, 143). “Faith . . . both in its initiation and every step of the way, is Spirit given . . . faith is God given” (W. Hendriksen, Galatians, 197). “Faith precedes works, and is not something merely deduced by reason of existing” (D. Edmond Hiebert, Thessalonians, 2 Thes 1:11). Faith is always a gift of God (L. Morris, John, p 520). “The basis of faith is God’s revelation of Himself . . . Christianity came to be seen as a faith event” (O. Michel, Dictionary of New Testament Theology).

“Faith is the divine response, wrought in man, by God” (from Berkof’s Systematic Theology, representing the views of Barth and Brunner).

“Faith always has the element of assurance, certainty and confidence . . . and evidential value substantiating the thing we hope for . . . with faith, there is no strain or tension; rather, it has the element of assurance and confidence in it . . . if there is strain or tension . . . trying to persuade yourself to keep from doubting, you can be quite sure that it is not faith . . . faith is not the law of mathematical probability, . . . faith is not natural . . .faith is spiritual, the gift of God . . . you cannot command faith at will, faith is always something that is given-inwrought by God; . . . therefore, if you want to be a man of faith, it will always be the result of becoming a certain type of person” (M. Lloyd Jones, Romans, Ro 4:18-25).

“Faith is the divinely given conviction of things unseen” (Homer Kent Jr., Hebrews, 217, quoting Theological Dictionary of the NT vol 2, 476).

“Faith is the organ which enables people to see the invisible order” (F. F. Bruce, Hebrews, 279).

Faith is knowing what is His will toward us; therefore, we hold faith to be the knowledge of God’s will toward us” (John Calvin, as quoted by R. McAfee Brown in Is Faith Obsolete?).

Right faith is a thing wrought in us by the Holy Spirit” (Wm. Tyndale).

We have made faith a condition of mind, when it is a divinely imparted grace of the heart . . . we can receive faith only as he gives it . . . you cannot manufacture faith, you can not work it up . . . you can believe a promise, and at the same time not have the faith to appropriate it . . . genuine, Scriptural faith is not our ability to ‘count it done,’ but is the deep consciousness divinely imparted to the heart of man that it is done, . . . it is the faith that only God can give . . . do not struggle in the power of the will . . . what a mistake to take our belief in God and call of faith . . . Christ, the living word, is our sufficiency . . . (Charles Price, The Real Faith, Logos/publications).

Note: On the distinction between believing (belief), and faith in the Scriptures see Js 2:19; Jn 10:38; Ac 8:13, 26:27,28; Ro 14:2; 2 Thes 2:11; 1 Jn 4:1; also Jn 2:23, 7:31, 12:42 and 4102/pisteuô (“believe”).

As in the Gospels, a person’s believing (belief) is vital (cf. Heb 11:6). But a personal encounter with Christ (a true connection with Him and His Word) is always necessary for believing (“man’s responsibility”) to be transformed into faith (which is always and only God’s word). See also Mt 8:10,13, 9:22,28,29, 15:28; Ac 20:21; Ro 9:32; Gal 3:9,22.

Summary
Belief and faith are not exactly equivalent terms. When Jesus told people, Your faith has made you well,” faith was still His gift (Eph 2:8,9). Any gift however, once received, becomes the “possession” of the recipient. Faith however is always from God and is purely His work (2 Thes 1:11).

Note: The Greek definite article is uniformly used in the expressions “your faith,” “their faith” (which occur over 30 times in the Greek NT). This genitive construction with the article refers to “the principle of faith (operating in) you” – not “your faith” in the sense that faith is ever generated by the recipient.

[The meaning of the definite article in this construction is “the principle of faith at work in you,” “the operating-principle of faith in them,” etc. For examples see: Mt 9:2,22,29; Lk 17:19; Phil 2:17; 2 Pet 1:5, etc.]

Faith (4102/pistis) involves belief but it goes beyond human believing because it involves the personal revelation (inworking) of God. Faith is always God’s work. Our believing has eternal meaning when it becomes “faith-believing” by the transforming grace of God.

Reflection: Demons believe (and shudder) . . . but they do not have (experience) faith!

Js 2:19: “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder” (NASU).

Jesus Is The Aleph & The Tav, The Alpha & The Omega, The First & The Last
א ת Jesus Α Ω א ת Jesus Α Ω א ת Jesus Α Ω א ת Jesus Α Ω א ת Jesus Α Ω א ת Jesus Α Ω

About 4 years ago, at about 6 in the afternoon, a cancer doctor had just left my mother in law’s hospital bedside and had told her to prepare to make the decision of when to remove the breathing tube that was in her throat. It was the only way she could get enough air to live. A cancerous tumor was blocking her airway. My wife and I had left just before he arrived to head home and get a bite to eat after spending all day at the hospital waiting to hear what the cancer doctor would have to say. Looking back, God may have had a hand in us not being in the hospital room when the cancer doctor’s report was given, making the words of the “bad report” less impactful.

My sister in law called my wife with the terrible news and it devastated her. When we got home about 40 minutes later, my sister in law called again. This time she said that a radiologist had just came in and said that if my mother in law wanted to try radiation to shrink the tumor, she would be willing to give it a try.

When I heard that news, it was like God dropped this enormous deposit of “Hope” into my heart. My wife was still crying and discouraged by the upsetting news of the cancer doctor but all that could come out of my mouth was, “there’s HOPE, we have HOPE that the radiation will work.” And with that deposit of HOPE that I knew had been dropped in me I began to earnestly pray for my mother in law that God would heal her. After a few weeks of praying every day and sometimes multiple times a day, one Wednesday night at church, I went up for prayer for myself. I asked Bishop Drew if he would intercede in agreement with me that God would show me everything in my heart that was not pleasing to Him.

I had no sooner told Bishop Drew my request that he told me this, “God has shown me that you have been praying for an elderly gray haired lady. He has heard your prayer and will heal her.” At that time, Bishop Drew didn’t even know my name. We had only started going to Faith Cathedral for a short time.

I said that because that is what “clicked” in the movie, “Little Boy” and in the study of what real “God kind of Faith” really is. This kind of Faith is NOT about wanting something and then “declaring and decreeing a thing so that it will be established.” Maybe you can declare and decree anything until it is established and God NOT Have Any part of it. Actually, God might very well be TOTALLY Against it and you might very well end up living with the consequences of “Your Heart’s Desire” as Psalm 106 said. That thought also brings to mind this Bible verse and sheds some refining light on it,

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

The sooner we Christians realize the schemes of the enemy to deceive us in every way possible, even with lying signs and wonders, the sooner we should be evermore diligent to “Seek God FIRST and His Kingdom.” The prosperity Gospel has gotten multitudes of people to focus on getting anything they want. How many times do you hear a preacher say that instead of asking God for what you want, how about asking God what does He want and forget about your selfish desires for awhile. Most Americans, even those considered poor live 10 times better than the rest of the “real” worlds poor.

How many things that God never wanted us to have has He allowed us to have reluctantly knowing the consequences of them on us. When we pray to God we should always be on guard for exactly who is answering. Have you ever considered that often, it isn’t God who answers our prayer first and that God is watching all this to test our spiritual discernment.

Hearing from God doesn’t mean everything you hear is from God.

Matthew16:16-17, 22-23  Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”

23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

There are other scriptures of how God allows the selfish and greedy to get what they want but was NEVER in His perfect or permissive will.

Jeremiah 5:28-31

They have grown fat, they are sleek;
Yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked;
They do not plead the cause,
The cause of the fatherless;
Yet they prosper,
And the right of the needy they do not defend.
29 Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord.
‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’

30 “An astonishing and horrible thing
Has been committed in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy falsely,
And the priests rule by their own power;
And My people love to have it so.
But what will you do in the end?

I believe the best prayer we can pray after receiving salvation through the Love and accomplishment of Yeshua Jesus Christ on the cross is, “Lord please grant that the desires of Your Heart would become my heart’s desire.”

Isn’t that what sums up all the notes in the study of “God kind of Faith.” He deposits a thought, a desire, a goal into our heart that He fully intends to bring to fulfillment  through our cooperation with and through Him.

Jesus confirmed the fact that if God is bombarded with enough prayers, He will probably give in and let you have what you’re asking for. In the following verses it was justice but as Psalm 106 indicates, it doesn’t always have to be for something God wants us to have,

Luke 18:1-5 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”

Be Careful What You Pray For, God Just May Let You Have It.

No, Is the Best Answer when it lines up with God’s Will!!!

You can’t even assume that every minister that stands behind a pulpit has “God’s Will” in his heart. God said in Ezekiel that He will allow a priesthood to continue throughtout the generations that will cater to those who would seek their own will, disregarding God’s Will, in selfish ambition. God says, they will minister in my house but won’t be allowed to come near me. They minister to “the people,” Not to God. What will be their end?

Maybe you think God’s Not Fair in doing this. God can ONLY Be Fair!!! But this too proves that God Will Let you have YOUR heart’s desire. Be Careful What You Desire!!!

Ezekiel 44:10-14  “And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. 11 Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them12 Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have raised My hand in an oath against them,” says the Lord God, “that they shall bear their iniquity. 13 And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. 14 Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it.

Selfish, greedy and perverted men will try to change God and make Him into a God of their imagination and what they and the masses think God should be. They try to divide God into the Old Testament God and God 2.0 of the New Testament, the new and improved God, a kinder and gentler, chilled out version. God would have to violate every scripture in His Holy Word that says “He Changes NOT” to do that.

Don’t mistake God’s longsuffering and patience for a “change in His character.” God’s Word shows many examples of decades of warnings of judgment coming before it finally came, just as He said it would. God, being God does things at the time of His choosing, NOT ours. Maybe until the last sinner on His list repents and their name is written in His Book of Life.

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