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Feed Your Faith
by Peter Wade
God's secrets of success are the only secrets that really have guaranteed results. Certainly there is help in the many success books, magazines, and tapes that are now available, but I believe God planned success for His people from the beginning of time. In Joshua 1:8 God said, "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." In my particular copy of the Bible I have underlined the two words "then", so that the guarantee stands out when I read that passage.
This promise of prosperity and success is clearly based upon knowing God's principles and acting upon them. To know these principles you must meditate in the Bible day and night, that is, constantly. Then you must act upon the rich, divine prospering ideas that God will give you. "You will make your way prosperous..." You will do the work, but God has guaranteed the success.
What is success? Success simply means the accomplishment of a goal, according to the Oxford Dictionary. It means that having determined on a course of action, you now recognise that the action has concluded. In the English language, you can have ill success if your action did not produce the planned results, or you can have good success if your action accomplished what was planned. What you need is "good success"; what you need are accomplishments that benefit yourself, your family, and your lifestyle. You want the accomplishment to be prosperous, to be affluent, for then there will be a flow of God's life in your affairs, and when you have that, you have good success.|
Having stated the principle so clearly to Joshua, God gave him two positive and two negative commands, followed by a partnership agreement unmatched in the commercial world. "Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). If Christians would really believe that God is always with them, there would be less striving and more relaxed living in God's flow of prosperity.
The truth of Joshua 1:8 is so important to your prosperity and success that I suggest you write it out on a small card and read it every day. Before long you will be able to quote it from memory and it will be deep in your consciousness as a motivating force.
So if you are ready, let's go on a journey of discovery to find and apply God's secrets of success.
Feed Your Faith
It has been said, "Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death." F.F. Bosworth, a great faith preacher some years ago, said that most Christians feed their bodies three hot meals a day, their spirits one cold snack a week, and then wonder why they are so weak in faith!
Success is not a one-sided deal, as if God would lead you to a tree that has dollar notes hanging from it, or as if God would tip a bucket of blessing out upon you. Success is a divine-human reciprocity, which means that both God and you have a part to play. God's part is guaranteed when you do your part, and one of the secrets you must apply is to Feed Your Faith, and starve your doubts!
Faith to get into the family
Romans chapter 10 tells us that we needed faith to get into the family. Verses 8 and 9 declare, "The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart (that is, the word of faith, which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Natural man cannot become a child of God unless he exercises faith. It follows that faith must be available to everybody.
I believe that faith is an action of the mind, and because God wants everybody to come into His family and enjoy the benefits of the family, then the key that turns the lock has to be available to everybody. All humans have the ability to believe. We board the aeroplane because we believe the pilot knows what he is doing, and we believe he knows where the airport to which he is going is located. If you didn't believe that, would you get on the plane? Everyday life is based on believing, on faith. It takes believing to get into God's family. It takes believing with the mind that God raised Jesus from the dead and confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord of our life.
Enjoy family benefits by faith
Faith is also necessary to enjoy the benefits of the family. In Hebrews 11:6 is a powerful statement: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." That is a tremendous verse of scripture--put a circle around it, memorise it. Faith is a very neccessary ingredient to enjoying God's success. By success I mean the successful accomplishment of a goal. If your need is healing, then success is enjoying full health. If your need is finance, then it is enjoying the full supply of your requirements. And if you are going to reach success in any field, you must exercise faith. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he who comes to God must believe that He is [that is, that He exists in the first place, and secondly], ...that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Since God has said that about faith, then it must be one of the important keys of success.
In II Corinthians 5:7 we are told that "we walk by faith, not by sight". How do we conduct ourselves in the Christian life? How do we make a success out of life? We walk by faith, and not by sight. Sight refers to the things you see around you: the circumstances, the pile of bills, the depressed economy. Our walk is not based on or motivated by those things. The circumstances do not control us--we should be controlling the circumstances. Paul said that he had "learnt to be independent of circumstances" (Philippians 4:11, Twentieth Century N.T.). If our walk is to be by faith, then we will need to spend time feeding that faith. Feed your Faith and your doubts will starve to death, for we walk by faith, not by sight.
There is another verse we should consider, Galatians 5:6. "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love." One of the rituals of the Jewish religion is circumcision, an act which the Gentile believers rejected. Paul is talking in this passage about the religious significance of circumcision. In Christ Jesus religion means nothing. Religion is made up of regulations, restrictions, and ritual. None of those things count for God. Perhaps this will surprise some people who go through the ritual every Sunday, who adhere to the restrictions, who straighten up their lives in line with the regulations. Yet the Bible states that these things count for nothing!
What does count? "Faith working through love." "Faith which is exercised by love", as some modern translations render it. The outward things of religion do not count in making my life a success--it is how I exercise my faith in God that makes the difference. Christianity is the way of a Father with His children. It is not a religion. Christianity works when faith is exercised by love.
There is yet one more verse I would like to share concerning the need for faith in enjoying the benefits of God's family. I John 5:4 declares, "And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith." We are going to overcome the circumstances in which we find ourselves, not by religion, not by education, but by exercising our faith in God. Put a circle around that verse and memorise it, "This is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith."
How to feed your faith
Now, how do we Feed our Faith and starve our doubts to death? We saw in Romans chapter 10 that we needed faith to get into the family. Now let us consider verse 17, 'so then faith comes by hearing... the word of God." You will not feed your faith by reading Reader's Digest, Napoleon Hill, or the weekend paper, nor even by watching TV. The Word of God is the only food for your faith. "Faith comes out of the word of Christ", to literally quote the Greek text. Faith comes by hearing the positive Word, that is, hearing to the end of understanding what it is saying to you. This verse does not imply that you will only get faith if you hear the word of God read out aloud. Certainly it does help--I have a set of cassettes of the New Testament, plus Psalms and Proverbs, that I often play when driving my car. That is just one way to input God's word. This verse goes beyond that stage, however, and speaks of taking notice of what God's Word is saying. "Faith comes out of hearing... the word of God."
Now since that is true, and since I want to make a success out of my life, I need to spend time reading the Bible; I need to concentrate on what God is saying to me. But you say, "I don't know where to start." Start somewhere like the Book of Ephesians. Start in the Book of Acts, perhaps, and read some of the faith adventures of the early church, or start reading the Gospels and discover what God is really like. The Bible is full of passages that you can read and from which you can profit. Even if you can only read one verse a day, do it! I often say, a verse a day keeps the Devil away! You need to Feed your Faith and a good way is to start with some programme of daily reading of the Word of God. In many of the success books we are told to rub shoulders with those who are positive and prosperous. We are told not to spend our time reading about the world's failures, but to read about the world's great successes. In the same way, we must spend time "rubbing shoulders" with God by reading His positive Word, because only God has guaranteed the secrets of success.
Using the faith you have
In Luke 17:5 the disciples said to Jesus, "Increase our faith." They obviously felt a need. The interesting thing to me about this verse is that Jesus did not tell them how to increase their faith. What did He say? "If you have faith as [the size of] a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you" (verse 6). Does that tell them how to increase their faith? No. Just because the disciples asked the Lord to increase their faith, does not mean that faith can be increased. Every person, the Bible says, has received a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). And since God is no respecter of persons, then we all have the same amount of faith. Robert Schuller, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, all have the same amount of faith that you have.
What is the difference between you and them? Exactly what Jesus says here, "If you used just a little bit of faith, like the very small mustard seed, you could say to that whole tree, `Get up out of there and go and be planted somewhere else', and it would do it!"
In a similar passage in Mark chapter 11, the illustration of a mountain is used. "Whoever says to this mountain, `Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says" (verse 23). But what do most Christians want? They want faith the size of a mountain before they will tackle a mustard-seed challenge!
When Jesus answered the disciples' request in Luke 17, He did not say to them, "This is how you can have more faith and accomplish what you want to do." He said in effect, "Use the faith that you already have. If you would only use a little faith, you could do marvellous, miraculous things." And then He continued in verse 7,
"And [a conjunction linking verses 6 and 7] which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, `Come at once and sit down to eat'? But will he not rather say to him, `Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink?' Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not" (verses 7-9). What is Jesus saying here? Faith is to be our servant, and the reason a person has a servant is that they need someone to serve. A servant is not just for decoration; a servant is there to serve! Since you have faith, you should employ it, keep it busy, like you do a servant. It is there to serve you, whenever you command it to serve. Do not get over-excited because it works, for that is what it is there to do. Do not think a miracle has happened just because you have seen your faith work. God programmed it to work. It would be a miracle if your faith did not work!
Not only do we need to Feed our Faith, we must use it. In that respect, it is very much like a muscle in the human body. Strap your arm up in a sling, leave it there for a month, and see how much use you have left in that arm. It is not going to be strong enough to carry very much. You probably would have some movement there, but it will be weak. Exercise your faith in God--it will work. Jesus said, "Get out there, and use your faith. Even if it is only just a little faith the size of a mustard seed, it can start moving some of those mountains out of your life, it can start moving some of those trees that are blocking your path." A servant must serve and faith is your best servant, and it will help you to make a success out of life.
No wonder God said to Joshua that he should meditate in the Word of God day and night, and observe to do all that is written concerning his life. Only then could Joshua make his way prosperous, and only then would he have good success. Make it a daily habit to Feed your Faith, and enjoy the success God has planned for your life.
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