Faith is the principle by which we obtain Christ’s Life and the means to God’s Power. It’s the foundation of our walk with the Lord. But, obedience and trust are the principles by which we live that “faith” out.
In last month’s issue, we spoke about “faith” being the means by which God’s purposes are able to be accomplished in our lives. Faith comes in the form of a constant choice. A choice we can never stop making, no matter how hard the situation and no matter how long it lasts or who it involves. It’s a choice to follow God and do what He asks, regardless of how we feel, what we think, or what we want.
Just as God loves us unconditionally, we must trust Him unconditionally. We must trust Him even when we’ve been stripped of our position, our names, our reputation, our comfort, our family, and even our last ounce of understanding. We must get to the place where we can say and mean, “I won’t let any of these things move me,” even if that means letting go of all that we hold dear (Acts 20:24). As Job exclaimed, “Though You slay me, yet will I trust You” (Job 13:15). This must be our commitment also.
Back in the late eighties, the development company where Chuck was CEO went bankrupt. We lost our position in the community as we went from being millionaires and well respected to not having enough money to buy our next meal. We lost our finances as the situation forced us to declare personal bankruptcy as well as corporate bankruptcy. We lost our reputation when, as a result of the corporate troubles, some people felt that we had hidden the money away in an offshore account. We lost our comfort, when as a result of the bankruptcy we lost our cars, our insurance, and our dream home—the one we had just spent two years remodeling and planned to retire in. On top of this, we lost our last bit of understanding of what God was doing, when after receiving many wonderful promises from the Lord of complete restoration of all the things, all our belongings were subsequently destroyed by a 6.8 earthquake (the epicenter being right under our house). Even after that, we lost one of the most precious possessions we had, our son Chip. He died unexpectedly at the age of thirty-nine of a massive heart attack while out jogging.
So, when we say we understand how hard it is to have faith when things only seem to get worse and worse and worse, we really do understand!
Faith means laying aside all of our circumstances and getting to the place where we can say and really mean, “I won’t let any of these things move me” (Acts 20:24). The real test of faith comes when we can trust God even before the victory is realized, even before the promises are revealed, and even in the depths of the trial.
Faith has to pass the test of disappointment and the urge to want to quit. The enemy will set up every roadblock he can think of to entice us to just give up. We, however, must do just the opposite! When we experience his resistance, we must shout our unconditional love for God from the housetops and be assured in our hearts that God’s victory will come.
And the Lord did just that for us. He reestablished our positions, not in the corporate world as before, but in a much better world (the spiritual world), ministering through Koinonia House and the King’s High Way Ministries. He restored our finances to the point where it seemed as if the more we gave away in His Name, the more He returned. He renewed our reputation, again not in the corporate world as before, but in the spiritual world. He restored our comfort through a series of miracles. We now have a beautiful cottage in New Zealand, our own car and insurance. He rebuilt our understanding as to why He allowed these devastating things to come into our lives, much of which is explained in our book Faith in the Night Seasons. And He revived our family. Even though our son Chip could never be replaced, our daughter Lisa and her husband and their four kids came to live with us on the same property for 15 years and our youngest daughter, Meshell, also came to live close by.
If He can restore these things for us, He will be faithful to do the same for you.
Faith is the principle by which we obtain Christ’s Life and the means to God’s Power. It’s the foundation of our walk with the Lord. But, obedience and trust are the principles by which we live that “faith” out. Faith, obedience and trust are the three things that will give us the victory that overcomes (2 Peter 1:5–7).
God is faithful. We are living proof of that! He brought us through all of our trials. And He will do the same for you.
1 Peter 1:9 tells us that the goal of our faith is the salvation of our souls. Notice in this verse, that the “salvation of our souls” happens at the end of our faith, not the beginning. It says, “Receiving [at] the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
In other words, salvation is the goal of our faith. So, when God talks about “saving our souls,” He isn’t referring to the new birth (which is “justification”), He’s talking about the “sanctication” process––the cleansing, renewing, and transforming––of those who already believe. (See also Hebrews 10:36–39.) Justification is a “free gift” and requires no effort on our part, other than to just believe. Sanctification, on the other hand, is a difficult process and Scripture tells us we must persevere, strive and labor to achieve it. (Heb 4:11; Lk 13:24; Acts 14:22)
Perseverance (endurance) is one of the most important characteristics of the sanctification process. The words endure and persevere (Strong’s #5278, hupomeno) mean “to stay under, to undergo, to hold up under [suffering], to be patient, to tarry or to abide under.” Perseverance is “resigned submission to a situation that is out of our control.” It doesn’t mean “doormat submission,” but it means overcoming victory. Perseverance is another word for patience and forbearance.
Colossians 3:12–13 exhorts us to “put it on,” along with compassion, kindness, lowliness and meekness (Ephesians 4:2). Thus, endurance and perseverance are characteristics of God’s Love, which “endures all things, bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7).
The purpose of our lives here on earth—including our trials—is to train us to have faith in all situations so that we might be able to rule and reign with Christ in the coming kingdom. God is constantly testing us to see if we are worthy of such a great responsibility. Endurance and perseverance are two major parts of this testing process because they are prerequisites for the future. “To him that overcomes and does my will to the very end, I will give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:26–27).
So, it’s essential that we align ourselves with God’s plan. He created us, He called us and He has instilled that goal in our hearts. Our fulfillment will not be accomplished any other way. It’s not enough to just enter the race (through “justification”), we must persevere to the very end of the race (through “sanctification”) in order to win “the prize.” If we endure while suffering (barring ourselves from sin), He promises we will reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:11–12).
An Example: Cindy
A perfect example of someone who has had tremendous faith and who has persevered through more trials than anyone I know is a friend of mine named Cindy. Cindy is married, and has one son. She is also a complete miracle, having survived almost fifty (50) heart surgeries and, recently, a complete heart transplant.
Several years ago, before her heart transplant, she went back East for an experimental procedure in which they grew new arteries to replace the ones that had become clogged. Cindy was so excited to have this procedure done. And when she began to experience the new arteries giving her strength and vitality, she was ecstatic. She enthusiastically shared with everyone how she was able, for the first time in more than two years, to shovel snow off her sidewalk. This was a huge achievement for her. She was so sure God was going to heal her totally that she offered to become a poster child for this new artery procedure. She was convinced God would not have taken her that far, only to let her get sick again.
But eight weeks later her main arteries were 98 percent clogged again. She was very confused, as any of us would be. What was God thinking? What was He doing? She could not logically reason it out in her own mind; nor could any of us who had been praying for her.
Earlier in Cindy’s sickness, God had spoken these words to her: “I cannot heal you until you are ready to accept how I choose to heal you. And I am not finished yet!” This affirmation that the Lord was orchestrating the entire process, has kept her strong. It wasn’t the promise she would have liked, but it was a promise that God knew exactly what He was doing, even if she didn’t, and He was totally in control.
Even though the outcome of her procedure made no sense to Cindy, she chose by faith to fully surrender herself to the Lord, trusting that He loved her and knew exactly what He was doing. This is where “faith choices” or non-feeling choices come in. When what we see makes no sense to us, when it’s the opposite of what we had hoped for, and when it’s a blow to all our expectations, that’s when we must choose by faith to trust God’s hand anyway.
A year later, she had a total heart transplant. The transplanted heart that Cindy received, however, was damaged. The doctor knew about it, but without that heart she would have died. Her new heart has what is called the CMV virus, which is a cancer-type virus.
In a normal heart the immune system would kick in and it wouldn’t be so dangerous, but in a transplanted heart (without the help of a good immune system) that cancer can become fatal. After several months at the hospital because of the original heart transplant, Cindy spent another two months in the ICU unit going through one of the most aggressive chemotherapy treatments possible. (Most people have a chemo treatment two times a week and that makes them sick. Cindy had her treatment two times a day, every day for two months. That’s 14 sessions a week and 104 sessions in all!)
After recovering from that ordeal, Cindy took a trip to a relative’s wedding where, unfortunately, she tripped and fell and broke her right leg in two places. Again she was down for the count. It took almost three and a half months before she was able to walk again.
This precious child of God has withstood more in the last six years than most people do in an entire lifetime. Yet she always comes back smiling and praising God every time. She has her down days (she’s human), but I know of no one who has made more “faith choices” to stay in the race and endure than Cindy.
When we think of perseverance, Cindy is at the top of our list as an example.
The way we endure and persevere in difficult times is by “seeing Him who is invisible” in the middle of the situation (Hebrews 11:27) and by remembering Isaiah 55:8–9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
It’s not enough to just enter the race (be justified), we must persevere and endure to the very end in order to win the prize. And the way we do that is by “faith.”
Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
by Nancy Missler from “The Kingdom, Power & Glory”
©2011 The King’s High Way Ministries, all rights reserved