The Spirit of Faith
Duane Vander Klok
If you were to ask several Christians what faith is, you would probably hear responses like trust, confidence, assurance, or belief. All of these are true, but according to the Bible, there is more to faith than those words convey.
The psalmist demonstrated the spirit of faith to us when he wrote, “I believed, therefore I spoke…” (Psalms 116:10). Later, the Apostle Paul recalled those words and wrote, “Since we have the same spirit of faith…we also believe and therefore speak” (2 Corinthians 4:13). We can see from this that faith involves elements of believing and speaking.
Based on what Paul said, anyone who has faith – whether it is you, me or anyone else – has the same spirit of faith and it operates the same way for everyone. It has nothing to do with how old you are or how long you have been a believer. In fact, 1 Samuel 17 tells us that David had the spirit of faith when he was just a youth.
Faith Sees Victory
It is very easy to see the contrast between those who have the spirit of faith and those who do not by reading Numbers 13 and 14. There we see that Moses sent twelve spies – including Joshua and Caleb – into the Promised Land. For forty days those men traveled together and scouted the territory God promised them.
When they returned, they gave very different reports even though their physical eyes had seen exactly the same things. Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30), but ten of the spies banded together and said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we” (Numbers 13:31).
What was the difference? God said that Caleb had “a different spirit” (Numbers 14:24). That different spirit was the spirit of faith! Joshua also had the spirit of faith, and because of it, both he and Caleb were able to inherit the Promised Land. Those who did not have the spirit of faith were unable to enter in.
All twelve had observed the same things, but their perspectives were determined by what was inside them, not by what they saw. Likewise, you and I don’t see with our eyes, we see through them. Spiritually speaking, we “see” with our hearts, and anyone with the spirit of faith can “see” victory even before it is visible to others!
Faith Smells Victory
1 John 5:4 (NIV) tells us: “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” That sounds good, but what does it mean? Let me illustrate it with a story.
I once heard about a man who was taking a nap. As a joke, someone put a dab of smelly Limburger cheese on his mustache. When he woke up, he thought, “It really stinks in here.” He walked out into the living room, sniffed and thought, “It stinks in here, too.”
Knowing that his wife had just baked a pie, he went into the kitchen thinking it would smell better there, but it smelled just as bad! Trying to escape the odor, he went outdoors and inhaled deeply only to discover that it smelled just as bad outside as it did inside! To him, the whole world seemed to stink!
The spirit of faith is infinitely stronger than Limburger cheese. When you have the spirit of faith, the whole world smells like victory to you and you carry the scent of it everywhere you go. While one person looks at a problem and thinks there is no way out, you look at the same problem and say, “With God, I am well able to overcome it!”
The Arena of Faith
As long as you and I stay in faith, we are overcomers. The devil knows this and will try everything in his playbook to get us out of the arena of our faith.
I once saw a bicycle competition between ten athletes from a variety of sports. It was quite a sight! There they were at the starting line on identical bikes: a big, muscular NFL linebacker, a seven-foot tall NBA basketball player, a fit-looking golfer, and seven others including a small, meek-looking ping pong champion.
The starting gun went off, and the linebacker took off like a flash. He was way ahead of everyone for the first two hundred yards. It looked like he was sure to win, but then the basketball player and the golfer went by him. In time, everyone – including the ping pong player – passed him. By the end of the race, the football player barely managed to cross the finish line.
Neither you nor I would want to meet the linebacker on a football field, but on a bike, either of us could probably beat him! On the football field, he is a winner, but when he is outside his arena, he is not even a contender.
That is how it is for Christians. The devil will attempt to draw you into his arena so you focus on your circumstances, your past, your feelings or failures. He wants to face you anywhere except in the arena of your faith. He’ll say to you, “It looks to me like things are getting worse instead of better. It looks like you are going to go under.” But when you have the spirit of faith, you don’t let him lure you out of the arena of faith. Instead of believing the devil’s lies, you simply say to him, “I walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Faith Speaks Victory
In Mark 11:22-24, Jesus was teaching His disciples, and He told them, “Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; 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” (KJV).
According to Jesus, faith has two parts: believing and speaking. As He was describing faith, He didn’t just say, “This works for those who believe in their heart.” He said it works for “whosoever shall say…and shall not doubt in his heart.” Faith definitely requires believing, but it also involves speaking.
The mountain you are facing today needs to hear your voice, and it is not going to budge until you speak to it. Someone might say, ‘Well, I just believe that my mountain (my problem) comes from God. He sent it and is using it to keep me humble. He is using it to teach me or test me.” But, think about this: if God wanted you to have the mountain, why would Jesus have taught you how to move it?
You see, it is not up to God whether the mountain stays or leaves. Jesus said it will move for “whosoever shall say…and shall not doubt in his heart.” In other words, it is up to you. Maybe you have been waiting for God to move in a situation, but the truth is, He is waiting for you to speak to the mountain and tell it to move.
When you make popcorn, you put it in the microwave and turn it on high. At first, absolutely nothing appears to be happening but after a period of time, you’ll hear a “pop.” If you were to take it out of the microwave then, you would have one piece of popcorn and a lot of unpopped kernels. That is like someone who speaks to their mountain and waits. When very little seems to happen, they think “I’ve been confessing positive things for months, and this is all I get?”
Also, we shouldn’t say one thing in church but another in the car – or one thing to your church friends but another to your co-workers. That would be like turning the microwave on and off and on again. Instead, you need to keep your faith on high, consistently believing and speaking with a spirit of faith!
My prayer for you is: “that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:11-12).
(All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.)
Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15, NIV).