Romans 1:17 New King James Version (NKJV)
…“The just shall live by faith.”
The normal Christian life is a life of faith. What is that faith? How do we live by faith? How do we grow or strengthen our faith? These are some of the things that we’re going to be looking at over the next couple of episodes because it’s essential that as believers we live by faith and not by sight.
2 Corinthians 4:18 New King James Version (NKJV)
“while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
As believers, we do not live like the world lives (based on carnal, sensory elements) but rather we live by faith in what God says! The world doesn’t understand living by faith because it’s vastly different to how they live. Faith is how the Christian lives and relates to God. Faith is really just a persuasion. The Book of James shows us that faith is always accompanied by corresponding actions. You never find faith without works; faith without corresponding action is dead. Faith is a heart belief with an appropriate response or corresponding action.
Romans 10:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
“9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
There has to be heart belief and mouth confession; something needs to be demonstrated on the outside. In other words, faith can never stay trapped in the heart, although that’s where it starts. Faith is how we live. Faith is trusting in God. Faith is believing in Him.
John 14:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”
Jesus is speaking to His disciples just before he’s going to be crucified. They don’t know that He’s going to be crucified but He knows and He’s preparing them for it, and He says to them, “Let not your hearts be troubled, you believe in God believe also in Me”. He’s preparing them for a crisis and this is one of the first things He says: “Let not your heart be troubled.” Here is the thing: unbelievers have no hope but believers always have hope. Even if we’re suffering in this life, even if we’re not winning battles against cancer or against poverty or whatever, even if we’re not winning those battles here on the earth we will win for eternity because for eternity we’ll be with Jesus in perfection. And that is good news! But the unbeliever has no hope. None. Even if this life is good for them and they’re healthy, prosperous and happy, it’s all short lived, and for eternity (thousands and thousands, even hundreds of thousands and millions of years to come) they will not be happy. In fact they will be in torment. Their eternity will not be successful. They’re going to suffer. As believers, we’ve got to get a bigger picture and see that we are living for eternity.
“Let not your heart be troubled…” – As believers no matter what crisis we face we don’t have to allow our hearts to be troubled. We can control how we respond to situations. I know that you may be thinking about a crisis that happened and how you just cussed and swore, and then started to panic. And I agree that it probably just flowed our of you – it was a knee-jerk reaction. I understand that at the moment you maybe didn’t consciously decide that you’re going to respond like that but you did decide ahead of time. Knowingly or unknowingly you did prepare your heart for that moment and you set a default setting in your heart which preset you to respond to a crisis and to negative things in a specific way. My wife tells me that while growing up her mother (my mother-in-law) wouldn’t allow them to watch soap dramas. And that’s good that they were not allowed to watch that rubbish! But one of the reasons behind her decision was that she didn’t want her children to learn behavior from those soapies. Those soapies seem to all be the same; people just slap each other easily, and they’re extremely dramatic and overly emotional. People don’t usually operate like that in normal life and Christians should certainly not operate like that either. If you watch something like that it prepares you to operate like that. It imprints an attitude or way of life on your heart and you’ll start thinking like that and start operating like that because your heart will think it is normal.
Proverbs 23:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…”
What you’re imprinting on your heart is determining how you’re going to live your life. It’s determining how you’re going to act and how you’re going to live. You need to make sure that you’re resetting your default according to the Word of God and not according to the value system of the world. You need to reset your default to operate like Jesus would in a situation; to operate in faith and not in fear, not in the flesh and not emotionally but in faith. This can only happen if you spend more and more time in the Word of God. The Word of God is what prepares you for challenging circumstances and what builds your faith!
Romans 10:17 New King James Version (NKJV)
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
It doesn’t say that faith comes by heard – no! Faith comes by hearing the word! You need to be actively hearing the word of God and feasting on it daily; digging into the word and hearing what the Lord says. You need to be reading and hearing the truth and allowing it to be imprinted on your heart so that your actions will change and start to be in accordance with God’s standards. You can only live a supernatural Christian life if the picture of life in your heart is formed to be like God’s. You cannot live a Christian life while trying to fit into the world’s way of doing things. We live by faith and not by sight!