Prov 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
2 Cor 5:7 “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” (KJV) “For we live by believing and not by seeing.” (NLT)
Pastor Michael is terrified of open heights. If there’s a chance of slipping off of an open edge or a railing, he wants nothing to do with it. Enclosed, he’s okay, an airplane is fine or inside of an office building.
He started a new job 10 weeks ago, testing fire alarm systems. He’s been testing hospitals recently. To test one of the alarms, he has to climb a fixed access ladder, which goes up about 25-30 feet, then going onto a catwalk. A safety cage around the ladder didn’t make him feel any better. He had three options, ask his crew leader to remotely activate the device (frowned upon because it’s not actually testing the device), ask the crew leader to climb the ladder for him, or just climb the ladder himself. After a brief mental battle, he chose option three. In order to be successful in this job, he needed to push past his comfort zone. He alternated each rung and prayed, quoted Scripture, and tried not to look down. At the 3/4 mark, he looked down and froze. No one would come to his rescue. Does he go back down? What would happen if he doesn’t finish the climb? What did he have to lose by giving up? What did he have to gain if he finished the climb? He climbed the ladder, got onto the catwalk and tested the device. Victory! Then, he realized something very important, he had to get back down. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, praying, quoting Scripture, and began the climb downward. He made it to the bottom.
His faith was tested. Fear and anxiety were tested. He had to push past that in order to do his job. So it is in your walk with God. You’ve got to push past your fear and anxiety and walk in faith with God. If you can’t push past your flesh, God will find someone else. He wants to use you, though. You’ve got to push past yourself and your limits.
Has your faith been tested recently? How did you handle it? How much faith do you have?
Rom 12:3 “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
You can build on your faith or stop using it. You’ve got to exercise your faith or it will atrophy.
Jesus had a conversation with a Roman centurion. This man trusted Jesus to heal his servant even from a distance.
Luke 7:2-9 “At that time the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death. 3 When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his slave. 4 So they earnestly begged Jesus to help the man. ‘If anyone deserves your help, he does,’ they said, 5 ‘for he loves the Jewish people and even built a synagogue for us.’ 6 So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, ‘Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. 7 I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 8 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.’ 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’ 10 And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.”
This man had great faith.
How can you have great faith? What does that look like?
Peter had little faith.
Mat 14:28-31 “Then Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’ 29 ‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’”
Another time, all Jesus’ disciples were on a boat when a storm came up.
Luke 8:24-25 “The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. 25 Then he asked them, ‘Where is your faith?’ The disciples were terrified and amazed. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!’”
Why do you sometimes doubt God? How can you change your thinking so that you don’t doubt?
Logic is faith’s worst enemy. It is the opposite of faith. Overthinking is a bad idea. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, many people believed Jesus could heal. The woman with the issue of blood was healed because of her faith. Jesus said over and over again, ‘Your faith has made you well.’ Their faith was properly placed. Jesus physically healed and forgave sins. It was a complete restoration. It was a result of faith in the right place.
Level of faith and placement of faith taken together enables you to ‘faith forward’. What you can’t see can impact what you can see.
Heb 11:1,3,6 “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” 3 “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” 6 “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
What is your level of faith and what do you place your faith in? Does that need to change?
David’s faith enabled him to fight an enemy that terrified better, more experienced warriors (Goliath). The faith of the three Hebrew boys protected them from the flames. The Apostles’ faith allowed them to complete the work of Jesus even in the face of torture and death.
These are all people who could ‘faith forward.’ Take faith today as an action. Let it empower you to do something. If you’re ready to faith forward, mountains will move, lost loved ones will be saved, miracles will happen, diseases will be healed. If you are willing to ‘faith forward’ when no one else will, broken hearts will be mended, broken homes will be healed and set right, bonds of addictions will be broken, and hope will be renewed. Resurrection and Restoration are possible through faith forward. The promises of God will be fulfilled in your life. Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists will rise up and souls will be reached and new disciples will be created and lives will be forever changed.
Are you willing? Will you take that first step? Even though solid ground is not beneath your feet, will you trust anyway?
This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Michael Lagle.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.
If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!