THE CURRENCY OF THE SPIRIT

“FAITH”

By Dan Luehrs

 

 

When I began to write this article on faith, I did not realize that I would need to live by faith during the four hurricanes in forty-four days which through the state of Florida in 2004. Three of them went over our area leaving thousands of people homeless and helpless to do anything about their situation. These storms were unprecedented for the state and left many people traumatized. To have this many storms hit in just six weeks seems to make their future living in Florida very dim. But God has a purpose in it all. The Lord is now saying to me, “Have faith!” How and why should people who have lost everything in the storm have faith in a God who has allowed this to happen to them? How can the families that have lost loved ones to the storms believe God? How can He/we just say, “Have faith!”

 

Until you have personally lived through a hurricane, with over 100 mph winds and the driving rain, you cannot begin to understand the power of nature and its destructive force; for hours upon hours thinking to ones self in the storm, "Will the roof stay on? Will the rainwater come in? Will the winds blow out the windows? These are the things that have happened to thousands of people around our area, and yet God says to me, “Have faith!” I remember waking up after the first hurricane thinking, “Did that really happen last night or was it a dream?" Then I looked out the window and saw trees and shingles on the ground everywhere. Yet, I can tell you, by the grace of God, I never felt any fear whatsoever through any of the storms; even when the walls, doors and windows shook there was not one ounce of fear in me. I believe that I have the answer as to why I did not feel any fear. Even through I have lived through many types of spiritual hurricanes, more than I can count, God has brought me through each one physically unhurt and only stronger to face another storm in life. Paul wrote in Acts 14:22, “Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Jesus and Paul went through their own natural storms and came through unhurt also. The Bible tells us twice that Jesus was in the midst of the storm in a boat and was asleep. Does that not speak of peace and tranquillity? Paul was in the midst of a storm for weeks at sea and was told by God not to fear! “For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, saying,' Do not be afraid…” (Acts 27:23-24 NAS). It seems so unnatural not to be fearful at these times, but God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of faith, which is the opposite of and it flies right in the face of fear. Now that is supernatural, when we should be afraid and we are not! Fear is contagious, but so is faith.

 

Much has been said about faith, but when the rubber meets the road, do we have faith when it matters? Many speak of faith to get material things from God, but how about having faith to receive spiritual things like the peace of God in the midst of the storm? Or to have God’s joy in the face of tragedy or to receive God’s love for someone that we should naturally hate for what they have done to us? The truth of the matter is unless we have faith at the time we need it the most, we will not be able to muster up deep within our spirit the strength to make it through. This is why the Bible says, “Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach Him (Psalms 32:6 NAS). It is not that God’s arm is too short to save, but that we cannot reach His peace and grace when we need it the most. This is because we were not growing in faith in the little storms of life that make our roots firm in Him so we could make it through the hurricanes of life. Jesus said that we must make our foundation on the Rock of truth that He is or we simply will not have His peace and strength to make it through.

 

When we experience the greater storms of life, we begin to ask ourselves questions like, “Is God mad at me?” “What did I do wrong that He is judging me?” Asking these questions is normal but it tends to leave us more confused and angry at God for letting it happen to us. I will tell you the secret of getting through any trial and tribulations WORSHIP! Worship is an act of faith. When 100-mph winds were blowing over our heads we were worshipping God and His peace carried us through. We must understand that God is allowing these things to happen to us for our good, so that we might become like Him! Although it is often difficult, the only way for that to happen is for us to please Him by having faith, worshipping faith. This pleases the heart of God and will get us further along in our spiritual growth than anything else. And without faith 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” (Hebrews 11:6 NAS). We cannot afford to waste our trials with condemnation hanging over our heads for something we did or did not do. Let’s face it, we are all sinners deserving the judgement of God. But I have good news. Jesus took the judgment of God for us on the cross so we don’t have to fear punishment every time something happens to us that we don't understand or is hard to go through.

 

There are different levels of faith that we go through on our way to full maturity in Him. As young Christians the Lord seems to answer our prayers quickly. But as we mature learning faith and trust through patience and a lack of answers stretch our faith. This truly is difficult, but isn’t all of life like this? As children we cannot wait to grow up, but then we have to wait to graduate from high school. Then we go to college and get married. We have children and we wait for them to grow up. So what if we have to learn faith through patience. Aren't we always waiting for something anyway? Why not patiently wait and rejoice through all our trials because they are making us more like Him? After all this is the greatest prize of life!

 

TESTING OURSELVES

 

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-- unless indeed you fail the test” (2 Corinthians 13:5 NAS)?

 

"I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth" (Luke 18:8 NAS)?

 

How do we test ourselves to see if we are in the faith that meets His approval? One good way to start testing our faith is to watch what do we do when we are in the trial. Does God become our friend or foe? Do we listen to what the word of God says or do we listen to the voice of the accuser? Do we worship Him anyway or do we become depressed because God doesn't seem to be answering our prayers? Please hear me. When we are going through trying times there is an exchange happening in the spirit realm. Either our faith and trust in God is exchanged for His strength and peace throughout our trial or we are exchanging our lack of faith and trust for the enemy’s fear. God’s perfect love in us will cast out all fear if we will just trust Him. But we will not receive anything from God if we do not trust Him. If fear or the dread of tribulation causes us to tremble we must know that we are not where God has called us to be in Him. God does not allow us to go through tribulations so that He knows where we are, but that He wants us to see where we are in our faith walk in Him. God wants us to trust Him under all circumstances without having any fear at all. There have been several times that I have been beside myself and God would say to me, “Have faith, trust me!” I would respond, “Even in this, how is that possible?” Now I can look back and see it was possible, at the time my walking by sight was a greater reality than trusting in God to bring me through. When I took the time to be with God and to roll my burdens on Him, He always filled me with His presence to keep me going from day to day. I wish that I could tell you now that I have no fear and that my trust is complete in Him, but I cannot, I am still a work in progress! Even now the weight of my problems seem to crush me at times, but I have faith that the greater One lives inside me. He can carry any weight that is trying to crush me. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing” (2 Corinthians 4:8 NAS). We can and must trust Him who died for us; for whom can be trusted other than God?

 

WHERE IS YOUR FAITH

 

“For in it (the word) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17 NAS).

 

Today many people in the church conform to a doctrine of faith that says we are to have faith in our faith. Yet Jesus said, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). There's a big difference between believing in God or my own faith. I chose God! If I could muster up enough faith on my own I would believe for the devil to be bound and thrown into the pit; then for the world to be saved so that all the sufferings of mankind would be done away with. But I cannot! I can have faith in God to do this because He already has said it and that makes it a done deal! Our faith will not grow by our willing it to. No, our faith grows from faith to faith. Just as our bodies grow from a small seed within our mother, the seed of faith, (which is the smallest of all seeds) grows to great heights. Our faith in God should be growing as we see His faithfulness to us and by hearing of His goodness to others. How could our faith not grow in Him when we see His hand delivering us over and over? I moved to Florida by the leading of the Lord nine years ago. I said to myself, “I am going to find out if God is real or not!” because it would take on-going miracles for us to survive monthly without having a job or knowing many people here.

 

I have found that when we pass one test, He might give us a little break for a little while. But then He allows a greater trial to come our way so that our faith does not become stagnant. Each time it will take greater faith on our part to keep going. But in the midst of it God gives greater grace and doesn't let go of us even when we think He has departed from us. But in the end He shows Himself strong on our behalf. Even the disciples of Jesus learned about this when they were on the boat with Him and it looked like they were going to be overcome with the wind and waves. Jesus was there all the time and said to them in the storm, “Where is your faith” (Luke 8:25)? Our flesh would respond, “How can I have faith in this?” If we can get the bigger picture of God and where He is while this is going on, we can see Him in the storm with us. Then like Jesus, the wind and waves will not effect us. This is the realm of God that He would have us walk in it at all times. This is God's will for us!

 

When Paul was in peril on the sea in a storm for weeks, God gave him great encouragement because his faith was secure in the word of His promise. "For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve (or whom I have faith in), saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God (whom I have faith in), that it shall be even as it was told me" (Acts 27:23-25 KJV). Do you see that God had already told him weeks before that he was going to Rome? So how could he die on his way there? “But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, "Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also" (Acts 23:11 NAS). Satan did everything he could to stop Paul with the storms of life, but God had the final word! If we are going to receive our full inheritance in Christ, it will be by faith in what God has already spoken to us! Faith works when we have had a “rhema” word from God. Meaning, it was a revelation from God that gave life to our inner man. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of God" (Romans 10:17 KJV). Anyone can have faith for things when they are going their way, but will they stand strong when the wind and waves are adverse? His faith that is in us will stand any test that He allows in our lifetime and it will grow stronger as we pass each test.

 

GRACE ACCESSED BY FAITH

 

"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope" (Romans 5:2-4 KJV).

 

Notice how we gain access into His grace, which is the hope of our calling into sonship. By faith! Faith is the key that gives us access into the doorway of His will that we are to walk through. We are to live and walk in faith daily and not just to get saved by it. There are doors in the spirit realm that either remain closed to us because of our lack of faith or that open by faith because of our perseverance to keep knocking on the door that God has shown us. That which is spoken by God becomes real and tangible to us because in reality it is finished when He said it! What great inventor did not have to persevere to invent something that he had seen in his heart? None! They all failed many times in what they were trying to do, but one day they had a breakthrough that changed the lives of millions.

 

God's grace is the power that keeps us going forward into battle instead of retreating to a life of easy living. This is why God told Paul that His grace was sufficient for him under all circumstances. As we live by faith in God’s goodness, His grace is poured out upon us in our time of weakness. As we glory in our tribulations and weaknesses, the likeness of Jesus is being manifested in us through His life and strength. This we know for certain! "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed…" (Romans 4:16 KJV).

 

As I was writing this part of the article, a second hurricane was passing overhead with up to eighty mph winds for three days. I can say that God’s grace was sufficient for us to pass through another storm without any fear or much damage to our property. Oh, how we rejoice in our call to full sonship in Jesus Christ. Yet when the hurricanes of life pass over us, we almost never rejoice. When I pass on from this life I don't want to look back on my life as one that only trusted God when things were going my way, but in and through all that life threw at me! I must, we must, change our attitude toward these things that keep happening in our lives and learn to rejoice in them if we are going to become like Him. If I were like Him right now, I could command the wind of the hurricane to stop and go away. But if I were like Him, I would have the wisdom to let it all take its course for our good. God protects us in and through the storms of life and nothing by any means can hurt or harm us!

 

THE GREAT EXCHANGE

 

Who are protected by the power (GRACE) of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5 NAS).

 

If we are the called and chosen of God, and I trust that we are, then He will protect us from harm and will only allow in our life that which will make us more like Him. Don't you see that He has invested Himself in us to bring great change to world that is hurting and dying around us? The fullness of God’s salvation is about to be revealed in the earth through His people. When Jesus returns will our faith be more valuable to us than gold; will our faith reap a return of His likeness in us? Will Jesus find faith in us to be exchanged for His glory when He comes? If we believe that we can not obtain this, we will not! But if we believe in His grace to carry us through to the final outcome of His likeness in us, we will receive it! For we are God's workmanship and not our own.

 

“That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7 NAS).

 

Now read it in the Amplified Bible:

 

"So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one) is revealed" (1 Peter 1:7 AMP).

 

Will your faith "redound" to you? Meaning, "to come back to you" in praise, glory, and honor for all eternity when Jesus returns in glory and power. It will not be a temporary passing as are the riches of the world. Oh, no, it will go on and on… What is the purpose of us going after the gold of the earth if we cannot keep it? People have searched the world over to obtain it and have given their whole life to become wealthy by it, only to leave it to another later. If it were worth little they wouldn't give so much of themselves for that which only decays with the passing of time. Yet, our faith is compared to gold which is MORE valuable and can be exchanged for eternal spiritual realties that can never be taken from us and given to another. People in the church say, “I used my faith to get this.” Then tell me why we would not use or exchange our faith for the revelation of Jesus? This is what I call the great exchange. We could never get a better return in the universe than to exchange our human likeness for His glorious body. And this will take faith to do so! Throughout our Christian life on earth our faith has been going through the fires. It has either been purified into the riches of the likeness of Jesus or the alloys of self have remained contributing to our own spiritual poverty. Our faith will be spent or exchanged for the full revelation of Jesus or what we call “the return of Jesus Christ.” By faith we are saved, filled with the spirit, and by faith we will be transformed into the likeness of His glory! As our life has been changed through each of these “faith experiences,” so also will our faith change us into His likeness in the twinkling of the eye. "But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope" (Galatians 5:5 NIV). Amen!

 

The truth about our faith is when it is under fire. Is it genuine? The proof of our faith comes out of our mouths, for with the mouth we reveal the heart! Now this does not mean we don't think badly about our situations in life or that we don’t make stupid statements once and awhile, but that we repent when we do it. The children of Israel made faithless comments about God and their circumstances continually, and God cut them off from going into the promise land because they were faithless! "For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith" (Hebrews 4:2 NIV). We cannot quit. We cannot give up on God’s promises because of our lack of faith in His power to deliver us at His appointed time. Peter wants our faith to be found, “In praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). Then our faith will be given in exchange for the full salvation of our body, and soul at His coming. “Obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (mind) (1 Peter 1:9 NAS). There is no greater truth or cause to live for other than to be like Him and to be with Him at His coming. It is the summing up of all things, the final outcome, and the end to the (man of sin) as we have known him in us. Then all eyes will see Jesus (not us) at His coming. I want this final outcome more then anything that life could offer me. “Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13 NAS).

 

Yes, there is a great exchange: our faith for the substance of Him, which is our great reward. This is why we are to keep sober and fix our hope completely on the grace or the power that will come to us when we are changed into His likeness. When we can see no hope for our future, our lives on earth become dim indeed; we become drunk with worry, fear, and anxiety. But if we keep our hope COMPLETELY fixed on Jesus and what He has for us when He comes, we can keep putting one foot in front of the other because we have purpose for living. We know that there is a final outcome to all that we are facing.

 

Jesus said in Matthew 15:28, “Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once.” Listen to what Jesus is saying through my paraphrasing,  “Because of your faith in Me you can now have what you have been believing for!” If she did not have faith she would not have received her daughter's healing. Now that’s what I call a great exchange, faith for healing! And the same is true for us. If we do not have faith in the coming of the Lord Jesus to transform our bodies into His likeness, we will not receive it, period! We must believe in the word of His promise to receive the prize of our high calling. But if we are not expecting Him to return in us, how will we ever be ready? "You also must be ready (in faith), because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Luke 12:40 NIV). Remember that Jesus asked the question, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" I believe that our faith in Him is the readiness that He is speaking about here. Our faith dictates who and what we are, where we go and whom we choose to associate with. Our faith is everything because it is who we are! If we are faithless we do not care about the coming of the Lord Jesus. In fact, few Christians really believe that He is even coming! How do I know this? Because most people live as if He were nonexistent by giving Him no credence in their daily lives. For us to live by faith is for us to live and walk in the spirit. We are not to be living out of our heads trying to figure everything out, but living out of our spirit man continually looking to the Father for guidance, strength, and wisdom on a daily basis.  

 

“I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see” (Revelation 3:18 NAS).

 

I think I could say with certainty that almost everybody would like to be rich! Well, the God of the universe is now offering us the opportunity to become rich. But how many of us are taking Him up on His offer? Most people do not want to pay the price to become rich in this world, nor are they willing to pay the price to become spiritually rich! The gold that Jesus is speaking of here is not the gold from the earth but from heaven (faith) that we all must have. It must be purified through the trials of life that He allows to come into our path. So in truth, our faith is the riches that we are all seeking after! Yet, very few have their spiritual eyes opened to see this truth and will not give themselves to a life of faith because it is too chancy. But if they were to hear of a good scoop on some financial investment they would do so because they could make it big! In reality it would most likely only lead to their poverty! Right now our faith is the substance of what we are to receive when Jesus comes to change us into His likeness and glory. Our faith must be strong as Abraham's when it looked like nothing good was able to come to pass for him and Sarah.

 

"And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, he was able also to perform" (Romans 4:19-21 KJV).

 

Yes, my friend, be strong in faith, believing that He will reward you in that great day with Himself!

 

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6 NAS).

Dan Luehrs

PO Box 1083

Intercession City, FL 33848

www.nonprofitpages.com/elm7