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Richard Bennett :: Chapter 5 The Faith Factor

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Food for Faith — Chapter 5

The Faith Factor


  My faith has found a resting
place, Not in device nor creed:
I trust the Ever living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
Salvation through His blood.

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that he died for me.


—Lidie H. Edmunds


Picture in your mind a man confronted with the task of crossing a turbulent river to reach his friend on the other side. He has no boat; just a kite, and several pieces of string, each one a little stronger than the previous one until the final piece is as strong as a rope. Using the thinnest string, the man flies his kite and maneuvers it so that it will land in the hands of his friend on the other side of the river. To the original kite string, he now attaches the next stronger piece, and then an even stronger piece until the rope itself has been stretched across the impassable river. After the rope has been tied to a tree on both sides, the man is then able to safely cross the river to reach his friend.

As a born-again child of God, you have already placed your faith in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ as God’s loving substitute for your sins. But as you begin to read the Bible, your faith may be just as weak as that first piece of string—but even that was enough to maintain contact with the kite as it crossed the river! However, since faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17 NKJV), you will discover that as you continue to read God’s Word and lay hold of His precious promises, your faith will grow stronger. God purposes that each of His children be strong in faith, which presupposes a close, ‘together’ relationship between the child of God and his Heavenly Father.

In the Bible, Jude records just how necessary it is to build upon that initial foundation of saving faith: But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith… (Jude 20 NKJV).

The Amplified Bible transliterates the idea this way:

But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher] praying in the Holy Spirit; guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)—[which will bring you] unto life eternal… And on some have mercy who waver and doubt. [Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality (Jude 20-23 AMP).

These verses stress that on the sure foundation of saving faith we are to build ourselves up spiritually (i.e., to mature and reinforce our faith) by developing a life of prayer; love; living hope; active compassion and earnest soul-winning.

Even as your salvation was received as a free gift through faith, so too, when by faith you appropriate the all-sufficient life of the risen Lord, you will be controlled by the indwelling Christ. Yes, the just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17 NKJV; Galatians 3:11 NKJV; Hebrews 10:38 NKJV). Whether in Heaven or while you are still on earth, you must live by faith—live by trusting God and His promises, and by being available for Him to do His work through you. Even when you get to Heaven, your faith will be the avenue whereby you will gladly and gratefully rejoice in God’s eternal purposes of love, which will go far beyond anything your redeemed mind will ever be able to comprehend.

While you are still on earth, genuine faith must be constantly dependent on the Lord Jesus Christ to do in you, and through you, what you could never otherwise accomplish. As God’s children, it is imperative for each one of us to grow in faith; we must learn to increasingly depend upon the Giver of Life and the Designer of our daily walk.

Too often, however, we resort to our human reasoning, which would endeavor to substitute any number of things for genuine faith. Our human independence will try to replace faith with enthusiastic, even sacrificial service for the Lord. Yet, true living faith is not necessarily evidenced by the Christian’s loyalty to a program, by his commitment to a preacher, or even by his dedication to acquiring comprehensive knowledge of the contents of the Bible. Though such commitments can sometimes reflect genuine faith, they can also be used, intentionally or unintentionally, as a deadly, self-driven substitute for dynamic and personal faith.

True faith is directly related to our expectant dependence upon the risen Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, many Christians think they can succeed in life by using their talents, or by employing their manipulative personalities, or even by depending on the resources in their bank account; but the Bible clearly tells us that as born-again believers, in order to succeed, our lives must be controlled by the Holy Spirit. If we do not exercise dependent faith in God, the Scriptures declare that all of our work that we so foolishly substitute for His enabling power will eventually be lost. Our effectiveness as Christians will not be determined by how enthusiastic we are in what we do ourselves, but whether or not true faith has been the motivating source of all our activities.

Anything in your life apart from God’s love that gives you a sense of security or significance—be it your money, or your education, or your friends, or your power, or your job, or even your physical appearance—is an indication that you are not living by faith. Your only true security and significance in life must be found in your God and your Redeemer. If you do not so live by faith during your earthly pilgrimage, you will have been deprived of the continual joy of God’s presence in your life and of His ministry of love through you. For whatever is not from faith is sin (Romans 14:23 NKJV).

Truly, G. Keith expressed his understanding of the importance of feeding on God’s Word to stimulate faith when he wrote:

  How firm a foundation,
Ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith
In His excellent Word.


—G. Keith

Without the Voice of God realized in our hearts and lives, there can be no foundation for spiritual growth, and there can be no mortar for this foundation unless we follow the divine plan for spending time alone with the Savior, together with Him in intimate communion and fellowship.

Faith is the dynamic that generates living fellowship with God.

A number of years ago I remember speaking on the theme of revival to some one hundred pastors in the United Kingdom. God had been working among us with great power and heart-searching. Leading into a time of public prayer, one pastor rose to his feet, and with heart-stirred brokenness and watery eyes prayed something like this: “O God, I confess that so often when I have previously led in prayer before these brethren, I have been more conscious of them and of sound theology than of Your Holy Presence…”

Our hearts are so deceptive that even when we pray, it is possible that we are hiding behind our own words rather than sincerely attempting to expose our true hearts needs before our Father in Heaven. To recite a prayer, or to ‘say our prayers,’ does not necessarily mean that we truly pray. And only when our hearts are openly attuned to Him in the transparency of His eternal light and holiness does our Lord receive divine pleasure from our time of fellowship.

It is an awesome thought to think that a needy sinner could bring any sense of satisfaction to a Holy God. But the Bible tells us that God created mankind for that very purpose: to bring glory to Himself. Whether we like it or not, each one of us exists for the glory of a Holy God!

That you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him (Colossians 1:10 NKJV) was the earnest desire of the apostle Paul for the Church at Colossae. Bishop Handley Moule translated the phrase fully pleasing as being “unto every anticipation of His will.” That is probably what we mean when we say ‘please yourself’. By this expression we convey our desire for the preference of the will of another before our own will.

To try to please ourselves rather than to seek to please our God will mean that we are destined to stub our toes on every rock, knock our head against every wall and trip over every obstacle along the pathway of life. But what joy there is in the heart of every believer, and in the heart of God Himself, when the child of God communes with his Creator in the transparent light of His glory and love!

The Bible helpfully reveals that there is a definite connection between ‘faith’ and ‘pleasing God’. The negative grammatical structure in which the following verse is written makes the connection between faith and pleasing God even more emphatic: But without faith it is impossible to please Him… This verse then shifts into a positive statement which surely brings great encouragement to every genuine believer. It tells us that ‘fellowship’ with God results in ‘rewards’ from God:… for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV).

The spiritual rewards that God graciously bestows upon the person who lives in intimate fellowship with his Savior and Lord are utterly inexpressible; they can only be understood when personally experienced. And the key to living fellowship with God, which will bring Him pleasure and His children great joy, is faith.

Yes, faith is the vehicle through which the Holy Spirit relays the victory of the risen Lord to the child of God.

As we have noted, it is quite possible, sad to say, for us to be exposed to the promises of God, either through listening to a preacher or by reading God’s Word, and still find it is of no spiritual profit: but the Word… did not profit them, not being mixed with faith (Hebrews 4:2 NKJV).

Only as the Word of God is stirred down from the head to the heart with the mixing spoon of faith, will the reading of God’s Word become profitable. It is at that point that the Holy Spirit applies the enabling grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to our lives, so that we are able to grasp each opportunity to serve the Lord, and so that we will prove His enabling power to face every problem of life.

One thing is certain, however; every true believer will experience days of severe trial and temptation. Satan himself will constantly use ‘the world’ with its enticing overtures to deflect us from a life of day-by-day fellowship with our Lord. Nothing is more heinous to Satan than the child of God who is in vital communion with his Redeemer and Lord. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Evil One will go to any length to estrange born-again Christians from their Creator in order to keep them from experiencing faith-building Together Times.

To the spiritually-naive person, the material world appears to be the only reality of life. But just the opposite is true; in fact, it is the spiritual world that embraces ultimate reality. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:16 KJV). Because people are so easily deceived, the devil has little difficulty employing his dastardly devices to seduce the Christian.

The Bible tells us that we are tempted through the lust of the flesh (pleasure without responsibility); the lust of the eyes (possessions without responsibility); and the pride of life (power without responsibility). Satan knows all the tricks of interfering with what God has planned for us; he will do anything to keep us from being together with our Lord. The Wicked One knows that when we are in such intimate contact with our God we will grow spiritually and thereby bring our Heavenly Father increased pleasure.

The Lust of the Flesh: It is through today’s blatantly immoral world, which is so obviously saturated with sexual pollution, that Satan incites the lustful appetite of the flesh. Our enemy finds ready access to the lives of people who are absorbed with the sensual, the physical and the material. However, those who have been deceived by Satan’s evil suggestions all too soon find that the bubble of sin’s pleasure has burst leaving nothing but a sense of emptiness and shame!

The Lust of the Eyes: If we are attracted by the slick world of commercialism and if we envy what other people possess, Satan is able to make his cruel advances. The Great Deceiver whispers, “If only you had a new watch, an acre of land, or a bigger home, you would be happy.” But because:… man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4 NKJV), we soon discover, after having indulged ourselves in our latest whims, that our new acquisitions bring us no lasting satisfaction.

The Pride of Life: The door for Satan’s destructive maneuvers is also opened wide by our arrogance, egotism and false sense of self-sufficiency. God hates pride in any form!

After all, having confidence in our own ability to control our destiny is the opposite of faith—for faith is confidence in the Lord Jesus. And as we have already noted God has said that the only answer to the pride of life is to: humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord (James 4:10 NKJV). Humbly acknowledging your dependence upon Almighty God is the one way you can close the door to Satan when he subtly suggests that you are self-sufficient. And your dependence—which is faith—will give you victory for: this is the victory that has overcome the world even our faith (1 John 5:4 KJV).

But, before you can fully enter into the victory of overcoming-faith (when Satan approaches you through all that is in the world), it is also important for you to learn a lesson that the Lord Jesus taught His disciples. He warned them of yet another great hindrance to genuine faith. How can you believe, Jesus asked, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God (John 5:44 NKJV) ? In these words the Lord Jesus solemnly pointed out to His disciples that faith will never co-exist with a subtle desire to receive the praise and adulation of other people. And it is approbation lust that is a big problem to many Christian people. However, the approval of a Christ-rejecting society is no mark of genuine Christian discipleship.

When you enjoy your daily Together Time, your faith will grow. Then later when you face the testings and opportunities of life, you will know how to exercise that vibrant and overcoming-faith.

Spiritual Check-up


  1. In my daily activities, do I enjoy a faith that functions?
  2. Do I see a problem in every opportunity or an opportunity, to prove the sufficiency of Christ, in every problem?
  3. Do I want God’s cause to advance or is it my desire to advance His cause myself?
  4. Is my life panic-proof because I reflect a day-by-day dependence upon the Lord?

Chapter 4 Together Time ← Prior Section
Chapter 6 Time to Tell Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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