And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:7,8
“…when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Jesus asked this question after He told the parable of the persistent widow, but it seems He referred to the time of His coming — the time we live in now. Each one of us must answer this question for ourselves. Faith matters to the Lord.
Faith is not your religion or your brand of Christianity, it is how you relate to God — the kind of relationship you have with Him. It is clear that the faith the Bible is talking about, is not merely believing that God exists, because the devil also believes in God, but…
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! James 2:19
Faith in God is a live connection with His abilities, His attributes, and His love for you personally. Faith is the conduit through which His power flows where it is requested.
What exactly is faith?
- To believe God: But 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
- Believing God will work
- Believing God will honour His promises: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? ~Numbers 23:19
- Believing His Word is true: For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. ~Psalm ~138:2
- Subjecting adverse circumstances to His Word
- Aligning your behavior and speech with the Word of God
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks! Listen to the words of the wisest man that ever lived:
Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4: 23
Your heart is your spirit, the inner man, the dwelling place of faith; (or doubt) it is also the wellspring of your life. You cannot rise above your faith!
Faith is not:
- Mind over matter
- Positive thinking
- Denying the challenges that you face
Faith works when challenges show up; it is not a fair weather talking point but a force to bring down on circumstances that are contrary to God’s promises for you. It often involves a battle, some tough resistance, but it s a fight that you can win if you don’t give up too soon. When Peter was about to enter the most challenging time of his life, Jesus prayed for Him:
But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren. Luke 22:32
Note that Jesus didn’t pray that he would somehow escape his trouble, but that his faith would not fail, because it is our faith in Him that pulls us through when we are overwhelmed. Because we don’t know when the enemy will strike, we have every reason to work on building our faith every day. Look carefully at the words of Jesus below:
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24
For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer [in accordance with God’s will], believe [with confident trust] that you have received them, and they will be given to you.
Mark 11:24 ~Amplified Bible
Believe that you receive — or have received! Now we know why Paul encouraged us to bring our requests before the Lord with thanksgiving:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
John echoes this truth, and reminds us to find the will of God (as revealed in Scripture) before we go to Him with our prayers. His promises reveal His will for you:
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14,15
His will for you cannot be contrary to His Word, because God said what He meant, and meant what He said, as James also confirmed:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17
Your behavior and your words reveal what is in your heart: you cannot say you believe God, and then talk or act in a different way. Also, faith is bold, it never begs, because Jesus already provided for all your needs on the cross. We are invited to come boldly to the Throne of God when we need grace or mercy:
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
We come boldly when we need grace or mercy, or need help! Your level of boldness before the Lord typifies your level of intimacy with Him — the better you are acquainted with Him, the more freedom you will have in His presence.
We have a tendency to be timid when we need help, but our Father wants us to be bold when we approach Him. It is normal for us to sometimes need grace, mercy, or some help while we live in the flesh in a broken world. Grace is to receive what we don’t deserve; mercy is to not receive what we do deserve — and it is available from the Throne when you need it. But remember, you must go boldly because it is the character of faith!
You build your faith on the Word of God — on what He says and who He is. Acquaint yourself with the character of God as revealed in the Word, knowing He does not act out of character.
- Love: He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. ~1 John 4:8
- Compassionate: But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. ~Matthew 9:36
- Gracious: But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. ~Psalm 86:15
- Merciful: The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. ~Psalm 103:8
- Able: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ~Ephesians 3:20,21
- Generous: If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! ~Matthew 7:11
- Almighty: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” ~Revelation 1:8
Live a lifestyle of faith by imitating the character of God; become a giver of good things like Him. Look how a life of faith gives what it needs:
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:37,38
A word of caution: fear is also faith, but in the power of the enemy. Fear and doubt walk hand-in-hand, they are good friends that work together to keep the door open for the enemy to come in and do his destructive work.
The only thing the Lord is asking of us is to believe. Remember, there is a promise attached to your faith in God. Look at this verse again:
But 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
There is a cliche in Christianity that says prayer works, but prayer doesn’t work, the Lord does; He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Prayer is our invitation, our request for Him to intervene in our circumstances. The prayer of faith moves the hand of God, which is why Paul told us to bring our requests before Him with thanksgiving — our heartfelt thanksgiving is a confession of faith, believing God will work.
Lastly, never allow feelings to shape your faith; true faith rests solely on the Word of God and His love for you. Feelings change constantly, even several times in a day, but the Word of God never changes; it is a solid foundation given to us to build our lives on.
Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89
We have entered what Paul calls the perilous times of the last days, and pressure will mount on everyone who confesses faith in God. The enemy knows his time is short and he will bring out his best to steal your faith. He is not after your health, your finances, your relationships or your peace — he is after your faith in God. His dream is to get you to turn your back on Him. Understand his tactics, hold on to the Lord, no matter how painful or confusing it might be. Above all, build your faith and strengthen your foundation.
Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was [a]founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:47-49
Be sure to be found in faith when the Lord returns
Be sure to check out this book, authored by one of our Bible School students, Nikki Otto. An interesting study of olive trees with beautiful pictures and Biblical insights done by me. A lovely book to have on your coffee table or waiting room! Get it here