John Ortberg “For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.”
Faith isn’t something we can fake. We have heard teaching that says we should only ever speak positively. That if we have flu, we shouldn’t say we have the flu; we should say that we have the symptoms of flu/( apparently admitting you take Lemsip is admitting you aren’t living in Christ’s power). The same teaching suggests that if we start proclaiming we have health, wealth and happiness before we have them, we will receive them. This isn’t Biblical faith; it’s just playing word games. If Lazarus had told himself he wasn’t dead, he just had the symptoms of death, we aren’t sure it would have made much difference.
The trouble with such teaching is that it elevates faith in the wrong way. When we spend all our time and energy on our own faith level, we’ve totally missed it. We have put our faith in faith. Our eyes should be on Jesus instead.
Faith is really about two things: trusting God’s character and stepping out because of this trust
Giving the firstfruits of our income to the Lord in the right spirit is an act of faith. “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). The Lord requires faith before He will release His power toward us. Giving our firstfruits to Him is an act of faith by which we are declaring that we trust Him as the Source of our provision.
When Abraham was aged ninety-nine and his wife eighty-nine, the Lord appeared to him and promise that his wife would bear him a son within a year, But there was a catch this time. He needed to change his name from Abram, meaning Exalted Father to Abraham, which means The Father of Many. You can just imagine the reaction of his friends when they receive a card from Abraham assuming it was an invitation to his hundredth birthday party. Instead they find an announcement from the childless nonagenarian that from now on he wanted them to address him as the Father of Many. It was humiliating, but then patient faith often is. It is costly but it never goes unrewarded.
The Lord appeared a fourth time to Abraham with a promise: his descendants would be as many as the stars in the night sky. Abraham believed him but frustrated by the delay, he took matters into his own hands and made his wife’s slave girl pregnant instead. This lead to the greatest faith test of all. His attempt to receive God’s promises through dead works provoked God’s silence for the next thirteen years