Pigmies are Giants
Faith is always an involvement, not a sitting on the fence. Faith is always a conquest of uncertainty. But the point is that we come to a conclusion, and do not leave things in the air. Faith can only be as strong as its object: if the chair we seat ourselves on is strong, the faith is strong; if the chair wobbles, the faith wobbles. But to come to a conclusion that such-and-such is the will of God involves our reputation, and that is where we stop short. That is why we do not easily believe; it is the committal of ourselves to something, and a taking of the consequences. That is why the prayer of request is easy. We then only ask, "if it be Thy will." If it does not happen, well, it was not His will, we are not involved. But if I have said some-thing is His will, and then it fails to materialize, I appear to be the fool or false prophet.
When the decision is settled in my mind, then the final step of faith, of my human involvement, is taken. Faith declares a thing done before it is done. It "calls the things that be not as though they were." This is the crossing of the Rubicon. Prayer puts its toes in the water: faith dives in. The Bible is filled with such incidents in the lives of all the men of faith, as well as in the Savior’s life.
"Shout, for the Lord hath given you the city," said Joshua to his army before Jericho. "In the morning ye shall be filled with bread," said Moses to the hungry people in the wilderness. "Ye shall not need to fight in this battle. Set ourselves, stand still and see the salva-tion of the Lord," said the prophet to King Jehoshophat. "There shall be no loss of life among you, but of the ship," said the prisoner Paul to his guards on board ship at the height of the fourteen days’ storm. "There shall be neither dew nor rain, but according to my word," said Elijah to Ahab.
The reason why this is possible is because prayer and faith are not our seeking to get God interested in some-thing, but God getting us into action. Life is He in His love-activities. It is He who has put us into this specific situa-tion; therefore, we know He has a pur-pose in it. We have taken time to seek to interpret His purpose and to state to our-selves what seems to be His will.
Moreover, we regard time from a different perspective. Time is a human convenience for pinpointing a fragment of eternity. We may say it is 10:00 a.m. on January 4th. But the Bible says that in eternity there "shall be time no longer" (Rev. 10:6), for God is timeless. He knows "the end from the beginning" so the end is already there. The words of prophecy were often spoken in the past tense of future events. God said to Abraham, "A father of many nations have I made thee," before Isaac was born and thousands of years before we, the church in our millions, appeared on the scene as "the children of Abraham, the father of us all." When Isaiah spoke of the Savior who was to come five hundred years later, he said, "The Lord hath laid (not will lay) on him the iniq-uity of us all."
Therefore, when we are faced with a need, we say God has a supply He plans to give, something He intends to do, and He has put me in the place of need as His human channel. I call this the upside-downness of God-He has the supply before the need. He had fore-ordained Christ as Savior before the foundation of the world, wrote Peter. So the Savior was there before the sinners He would come to save! The first Adam was curiously spoken of by Paul as only a figure or shadow of the final Adam, "him that was to come" (Rom. 5:14), indicating that the greatest need of his-tory, the very fall of man, was only a great pit dug to be the foundation for God’s glorious building. On this basis, therefore, we can go farther in faith than saying that God is doing a thing, and we can say, "God has done it," and we are anticipating the visible manifes-tation of it.
One of the best statements on this in the Bible is in Mark 11:12-14 and 20–24: when Jesus said to His disciples, "Say unto this mountain, be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea…" We "say" it, because "whatsoev-er ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them"; and the word "receive" in the original is in the aorist tense, which means "that ye received them then and there." On that basis we state a thing to be so. Thinking about a thing is non-committal, saying is a committal.
An architect may have many thoughts: his plan is his word; he is com-mitted. We may have many thoughts or desires, or make many appeals in prayer: all are non-committal. The word of faith is committal. This is the critical act, and the authoritative act.
We say in faith, "God has done so and so." We demonstrate our faith by giving thanks. We are acting as kings according to the statement that we are "a royal priesthood," "kings and priests unto God." Kings speak the word of authority, "Let so and so be done." Paul said we are enthroned with Christ, "made to sit in the heavenly places with him," and, therefore, authorized and entitled to dispense His resources in His name. So we speak the word of authori-ty, boldly acting as His mouthpiece. Prayer, which starts with asking, ends in declaring. "Thou shalt decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee."
Having made the declaration once, do we repeat it? Continually, in the sense of thanking for what is coming. To go back to asking would be dishon-est. If I have received by faith, I have received, and the proof of my having done so is constant thankfulness. But because I am a human in a human situa-tion, I am meant to feel the pressure of things: therefore, if it is a great need, a life that desperately needs changing, for instance, I will be continually feeling the concern and burden; but I find my relief in the praise of faith, not in doubt-ing prayer. Part of the answer, indeed, will be coming through my concerned attitudes, for I am God’s feeling agent; but the difference will be between an attitude of negative unbelief which builds unbelief, or of positive faith which builds faith.
Doubts will continually recur, and unless we differentiate between the external doubts of the mind and the cen-tral faith of the heart, we get into diffi-culty. When Jesus said, "Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed…," He added "and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith."
He said, "shall not doubt in his heart," not his head. There is the differ-ence. Our reasons and emotions are what the Bible calls our soul, and they are the external means by which we express our true inner selves, which is our spirit. Our reasons express our inner knowledge; our emotions, our inner love. But both reason and emotion are open to influences from without as well as controlled from within, therefore they vary. We may think or feel one thing one moment, and another another; indeed, we are meant to, for that is our living contact with the world.
But in our spirits, our hearts, our fixed choices are made. That is where, spirit with Spirit, we are united with God. Now an act of faith is made there in our heart, our spirit. It is a free, defi-nite, fixed choice. We have confirmed it by our word of faith. Therefore, we do not move. But doubts will recur any time. That is normal in our contact with the world of appearances, which seems to run clean contrary to faith. If we have discerned between soul and spirit, and, therefore between the variable thoughts of our minds and the invariable, fixed choices of our hearts, we shall not accept false condemnation as if we were being shaken in our faith, and mistake doubts in the mind for "doubting in the heart." We shall merely replace the doubts by the reaffirmation of the faith. And if what we have trusted God for never seems to happen? Once we have moved over from our questionings and hesitations to what we understand to be His will and have spoken the word of faith concerning it, we never move back. It is not
faith in our faith, but faith in Him. We have trusted Him. It is now His business. Leave Him to mind His own business. Even if we are tempted to think we were mistaken in our guid-ance, leave Him to untie the knot: He has ways in which He brings us and all concerned to the total answer: "Yes, that’s it. That’s what we meant by our prayer of faith." If not in time, we shall see it in eternity. He that believes in Him shall never be confounded.
There is no telling how long that will take. There is the patience of faith, the warfare of faith, the walk of faith, all of which take place, not before we have believed, but as continuance in the believing. It may be, as Isaiah said in 40:31, we start with the lofty vision and wide sweep of eagle faith; we run with the youthful vigor and enthusiasm of expectancy; we slow down to a walk, when time passes and still what we look for has not happened; but it is still the persistent walk of faith.
How many years did Noah have to keep believing, as he built his huge ves-sel among the critical comments and lifted eyebrows of the cynics? How many years did Abraham and Sarah wait for the promised son? For how many years did that youthful dream of Joseph’s seem a ridiculous fantasy? But they each remained as fresh in faith as in those first eager days, and the proof was their immediate response of faith in action when the final summons came to take some action in the impossible.
I have found that my only real bat-tle all the time is the inner conquest of faith. If the devil through discourag-ing appearances can cut my faith life-line, even for a time, I am really under the weather. Though there are many deliverances of faith thankfully to point to, there are also deliverances for which I have waited for years and not seen yet. The point is the continual repetition of the walk of faith, and a walk is step by step.
To me, to repeat again, prayer con-cerning such matters is never a return to asking, but a constant thankfulness that what has not yet happened visibly, has in fact happened in the invisible. Blake wrote that we are led to believe a lie, when we see with, not through, the eye. Once I have been led into a faith trans-action, and the word spoken, I do not allow the devil to turn me back on myself to question my motives, as: Am I hindering God? or, Was I mistaken any-how in my believing? No, the matter is now wholly and only in God’s hands, and even if there was a mistake, or there are hindrances, I say they are "God’s mistakes," and we shall see the foolish-ness of God wiser than men.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 23 No 1
- Words to Live By-Difficult People
- Questions & Answers!
- To Believe is to Have
- Unproductive Faith
- What is an Intercessor?
- Pigmies are Giants
- Bible Study: Christ Praying As Us
- CD Talk
- Clear Guidance
- The Substance of Faith
- Mighty through God
- Strategy in Faith
- Editor’s Note
- A Faith Illustration
- Prayer and the Fourth Dimension