7 Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your Faith
What Abraham Can Teach Us about Faith & Patience
Lately, I’ve been mulling over the ins and outs of faith. Not the label we give ourselves to describe our belief systems. Rather the substance of the unseen that procures promises from God.
Faith is defined by the author of Hebrews as “...the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]” (Heb. 11:1 AMP).
So in this we see that faith is a substance or the title deed to the things we both hope for and are convinced of. And yet so many times we are in this flux of longing and waiting for the things that we both have ownership to and are completely persuaded of.
Is there a disconnect? Or is this merely part of the path that faith takes as we walk it out?
You see, I am in a period of waiting; I have been waiting for children for over ten years. That is a LONG time, and it is not my faith that is broken. (I know what God's promised by grace, so I know it is within God’s will for it to happen). So there is another element to it—That element is patience. There is something in the idea of both faith and patience working together bring about what we hope for.
The classic example of this, is the story of Abraham. He believed God for an heir and his faith spanned decades until the promised came. This is what Hebrew casually says about it, “And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised” (Heb 6:15). Talk about an understatement!
The behind the scenes look at Abraham’s journey of faith & patience is found in Romans 4; it one of my favorites. Let me give you the moral of the story before I begin—promises come by faith; so they can be guaranteed. Did you catch that, God wants you to obtain everything He’s promised by grace and to make sure you have it, He’s created the means to access it by faith. But just because they come by faith doesn’t mean that patience and waiting won’t be involved.
(Side observation #1—Faith is really important to God; We won’t please Him without faith (Heb. 11:6).
(Side observation #2 (some might say rant)—You are never going to unlock God’s best when you don’t know what it is. I hear people giving disclaimers all the time when praying. ‘God, if it’s your will, you can ...’ This is unbelief masked as faith, it will not work. Friends, first before you pray, find out what God’s will is (Rom. 12:2), which we can know because we have the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:10, 16) and He’s revealed His will through His Word. Know what He’s promised and then ask in faith believing it will happen (Mark 11:24; I John 5:14-15).... Just Saying!).
Okay… rant’s done! Back to the main idea….
Here’s the journey of how Abraham unlocked his promise to become the father of many nations. This is the same way in which we unlock our promises given throughout the scriptures.
#1—Faith Looks into the Realm of Spirit
“As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father is the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17).
Did you know that God changed Abram's name to Abraham; meaning ‘the Father of Many Nations’ when Abraham was childless. The physical reality was never a consideration on God’s part, he looked into the realm of the spirit and called what wasn’t and though it was already accomplished. This is the same way He spoke the world into existence. He said, “let there be light” when there was only darkness and then light came (Genesis 1:3a; Heb. 11:3).
Faith looks into the realm of the spirit and calls substance forth. Which means promises from God, even when you haven’t obtained the physical evidence of them, can still be considered fulfilled. We have to get to place where we are looking through the eyes of faith in regards to the promises of God rather than looking at the natural aspect of it. Abraham was able to believe God long before Isaac. This was the first step to unlocking this promise.
#2—Faith Bridges the Divide between the Natural & the Supernatural
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just has it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be” (Rom. 4:18).
When natural hope was gone, Abraham got himself some supernatural hope and saw the promised fulfilled. There was absolutely no reason for Abraham to cling to the hope of having children when he was one hundred years old and Sarah was not only past the age of having children, but she had always been barren. So he never considered the natural reason for hope but clinged to the supernatural reason for hope—God’s promise that a son coming from his own body would be his heir (Gen. 15:3; Heb. 11:11).
#3—Faith Accepts the Word of God Over Circumstances
“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead” (Rom. 4:19).
What makes Abraham the Father of Faith is that he didn’t let circumstances rob him of the promise. He faced them, he knew they were real, he wasn’t oblivious to the fact that he was old and past the ability to have children and Sarah suffered the same but that didn’t weaken his faith. In other words it didn’t change the outcome of the promise, it had no effect on it. He didn’t stop to consider that one nullified the other. Faith accepts the Word of God over the circumstances.
God made sure Abraham knew he was serious about the promise, “When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised” (Heb. 6:13-15). Abraham’s trust in God’s character to be true to His word, trumped his affliction with the circumstances.
#4—Faith Celebrates While Waiting
“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God” (Rom. 4:20).
This one is key. This brought Abraham into an entirely different realm of faith. Since he was considering the Word (or promise) of God over the circumstance he was able to stand firm, continually strengthened in faith moving over into the realm of praising God for fulfilling his promise LONG before it happened.
Did you know from the first time God promised Abraham an heir, to the time it happened was a span of twenty-five years? You heard me, two and a half decades (Genesis 12:1-4, 7; 15:4-6; 17:1-8; 18:14; 21:5) Yet, he did not waver and was able to celebrate years before fulfillment. Why? Because #1—faith looks into the realm of Spirit to see the finish. #2—Faith bridges the divide between the natural & the supernatural. And finally #3—faith accepts the word of God over the circumstances.
If you can see the promised fulfilled through the eyes of faith then you can celebrate it regardless of the time it takes and the insurmountable circumstances surrounding it. Abraham was able to do this and so he was operating on a level of faith that many of us never venture.
#5—Faith is Being Fully Persuaded
“Being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised” (Rom. 4:22).
Important thing to note, Abraham in NO WAY had to persuade God—he had to fully persuade himself that God had the power to do what he had promised. Or another way to put this is that God would be willing to do it. Have you ever waiting twenty-five years for something, knowing it was within God’s will and plan for you? That is a span of time that gives room for doubt. Proverbs says that prolonged waiting causes the heart to be sick (Prov. 12:12). Abraham’s remedy was to fully persuade himself that God would make good on His word.
This is how you fully persuade yourself—you speak faith, you remind yourself of the promise, you get to a place that no one can talk you out of it. They make look at you like you are the craziest person in the world to hang on to a hope year after year but you have to get to the place where you don’t care! They are the crazy ones for not being able to see it through the eyes of faith to the finish. Like Abraham you have to fully convince yourself, giving glory to God because He is able to make good on His promise!
Here’s some truth…
God watches to make sure His word is fulfilled—Jer. 1:12.
God’s Word doesn’t return void; it accomplished the purpose for why it was sent—Isa. 55:11.
Jesus sustains all things by His Word; and is seated in heaven to eternally secure it—Heb. 1:3.
God cannot lie—Heb. 6:18 (the universe being held in place is proof of this fact— see point above about Jesus holding all things in place by his Word.)
Because God is able to make good on His promise, Abraham was able to be fully persuaded, which caused more faith to rise up, which is turn caused more praise to rise up, which in turn started a lifestyle of audacious faith on Abraham’s part.
Faith speaks! If Abraham doubted in the beginning, through the course of time he talked himself into the promise by speaking faith. Speaking what he believed about the promise, reminding Himself of what God said about it, calling himself Abraham, ‘father of many nations’ instead of Abram—this is why he saw it fulfilled. Instead of talking yourself out of God’s best, talk yourself into it!
#6—Faith Takes Patience
“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Heb. 6:12).
Faith works through the process of patience. That stinks! It is hard to wait year after year in this place where faith is working and active but the physical reality of that is not YET evident. This takes work, which is why we are reminded not to become lazy or lax, but to imitate those whose through both faith and patience inherit what had been promised. Remember for Abraham and Sarah, that took twenty-five years! So do not quit after six months— imitate that resolute faith!
#7—Faith Is To Be Imitated
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. THEREFORE, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb. 11:39-12:1).
Now it is our turn! We have witnessed an amazing example of great faith. Abraham is credited as the Father of Faith, residing with the great clouds of witnesses in heaven cheering us on. Let us take time to ponder this account of great faith and imitate it so we run our race well and obtain what God has promised and wants us to have an experience.
So Here’s My Questions...
If faith should work as described in the Bible, are we missing an element?
Where are you at in the process?
What are you longing for?
Do you know it’s within God Will for you?
Do you have a Promise?
If so, what principles from Abraham’s example can you apply while waiting?