|Saturday, August 4, 2018|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
t is with great delight and pleasure that I welcome you to the month of August, our month of Walking in Faith. Faith is that popular word like love that defines us as Christians. Faith is that word that elicits our life and energizes us. Faith is that aspect of human life which God says without it He is not pleased. Faith in the Christian world is one of the vocabularies that is severally used everywhere. Faith is a powerful word and very rewarding when adequately applied in our individual life or as a group of people. Faith was what Jesus commended when some people came to him for one favour or the other. Faith has degrees. I thank God for your faith that has led you to get to this Ebenezer of your life. I pray your faith will continue to anchor your life in Christ.
What is faith?
We hear so much of Faith and yet the general disposition in our generation shows little knowledge of Faith not to talk of living in Faith or walking in Faith or practicing Faith. Some online dictionaries define faith as: “complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” The bible popular definition is from Heb 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" Martin Luther a German priest and professor of theology who initiated the Protestant Reformation five hundred years ago and who was famous for his discussion on faith defined faith as follow: “faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures". Kenneth Hagin who was one of the leaders of faith in America in the 20th century after he walked out of a death bed by acting on faith at the age of 17 and popularised Mark 11:22-24 defined faith as follows. “There are a number of kinds of faith. Everyone, saved and unsaved alike, has a natural, human faith. Faith that is believed with the heart rather than believed with our physical senses. Faith, in other words, is grasping the unrealities of hope and bringing them into the realm of reality. And faith grows out of the Word of God. “ In My Book What is Faith?, written by doing exegesis on The Heroes of Faith in Chapter Eleven of The Book of Hebrew, I defined “Faith has CHRIST JESUS as its principal object, for it is faith in Christ Jesus—our Lord, Saviour, Mediator, and Hope that saves and guarantees eternal life. Christ is the bread; faith is the mouth which eats. "An anonymous online also defined faith as follows: Faith is the connecting power into the spiritual realm, which links us with God and makes Him become a tangible reality to the sense perceptions of a person. Faith is what helps us to access and receive salvation. Eph 2:8;Titus 2:12-13
Types and level of faith
In my personal classification I will say there are two levels, the faith that people have that made them to become Christians. Though they were not alive when Jesus was here on earth, though they have not seen Jesus in their dreams, they heard the gospel preached to them and they accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is important that if you as a reader has not crossed the bridge this is the time to do so. The second level is the one that helps you to live the Christian life. This is the type that Jesus describes in the synoptic gospels. While Jesus was on earth he had so much to say about faith and in his encounter with people he gave us different levels of faith. The first was people who had no faith –faithless-the likes of Thomas- John: 20:27: Then he said to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. John 20:27. The second category were those with little faith- Peter heard the word from Jesus to walk on the sea. He walked but on seeing the wind he started doubting and then started sinking. Jesus said this to him, ‘……..O man of little faith, why did you doubt?’ (Mt: 14:31). Third level, in writing to the churches he spoke about lukewarm faith- Rev: 3:16: so, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, will I spew you out of my mouth. Finally, at the fourth level he spoke about great faith-For instance while eulogizing the faith of the centurion Jesus said: to the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. Luke 7:9. It is within this level you find any categories of people today. And this level of faith you have that determines how you will go on earth in terms of physical, material and financial blessing. Exercising faith helps believer to get blessed or stagnated. The issue of tithing and giving to God today is one area where people are missing it. Faith is not about just getting from God, faith is about giving to God in anticipation of his blessing. Faith as the farmers practice it is about sowing a corn of seed and expecting cobs of corns. Faith is not about controversies, murmuring and arguments, it is about what you hope for in Christ. A woman was literarily called ‘a dog’ but with great faith in Jesus she passed the test and got her daughter healed. James says Faith without works (input) is dead.
What is walking in faith?
Walking by faith is simply being guided by the word of God in the journey of life rather than rational thinking or logic. Why Abraham was called the father of faith? In Genesis Chapter 12 we were told he left his parents for unknown destination. Walking by faith is leaving certainty for uncertainty based on God’s word or direction. In Rom 4:17 we were told he called those things that be not as if they were. In Luke chapter five we were told that Peter toiled all night when the probability of catching fish was high but caught nothing, but during the hot sun, when Jesus spoke the word, and the word illuminated his heart, he obeyed the word which did not make practical sense and caught a net breaking number of fishes. Faith is following Jesus career wise, like Peter leaving your fishing business to become fisher of men. Like Ruth, faith is following a widowed mother in-law who has no other son for you to marry, but propelled by that decision to become the maternal grandmother of Jesus Christ. Walking in faith is knowing that you don’t need to bribe, steal and do bad things before you have a glorious future. Walking in faith is knowing that before you were born God has made provision for you to live well irrespective of wherever you were born. Walking in faith is knowing that even if you are not married today you will be married tomorrow and based on that you don't go about making yourself cheap or manipulating or seducing other people's spouses to become yours. Walking in faith is that you shall have that baby as Zechariah and Elizabeth did even when you have forgotten that it is possible. Walking in faith is not pestering God with petition but trusting that as you are serving him he will surely take care of you. Matt 6:25-33. Walking in faith is knowing that if you pray God will answer. Faith is knowing that there is life after death and that there is hell and heaven and by faith you choose heaven by living a godly life, irrespective of temptation to do otherwise. Walking in faith is believing Jesus died for you resurrected for you and he is coming back for you if you are ready.
Practicing walking in Faith
Second Corinthians 5: 6-7 says, "So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight" Other versions use the word live, rather than walk. The "walk" here is a metaphorical reference to the way a person conducts his or her life. The apostle Paul reminds his readers that followers of Christ must not build their lives around things that have no eternal significance. Rather than pursuing the same things the world pursues, a Christian should focus on the unseen realities such as Jesus and heaven. Paul goes on to say, "So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please God. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Corinthians 5:9–10). Jesus instructed us to store up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19–20; Luke 12:33). He promised rewards to everyone who does His will (Matthew 16:27; 1 Peter 1:17; Revelation 22:12) and punishment for those who reject Him (Matthew 25:24–46; John 3:16–18).
Walking by faith means living life in light of eternal consequences. To practice walking by faith is to fear God more than man; to obey the Bible even when it conflicts with man’s commands; to choose righteousness over sin, no matter what the cost; to trust God in every circumstance; and to believe God rewards those who seek Him, regardless of who says otherwise (Hebrews 11:6). You see all kinds of life styles by Christians today because instead of practicing faith and walking in faith they walk in fear and doubt. The exact opposite of faith. People steal because they do not have faith that God can supply their needs. People worry themselves dead over things that are unnecessary. If you are reading this article practice walking in faith by telling that situation, “you know what I will not worry about you.” “I will not be ruled by fear”, “I am a man/ woman of faith.”, I am not a doubter, doubters don’t receive from God" It requires faith to live this way because we cannot see, hear, or touch anything spiritual. When we base our lives on the truth of God’s Word, rather than on the popular philosophy of our day, we are going against our natural inclinations. Our natural instincts may be to horde money, but walking by faith says we should "give to those in need" (Luke 11:41; Ephesians 4:28, James 1:22). Society may say that sexual immorality is acceptable, but those who walk by faith base their standards on the unchangeable nature of God’s Word, which says any sex outside of marriage is sin. Why do you want to be a baby mama when you can be a full fledge wife and mother if you practice walking in faith? (1 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3; Galatians 5:19). To practice walking in faith requires that we tune our hearts to the voice of the Holy Spirit and the truth of His Word (John 10:27; 16:13). We choose to live according to what God reveals to us, rather than trust our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5–6) or walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Psalm 1:1.
The Benefits of Faith.
When God told me to leave Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, it was a difficult decision. It was leaving certainty for uncertainty. It was leaving a comfort zone for a difficult zone, but by the grace of God I obeyed. And to his glory I have not lacked, I can say like David I was young and now I am old I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor his children begging bread. We did not borrow money to send our children to college/University. The benefit of faith is not just in material provision or blessing of good health, it is about knowing you are fulfilling destiny. I am sure you have your testimonies! Everybody has his story. If you don’t have that is why you are reading this. Take the step of faith. Time and space will not permit to tell how faith has helped me even in ministry and ministering. You cannot pray for people and expect them to get well if you don’t have faith. In Matt 17 when the disciples prayed for the lunatic boy and nothing happened, he upbraided them about having little faith. Yet part of benefit of faith is when you pray for people and they are delivered. How many were in labour and God gave me opportunity to pray with and today by faith, God has given them children. Maybe you are believing God for something, I pray for you by faith that God will grant you your heart desire right now in Jesus name. I pray by faith for a reader of this article: “Receive favour on your matter of Immigration” in Jesus name. Many years ago before I relocated to Canada, I travelled from Nigeria to minister in a church in England and I prophesied by faith to a brother that within six months God will give him his paper and he will buy a house. When God did it he shared the testimony with my friend how he said in his heart this man does not understand the level of what he is saying. Faith is not logic. Faith is calling those things that be not as if they were. Till Rev Kenneth Hagin died he never stopped sharing how he exercised faith on a dying bed and got well. You can exercise faith on your situation right now. This article is not just for intellectual purposes, it is to get you to where you need to be right now. Mark 11:22-24, Psalm 107:20. My friend I can tell you, faith is the major key for an effective healing and deliverance ministry. Jesus Christ “the same yesterday, today and forever” lives in the Christian (Hebrews 13:8, Galatians 2:20), and through the Christian wants to reveal the power of salvation to men in a way they can see and feel. In this way, our evangelism concerning the Kingdom of God will not be in talk, but in power (1 Corinthians 4:20). The message God enabled me to preach in three different churches in the last three Sundays (July 2018) when I was in USA, Maryland, Boston and San Jose, was titled –What signs are following you? taking my text from Mark 16:17-18. Those signs will never follow you if you are not intentionally walking in and by faith.
The Bible teaches us that genuine faith is “more precious than gold that perishes” (1 Peter 1:7). Indeed such faith is going to be “tested by fire”. You can expect difficulties and persecutions in your life of faith, as well as blessings. When you read Hebrews Chapter 11 you will understand that it was in the time of all kinds of challenges that those people stood out by exercising faith. I encourage you to hold onto and develop your faith, and enjoy the benefits of faith. Reader, faith brings salvation. (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Faith brings answers to prayer. (Matthew 21:22). Faith gives us our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). I was in a serious traffic situation one day on my way to Heathrow in London, England. And I prayed with the people driving me to the airport-“O Lord give me this day my daily flight”. I was the last to enter that aircraft that day. Halleluiah. I could have been lamenting why there was so much traffic, why did the people to pick me not come in time. No, stop complaining, speak faith. Act in faith. The matter of faith excites me. I encourage you to get a copy of my book what is faith online or on our website www.cacbethel.com. (That is what I call commercial break) Faith is therefore a key to our material provision. Faith brings all the benefits of salvation into our lives (Ephesians 2:8, 9). This includes healing, prosperity, peace, love, joy (1 Peter 1:8), deliverance from demons and the curse, sanctification of the mind and emotions (the salvation of the soul) and any other benefit which the word of God promises to us. Faith is a spiritual force through which our ministry for Christ becomes effective. (Mark 11:23; Matthew 17:19, 20). Faith is a major key to ministry success. It brings to you what you need for your ministry, and by imparting it to others through your life and your ministry of God’s Word, you enable them to receive the blessings of God’s grace mentioned above. Part of the benefit of faith is what has allowed us to take International Gathering of Eagles conferences to all the continents of the world. Every year by the grace of God since 2011 we hold these conferences in ten nations. Last year (2017) we held the conference in Liverpool, England; Dublin, Ireland; Ostersund, Sweden; Kathmandu, Nepal; Lahore Pakistan; Chennai and Salem in India; Freetown in Sierra Leone; Monrovia and Kakata in Liberia; Abidjan in Cote’D’ivoire; Tessie Ghana; Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt and Uyo in Nigeria.
The death of Christ is the engine of the car called Christianity, but faith is the fuel that drives it. You can trust an unseen God with your unseen future, more than you can trust what you see with your own eyes. That’s because when your faith is in God, you can walk by faith and not by sight. My plea with you is that you don’t just drag along in Christianity, be the driver of your life, put full gas –faith in your car and keep cruising. Faith shall see you through. Faith will make a way for you. Let faith propel you to prosperity, healing and miracles. Faith shall motivate you and help you to be a major stakeholder in winning souls for God in your generation. Eight speaks of new beginning, the month of August is the eighth month of the year, go and begin your walking in faith anew and share fresh testimonies. Go and walk in Faith.