by Emily Rose Massey
(photo curtesy of http://www.catholicismusa.com)
Several months ago, I completed a spiritual gifts assessment through LifeWay Christian Resources. My top gift was the gift of Faith (I scored a 100% on all the statements regarding Faith).
Definition of the Gift of Faith via Spritualgiftstest.com:
"The gift of faith is rooted in one’s saving faith in Christ and the trust that comes through a close relationship with the Savior. Those with this gift have a trust and confidence in God that allows them to live boldly for Him and manifest that faith in mighty ways."
I wasn’t totally surprised by this, as many people have made mention of how strong my faith is, especially during difficult seasons that many may be crushed by.
I’ve experienced God’s faithfulness in so many ways- blessings with divine appointments/opportunities, financial wisdom, and amazingly divine provision…can someone say “checks in the mail unexpectedly?!"- yes, manna does still fall from the sky, my friends!) that my only response is to believe Him.
But I sense that many believers don’t truly take the time to believe God- to trust Him at His Word.
Instead of waiting on His direction, they take matters into their own hands and rely on their own strength, abilities, and intellect, especially in the area of decision-making and moving into new seasons or in new directions.
I’ve been guilty of this, especially as a goal-oriented and driven person.
My persistence has helped me achieve many of my goals, but there have also been times where my pushing persistence has pushed me right off of the path of God’s best for me.
All of a sudden, I found myself out of the perfect will of God very quickly all because I didn’t take the time to inquire of the Lord before I took a step towards what I called "the desires of my heart."
Let's look at the life of King David...
Any time David faced a situation where he had a decision to make, he sought out the counsel of God.
He was totally capable (the Bible calls him an anointed king) of making the decisions on his own regarding war strategies and ruling his kingdom and moving out on those decisions. He was a very skilled warrior and a mighty leader and king over Israel, yet he still relied on the Lord’s direction before he ever made a move.
Here are two passages in the Bible that David inquired of the Lord regarding the same situation:
1 Samuel 23:1-3“Then they told David, ‘Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they are robbing the threshing floors.’” The Philistines had besieged Keilah, a fortified city within Judah’s borders (Josh. 15:21,44). “Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I go and attack these Philistines?’” As anointed king, David considered himself Israel’s protector. The apostate King Saul had neglected the public safety, but David loved his country and desired to free it from its enemies. Yet he would not act without first seeking the Lord’s counsel. Though he was busy hiding from Saul, he thought of Keilah’s welfare.
“And the LORD said to David, ‘Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.’” The Lord responded immediately to David’s inquiry, and promised that David would save Keilah. But David’s 600 men said to him, “We are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” This presented a real problem to David: If his men were unwilling to follow him, how could he save the besieged city? His men were afraid of being caught between the Philistines and Saul’s army. Unlike David their eyes were not on God, but on their difficult circumstances.
1 Samuel 23:4-5“Then David inquired of the LORD once again.” David was not paralyzed by the fear of his men. He knew that God, who had said fight the Philistines and save Keilah, could easily make his men willing to follow him. David did not rebuke his warriors, but he turned once more to Jehovah. “And the LORD answered and said, ‘Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.’” The Lord did not ignore David’s second inquiry. He not only responded to David’s request, but gave an answer which was even more explicit than the first. Motivated by God’s divine promise, David and his followers conquered the Philistines, saved Keilah and took their cattle for much-needed food.”
Now, by all means, I do not imply that we are not to lift a finger and just wait for God to do all the work- that would be sheer laziness! He's given us the gifts, abilities, and brains to accomplish His will in the earth, so I know He wants us to use them for His glory!
But I am implying that we should include God in our “game-plan,” like King David did.
There is a reason the Bible calls David “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). David longed to be in the will of God at all times.
So what does all of this have to do with the gift of faith?
Well, I’m so glad you asked! :)
You've heard "Faith without works is dead." This comes from the book of James in the Bible.
I LOVE how the Message translation reads...
James 2:24-26 The Message (MSG)
21-24 Wasn’t our ancestor Abraham “made right with God by works” when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar? Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? The full meaning of “believe” in the Scripture sentence, “Abraham believed God and was set right with God,” includes his action. It’s that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named “God’s friend.” Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?
25-26 The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse."
People like David, Abraham, and Rahab (and me) who have been given a strong gift of faith (the gift to have trust and confidence in God that allows them to live boldly for Him and manifest that faith in mighty ways) should never be looked at as lazy for simply believing and trusting that God will give us direction, provision, or divine intervention before we move.
Those with the gift of faith don’t like to “kick down doors,” but aren’t afraid to persistently knock or wait for another door to open (if the Lord gives them instruction to).
Believing for God to provide or make a way is a strong foundation for my prayers regarding decision-making or new seasons/directions and the fuel to wait for His instruction or answer. Once He answers (whether with specific guidance, divine appointments/opportunities, finances, provision, etc), I know, like David, to DO all that I can in the abilities, anointing, talent, finances, intelligence, etc that God has given me.
Don't assume those who are believing God to come on the scene to help aren't willing to do the work along side of Him.
I do the possible, and trust that God will be working behind the scenes doing the impossible.
"That seamless unity of believing and doing.."