Yesterday I pondered with you the “key” or secret to seeing Freedom, realizing it in full, and remaining and growing in it. I suggested that the key was faith. In specific, the faith that it is true that you have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer you who lives, but Him. He is more, you are less.
If you’re like me, “faith” can be really fuzzy. We hear it thrown around a lot, and sometimes, even as almost this nebulous toss away statement that yet is supposed to be a game-over trump card, like, “you just gotta have faith.” What does that mean? Is faith different from belief? What is Jesus calling us to when He repeatedly asks us to “believe?” I’ve wrestled with these myself, and in searching for understanding around Freedom, this became a massive stumbling block that required revelation to move beyond.
So what is faith, then? As critical as it is – the key as we’ve said – how do we define it and act upon it?
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
We are given this in Scripture, of course, but how do we receive this? Faith comes first by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, and by this, I do not mean the Bible only. Jesus Himself supplies our faith. Receiving faith, then, is itself an act of agreement with what God has done (“It is finished.”) and is doing (opening eyes to this reality). We act upon a spiritual sense from Another Place, depending upon the Tree of Life.
It is a knowing, even when we don’t know.
Jesus seems to use faith and belief interchangeably, and often, in Scripture. He is both seen rebuking for a lack of faith/belief, and rejoicing for a demonstration of faith/belief. Interestingly, it was usually those who were not presently following Him that exhibited this faith. It was the outcast, the blind, the beggar, the bleeding, the sick, the lame, the lost, the orphan, and the poor. Those closest to Jesus struggled with belief, even though they were the ones who saw His Glory up close and in person.
Nevertheless, Jesus stated that belief was the only requirement of the Father – that “we would believe in Him whom He has sent.”
If you study the words faith, faithfulness, believe and belief as used throughout Scripture, you will find that at its core, faith and belief are this…
The Lord is Faithful. He is Trustworthy in all He is and does. He has firm adherence to steadfast devotion to us. He is uncompromising in His faithfulness, and we can trust, and have reliance upon that, and Him.
Our faith, then, is firm adherence to steadfast devotion to God. We uncompromisingly trust and rely upon Him. We trust that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. Of this we have assurance and confidence, no matter our circumstances.
Faith and belief in this way define relationship. Freedom is not a religion; it is relationship of Love with Father, Son and Spirit. A marriage cannot be healthy, cannot be Free where Trust is lacking. It is the same in our eternal relationship with the Triune God. Trust lives in the intersection of God’s unswerving commitment to us, and our unswerving commitment to Him.
Faith is less something you can do, and more a trust posture to die into.
Did you ever play the “Trust Game” as a kid? This is the one where you stand, back to a “trusted friend” and without looking or bracing yourself, fall backwards and “Trust” that they are going to catch you. You can “believe” all you want in your mind that this person is indeed standing behind you, and will keep you from hurting yourself. But letting go and falling back? That’s Belief, Faith in action. Trust is knowing all the bad things that could happen – they are not trustworthy at all, they may drop you, what if they are not looking, etc. etc. – and falling backwards anyways. The difference is that God never drops you. He is always looking. He is Trustworthy.
Faith then, is – knowing all the intellectual, emotional, physical, rational, etc. reasons not to believe – and trusting God anyway. Freedom is in walking through the questioning and doubting of your faith, of God, of Spiritual things – finding God in the midst of these – and trusting to walk with Him through them to the other side, with faith. God can handle your doubt and fears and questions. In fact, He desires to enter into those with you. It is there that you will find Him unswerving in His steadfast devotion, and belief is built.
As you’re picturing this “Trust Game,” visualize the body posture you would normally take to fall backward. Upright, erect, arms outstretched to the side. Remind you of anything? This is how the body hangs on a Cross.
To Trust is to die. To Trust is to fall; to be crucified and buried. To Trust then, yields resurrection, and new Life.
The bottom line is that we all “believe” in something, or someone. This is true for natural, as well as Spiritual things. If you are alive, you have belief, whether you acknowledge it or not. The remaining question then is if your belief is counterfeit, or True. Freedom is a reality of being that requires faith that it is True. If you are in Christ (and all are), you are Free – you just may not be Living Free because your belief is pointed in the wrong direction, at the wrong things. It is unbelief. Faith does not make you Free (Grace did that), but lack of Faith will keep you from realizing that Freedom. Only in pointing our faith, belief and trust toward Jesus and His finished work on our behalf, for our deliverance, is the reality of Freedom fully uncovered for us.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Freedom.”
This is true, whether you realize it, or believe it or not. A “free” man can walk into a jail cell and close and lock the door behind him if he wants, but this does not change the nature of his being “free.” Was Peter Free as he sat shackled in the cell of a dungeon? He was. When you can see beyond your physical, temporal circumstances into the eternal realities of the things of God, you see Freedom. If you are in the Lord, His Spirit is in you, and where His Spirit is, so too is Freedom. Freedom, then, is within you. Faith is seeing this.
Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”
Belief is the key that lifts the veil from your eyes so that you can “see.”
When we “walk by faith, not by sight,” we see not with our natural, fallen, fleshly eyes – but with the eyes of our heart. We see as the Lord sees. We see, therefore we Overcome. We see, therefore are Free. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. He is simultaneously both the Beginning, and the End. We cannot fathom this with natural eyes. But with vision, His vision, we see the beginning from the end. The end includes you, friend, Free and seated with Him in glory. Freedom in Life now, then, is appropriating, by faith, that reality as truth, now.
How can one expose a counterfeit object of belief? Only by a revelation of Christ. When He is beheld in His glory, when we are looking for and seeing Truth, the lies and deception of the counterfeit pales in comparison.
If faith is how we walk, then sight, natural sight, is the opposite of how we are to walk. Where we see in the flesh, we doubt, we worry, we fear. Physical sight is opposed to spiritual seeing, which is faith. Physical sight yields fear, which is the opposite of faith.
Want to pray a glorious prayer, that the Lord will answer (and by answer, I mean, show you that He already has)?
Lord, shut my natural eyes and seeing. Open my spiritual eyes and seeing.”
The heroes of faith in the Bible were not heroes just because of what they did. They were heroes of faith, heroes because of what they believed. They ultimately, despite seeing and rationalizing all the negative outcomes that were possible, and without knowing how or why, placed their trust in the Lord. In doing so, they exercised faith; they put Love in action, and were proven Free.
You have the same hero capability in you that they did. They were no different. They had nothing more than you have, and in some cases, had less, as the Holy Spirit was not yet indwelling for them. What they had was faith, and they received it and exercised it. Faith works by Love. These heroes received Love, and responded to Him.
Do likewise. Be a hero. Be Free.
The key to Freedom is within you by faith. Faith is walking out Love along The Path. Belief, the kind that yields Freedom, cannot share its affection. We often want to make belief, and following Jesus down The Path about us. When we do this, our gaze is on the wrong person. We must look up from ourselves and ahead toward Him. Freedom is where surrender sets its eyes on Him to whom we are submitted. Freedom is lived from in increasing proportions when you can move from knowing what you believe, to knowing why you believe, to finally know WHOM you believe – and never looking up from Him.
My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.”
He is the Author of that faith. He is the Perfecter of that faith. Fix your eyes, know WHOM, and be Free.
What do you think? Comment below.
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