Everything we receive from Father God is received by faith. Without faith, we cannot please God.
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 diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
Our very salvation is obtained by faith
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8
Every important act in the Old Testament was achieved by faith!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Jesus said if you have faith as little as a mustard seed, you could move mountains and nothing would be impossible for you! Matt 17:20
Faith is very very important to God. It seems that we won't receive much from Him without it. The thing is, how many of us have seen real miracles, healings, deliverances... all the things the early church experienced every day in the book of Acts? Not many, is my guess. Our faith has been muddied by false wimpy doctrines of our modern church that says things like
- Miracles, prophecies, deliverances, and healings stopped after the last Apostles died.
- God doesn't heal everyone.
- Christians can't have demons
I've heard countless pastors say these things. But the truth is, none of these doctrines are in the Bible. I've always told the Lord, I want more faith! I want to heal people, deliver them of demons, preform miracles! Not for my glory but for His, so people can witness His love and mercy and power! I want to come up Higher in Him!
But faith is a tricky thing. You have to have it to move mountains, but you need the mountains to move so your faith will grow. Vicious cycle! However, our Lord is so compassionate and understanding. He understands our weaknesses, so what does He do? He sends trouble! Trials, tribulations, problems come our way and most of the time we just complain and pray for them to go away. But what if the Lord is giving us an opportunity to grow our faith!?
I'll give you an example from my own life, a very personal one. I've written about this before, but it begs repeating. My husband and I were on vacation in Jamaica ten years ago, celebrating our anniversary. From the moment we landed, I felt the evil on that island which has a history of witchcraft and vodoo. We stayed at a Sandals and for the most part had a good time. Every day I spent time in the morning reading my Bible and praying, regardless of our plans. On our last day there I walked out onto a pier that extended onto beautiful turquoise waters to pray. As I sat there praying, dangling my feet over the edge, one of the waiters approached, a young black boy about 20 years old. We started talking and I eventually mentioned the Lord and told him to seek God about the path he wanted in life. He was called away and I walked back to my room, where my husband waited, so we could go to lunch.
All I can say is that my husband had been somehow taken over by a demonic presence. He started yelling at me, accusing me of flirting with the waiter, telling me I was embarrassing myself in front of everyone. I will be quite honest with you and tell you my reaction was not Godly at all, and we ended up in a huge fight which lasted for hours. Finally we sort of made up, got some dinner, and went to bed. What I didn't know was that we had invited tons of demons into our hotel room. Apparently, they were not too happy about my witnessing to that young man and reading my Bible, so they were looking for a way into our lives to mess us up. If only I had realized this earlier when my husband first got mad, I could have cast them away. I'm telling you the honest truth here, as God is my witness. I am no saint. I blew it, and I should have been more discerning.
I was awakened in the middle of the night by the lights in our room going on and off.. not just on and off, but the were repeating down a line of lights... like one would go on, then off, then the next one would go on, then off. The thing was, there was only one switch that turned them all on. So I sat up, rubbed my eyes and watched for a minute, kind of in a daze. That's when my husband started screaming in his sleep. The only other time he screamed in his sleep was after he first got saved and demons were vacating his body. So, I immediately knew what the issue was. I got up to check the light switch, but it was off.
If I had been fully awake, I might have gotten frightened. But I was in a sleepy daze, but yet awake enough to see what was happening. I shouted. "Get out in the name of Jesus!" And the lights went out. My husband stopped screaming and we both went back to sleep. In the morning, I discovered he was having a horrible nightmare where he was pinned against the wall and ravens were pecking his eyes out.
I learned several things from this encounter.
- That I am saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Otherwise the demons would not have obeyed me. Not that I doubted that, but you know how sometimes you wonder.. "am I really saved?"
- Demons and evil spirits and principalities of darkness are real and they can manipulate things in the physical realm
- They run like scared rabbits at the all powerful name of Jesus!!
After the incident, you know what happened? My faith grew by leaps and bounds. Yes, it was a horrible ending to a vacation and a memory that still lingers and saddens me, but I will never again doubt that Jesus is real, that He died for us, and that if we trust in Him and commit to Him, we have the power of His Spirit within us to do all the things Jesus did while here, and more, He said.
I also learned that in order for faith to grow, we have to go through problems. For only in the problem, when we are backed against a wall, can we truly see the power of God. IF we follow His Word. It seems that only in the struggles and trails, do we finally turn to Him, when we've tried everything else.
As we face an ever-growing evil world, God is calling us to come up higher, to stand on His Word, His Promises, and to call upon His name with faith and power. So when the struggles come, as they will, we will step out in faith, maybe just a little faith at first, but all we need is a mustard seed! And...
- Believe God will heal you
- Believe God will provide for all your needs
- Believe God will protect you
- Believe He will never leave you
- Believe you have the power to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing will in any way harm you!
- God answers the prayers of the righteous
So, welcome the trials and ask the Lord how you can grow in your faith.
"Come up, Higher," He says, "And see!"