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Faith and The Will of God
By David A. DePra
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17)
How does one come to have real faith for the will of God? Read the above verse and it tells you how, or from where, "faith comes." It comes by hearing, and the hearing comes by the Word of God. Or cut out the middle step of hearing, and we are being told that the potential of faith originates by the Word of God.
Most of us have not been taught that faith is the product of the Word of God. What we have been taught is that the Word of God is the product of faith – that is, we have been taught that if we believe, God will do, speak, or bring to pass His purposes. But no. According to this verse, God is already doing, speaking, and seeking to bring His will to pass. If we HEAR HIM – then we will have faith -- and what God wants will come to pass.
So faith comes by the Word of God – if we hear. Thus, God is seeking to create faith in us. Have we recognized that? And have we recognized that only God can create faith? That there is absolutely nothing in natural man that can create faith? Nope. Faith does not birth hearing, and hearing does not birth the Word of God. Rather, Faith COMES, or IS birthed, by hearing, and hearing is birthed by the Word of God.
Actually, read more of Romans 10 and you will see this explained. Paul plainly asks, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rom 10:14) In other words, Paul is saying that you cannot hear God unless God takes the initiative to speak to you – because if God does take the initiative to speak, there is nothing TO hear. And you cannot then believe because there is no revelation or word from God TO believe. So again we see that it is the Word of God that makes it possible to hear, and if we hear, faith is born in us.
It works like this even with salvation. Jesus said, "No one can come to Me except the Father draw him." (John 6:44) In other words, there is nothing in us that can initiate our own salvation – because until God initiates it, we have no light or Truth TO believe. But once God does initiate it, we are accountable. And if we HEAR, faith will emerge, and we will be saved.
Of course, we do not have to be SAVED before we believe – this is the error of Calvinism. But we do have to have LIGHT in order to believe and be saved. Otherwise, we will have nothing to believe. God must bring the light. But only if we come into the light – hear and see willingly -- will we be saved.
In order to get at the Truth on this matter of faith and God’s will, we do have to understand what faith IS. Faith is NOT emotions – emotions do not believe. They feel. They are reacting agents. Emotions are great liars. You can actually FEEL certain about something and be dead wrong about it. If you walk according to emotions, you are not walking in the Spirit. You are walking in the flesh. Why? Because emotions are of the flesh, or natural man. They are not spiritual in nature.
Strong emotions sometimes seem to have a mind of their own, because as I said, emotions just REACT. They don’t believe. But here is where things get complicated on the inside of us. Emotions will often react according to WHAT we believe, or think is the Truth, or to what we FEAR is the Truth. But never say that any emotional reaction, or feeling, is indicative OF the Truth. No. Emotions will react to what we believe, but emotions don’t prove what we believe.
There is, however, another level to our emotional patterns. Sure, we will react emotionally to what we think is the Truth. But usually we don’t realize what we are doing. So we will often just react to life, and then because we react, we will – without thinking it through – accept our emotional reaction AS THE TRUTH. In other words, we will allow our brains to be fed data by our emotions – and therefore, allow our emotions to define for us the Truth. What emerges are people who believe because they feel. If they, "feel certain," then they accept that what they feel certain about MUST BE certain. And if they, "feel doubtful," then they accept that what they doubt must be false, or doubtful. In short, we read INTO the Truth our emotional reaction and think that this is how to come to know it.
If you have ever turned inwardly and tried to determine the Truth based on how you feel about something, you are making this mistake. The only way to determine the Truth is by knowing and surrendering to Jesus Christ. The Truth is the Word of God. It is not how we feel towards the Word of God, or how we react towards it. The Truth IS the Word.
Now, don’t just think that only strong emotions lie. No. All emotions can lie. The point is, we are not supposed to examine our emotions to determine what is the Truth. But as obvious as that might seem, Christian do exactly that – and don’t even realize what they are doing. There are millions of Christians who cannot tell the difference between emotions and feelings, and the Holy Spirit.
This is proven again and again when Christians say they have the LEADINGS of the Holy Spirit. Often this is nothing more than a subtle, emotional reaction or condition. People that state, "I feel in my spirit….," are off the track. You cannot feel in the Holy Spirit. But you can KNOW in the Holy Spirit.
The question is therefore, "How does one come to KNOW in the Holy Spirit?" Well, God has to do that. God has to speak His Word into us. But as we have thus far seen, once God does do that, a process BEGINS. The Word God speaks must begin a work whereby WE are brought into a, "hearing," condition. And then if we are, faith will embrace the Word of God. And we will KNOW.
To HEAR God means to submit to God. Anything short of submission to God is not true HEARING. You will not have faith if you simply agree with God. No. You must open yourself to God. In other words, you have to let God bring to pass the Word He speaks IN YOU. Open yourself for that – and this is hearing – and faith will come with the package.
What we see in all of this is that God does not expect us to muster the faith necessary to believe Him, or understand Him. Rather, when God speaks and begins a work, He intends to create the faith through that very work, or word, that He speaks. Faith comes…by the Word of God. IF we hear.
So faith is not emotions. Neither is faith a simple matter of brains – you cannot think your way into having faith. Rather, faith is first a MORAL issue. And then, faith is a relationship.
When I say that faith is a moral issue, I’m referring to the fact that in order to have faith for the will of God, you must first surrender to God Himself. You have to do this even before you know what His will happens to be. You cannot make deals with God, and you cannot pick and choose. Neither can you get God to do your will. No. God does only HIS WILL. But in order to see God’s will come to pass, you must first surrender to God Himself.
Many Christians continue to try to figure out how to get God to help them. But this is not really the proper focus. Instead of trying to get God to help you, ask God to show you how to surrender to Him. God already has a will and purpose for you. So instead of inviting God into what you want, accept God’s invitation into HIS WILL.
This is, in fact, HEARING. To hear God really means to come under God. And yes, to do that does require a bit of faith. But if you are saved, you got that way by surrendering to God. So you do have enough faith to surrender to God in each trial of life. To each is given the measure of faith. But if you want more faith, you must surrender to God.
So faith comes only if we come under – hear -- the Word God speaks. If you want to have enough faith to see the will of God come to pass, then surrender to God Himself. Fall into His hands. If you do you will be in the necessary moral relationship with God.
Herein we see a great Truth. God isn’t usually interested in simply handing you a THING called His will, or THINGS in life. – ultimately God wants more. God wants to give us HIMSELF. Yet in order to do that, He must CHANGE US. This change is initiated by God when He speaks His Word into us – His Word brings the possibility of hearing, and the hearing brings about faith.
So we see that faith doesn’t bring hearing. Rather, hearing brings faith. That is because hearing means surrender to God. If you surrender to God, you get God. And if you get God, faith emerges from the oneness.
The Faith of Jesus
This principle explains the phrase, "the faith of Jesus." It isn’t OUR faith, but His in and through us. If you surrender to Christ, you will have the faith of Jesus for everything that Jesus has faith for – namely the will of God. Sure. For if you surrender to Christ you are in the will of God – all that is included in the will of God can follow.
Notice again that, "God’s will," cannot be fully given to us as a separate THING from God Himself. No. God wants to give His will as the outcome of surrender to Himself. But for that to be possible, we must first HEAR -- give ourselves to God. Imagine what would happen if God gave us His will, but we did not give ourselves to God. The result would be disastrous.
The conclusion here is inescapable: When you pray for God’s will, you are really surrendering to Him. You are asking Him to do IN YOU whatever it takes for Him to be able to give you His will – to work out His will, to His glory, in your life. This is great news. For it means that if you presently misunderstand God’s will, you are really asking Him to FIX THAT and reveal Himself to you, so that He can bring His will. It means that if you presently have little faith, that you are really asking God to do whatever it takes to build the necessary faith in you. The bottom line is this: You are unconditionally asking God to do His will – to bring His will. And you are putting yourself in His hands to do in YOU whatever it takes so that He can!
Now, amazingly, none of this is your idea. Rather, if you are getting to the place where you surrender to God, it is because God apprehended you. Never think that God is sitting up in heaven waiting for you to take the initiative to apprehend Him. No. God ALREADY wants to give you His will. He takes the initiative for that. He catches us up in HIS purpose. Our part is to surrender and seek.
Get that: If something is God’s will, then GOD HIMSELF will initiate it. Do you really believe that God is sitting in heaven, waiting for YOU to figure out His will? Or decide what it ought to be? And then do you think that God expects you to create the faith in yourself, or to generate the faith necessary to bring it to pass? Hardly. What do you think that you have to work with in yourself that will enable you to reach up to God and get Him moving? Do you think that you could possibly find a way to create faith out of your flesh and plug it into God? No. Thus, unless God initiates His will, you cannot even believe. You have nothing to work with, or with which to start the process.
No. God already has a will. He initiates it. And here is a big key: The faith necessary to believe God already comes with the package of His will – if we will surrender to God. The faith of Jesus Christ is always present in everything for which Jesus has faith, namely, the will of God.
What we see in this is revolutionary: You cannot have REAL FAITH for anything except the will of God. You cannot – because real faith is only contained in the will of God. It is only as you seek God that faith will grow in you, and that faith will be only for the will of God.
Of course, faith doesn’t, "just happen." When God plants His word in you, everything of the flesh and hell will seek to come against it and choke it. It is possible, if you yield to these, that the will of God will not come to pass in you. But if you do continue to seek God and overcome each obstacle as they arise, the will of God is certain. Not only will God have His will, but you will believe.
Now, I am not saying that we will always know the specific will of God, and that we are supposed to hold out for that. No. Often we don’t know the specific will of God. But we do know that God HAS a will, and that He wants His will. Thus, we are to SEEK GOD HIMSELF. We are to settle for nothing less than His will – even if we don’t know it. And if we do this, then we will come to know the specific will of God, and will grow to believe in the certainly of God getting His way.
Faith is Relationship
Stop trying to generate faith like it is a FORCE. It is not a FORCE. Stop trying to mold your flesh, emotions, and intellect, in a way that you think is faith. Stop trying to FEEL as if you believe, and stop panicking when you feel like you don’t believe. Stop looking at yourself to see whether you have faith. This won’t work. Faith doesn’t come from YOU as the source. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Thus, once you hear, the Word of God imparts the faith.
Faith is inherent in the will of God. Surrender to God Himself. And the faith of Christ will be there, and it will become part of you.
All the battles of faith resolve into one thing: Surrender to God. If you don’t think you have faith to live through a trial, surrender to God – maybe not because you HAVE FAITH – but surrender to God FOR FAITH. Tell God to do IN YOU what He wants so that you can believe. This is, in fact, what God is after anyways. Of yourself, you can’t believe. Faith comes by hearing – by surrender to God. God wants a relationship with you. It is why the whole thing is happening – it is what the Word of God is creating.
Faith is a relationship word -- a word of MORAL accountability to God. Faith is not a FORCE. Those who teach that faith is a force are betraying an appalling lack of understanding. Neither is faith a mood, emotion, or even a, "feeling," of certainty. Rather, faith is the evidence IN YOU that you have yielded to God. Faith is spiritual substance – really, it is the life of Christ Himself, now able to rise up in you because you have submitted to God.
This makes faith the PRODUCT of God’s will, rather than the MEANS. You cannot bring to pass God’s will with YOUR faith. No. It is actually God’s will that brings to pass your faith -- so that you can then believe and be a ready recipient of His will.
I say it again – submit to God, hear God, surrender to God – and you GET GOD. Thus, even before you might know the specific will of God, God has YOU. And because you are at one with Him, the faith of Jesus can flow in and through you. You can believe for the will of God because the faith of Jesus is always there for the will of God.
Have we recognized that it is impossible to have the faith of Jesus for anything except the will of God – because the faith of Jesus is present for ONLY the will of God? Thus, anyone who is believing God for something that is NOT His will doesn’t have real faith. It is false faith, based in the flesh. Sure. But if you grasp what I am saying, it is quite fantastic – I am saying that if we yield to God Himself we cannot miss His will. I am saying that the faith of Jesus will always be ours for the will of God, insuring that it comes to pass, and I am saying that the faith of Jesus will not be ours for anything else. The key is to HEAR – to submit to God Himself, right now, right as we are. We don’t submit because we think we have great faith. We submit because we know we don’t. As I said before, if you can’t submit to God IN FAITH, then submit to God FOR FAITH.
God has a will for our lives, and a will for His church. He is not confused about it, or making it up as He goes along. Neither is God expecting us to figure it out, generate the faith for it, and then drag it down from heaven. No. God is already speaking and trying to apprehend us into His will. The moment we yield to God – the moment we HEAR – the faith of Jesus Christ becomes ours. Faith comes by hearing. Hearing is only possible if God speaks His Word and His will. God is speaking. Are we hearing? Or are we too busy telling Him what to do?
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