It was a year ago, my sister received what she believed was a call to the mission field. For the last eleven months she has set her eye on the prize.
Plans had been falling nicely into place until three months ago. An $18,000.00 set-back arose threatening to derail everything.
As always the nay-sayers came out of the wood work. “I guess it’s not God’s will…. Gee that’s too bad. It would have been such a fulfillment of your dreams to have gone.”
But my sister operated in the gift of faith and responded with just a bit of righteous indignation. “Look this wasn’t my idea. God wants me to go. The $18,000.00 must be provided that’s all.”
Watchman Nee said, “”Faith follows fact and feelings follow faith.” Faith is simply a decision to trust in the facts. Doubt, then, is a lack of trust in the facts. I want you to notice that neither faith nor doubt have their foundation in feelings. They are decisions. As with everything else in the spirit realm faith is based not on how we feel but on how we believe (decisions of the heart as opposed to decisions of the soul).
We have faith in all kinds of things: We have faith that 2+2=4. We have faith that if we plant a seed in the ground something will grow. We have faith that if we go to work this week we will get paid next week. Why? Because these things have a proven track record. They are established facts in the world we live in.
Now Christian (or saving) faith comes when a man embraces the fact that Jesus died for sin and when that man decides to act on the fact by repenting and committing his life to follow Christ. The reason not everyone experiences this saving faith is that the facts are in dispute. While no one the world over would doubt that 2+2=4, lots of people doubt that Jesus died and rose from the dead.
Satan has muddied the sociological waters with his lies. So while Jesus death, resurrection, and saving grace may be more true than 2+2, sin in man and the added lies of other gods make Jesus’ claims seem doubtful to some. But not to me. I have chosen to have confidence in the facts of Scripture and lack confidence in any ideas that contradict it.
Now the Holy Spirit’s gift of faith goes beyond that. The gift of faith involves being confident in what God has said to you personally and refusing to accept anything contrary.
Paul the apostle was operating in the gift of faith when he insisted on going to Jerusalem even after the prophet, Agabus, revealed that doing so would cause his arrest (Acts 21). The gift of faith kept him moving forward against the feelings he surely must have felt.
It may be that the gift of faith is the most common of all the gifts among Spirit-filled Christians. I believe many may operate in this gift without even knowing it because they are simply convinced of the facts. Even though they feel frightened to step out, it just makes sense and seems very natural rather than supernatural. It is this gift that makes onlookers admire and fear the stalwart hearts of believers operating under its influence.
It is the gift of faith that has caused Pentecostal believers to witness even in the face of danger. It is the gift of faith that has caused women to stick with marriages to hard-hearted abusive husbands until the unbelieving spouse received faith. It is this gift that has caused others to remain faithful to Jesus even when it meant abandonment by family, loss of property, and death.
The end of the gift as Watchman Nee said is that feelings follow faith. When we start trying to live our Christian lives by how we feel rather than the facts of Scripture, we end up disappointed and cynical. But when we trust in the promises of Scripture first against our feelings eventually they line up with what has been spoken in the Word.
My sister insisted that the Spirit had called her and that the money was His issue not hers. She committed the issue to prayer. I am sure there were moments of intense frustration and fear but she refused to change her confession, “God will provide”. God did! Within two weeks the entire amount was provided on a timeline that will have her paid off by spring!
How do you think she feels now?