David P. Sanzo
Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).
By hearing the Word of God, we receive the ability to hear the voice of His Spirit. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). So speak, and hear, the Word of God.
You hear words, as well as speak them. Our faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. If our ears are open to hear what the Spirit has to say, we can receive faith. For faith only comes by our hearing. Jude said that our faith is built up as we pray in the Spirit (v.20). When we pray in the Spirit, we do not only speak, but listen. Prayer is conversation with God, who loves us and speaks to us personally.
The fact that prayer is not a monologue, but a dialogue, is revelation. To the agnostic, even speaking to God directly is unfathomable. To say that God could talk back might send him shouting from the room. He lacks the proper context or background to understand how this can be.
The Word of God gives us the context as to how we can relate to God: it teaches us who God is, that we can come to know Him, and pray to Him. Furthermore, it teaches us how to pray, and how to listen to God.
We receive hearing by the Word of God. The Word of God helps us to “hear” from God. When we expose ourselves to the Word of God, we can receive hearing. When we have hearing, we can receive faith.
Jesus told His followers to “Take heed what ye hear: and unto you that hear shall more be given” (Mark 4:24). Jesus had been talking about the mystery of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11-12). He told them that none of the manifestations of His kingdom would be hidden from them (Mark 4:22).
Then He told them to focus on what they were hearing. He said in verse 23, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” We are to pay attention to what we are hearing when we hear the Word of God.
I want to focus on what I am hearing. Moreover, if I do hear, then more is promised to me: “Unto you that hear shall more be given” (Mark 4:24). The fullness of blessings comes to those who hear. Through our hearing, we come to know God better. The more we know Him, the more we love Him, and want to serve Him. We find out how to serve Him, asking Him to reveal His will for our lives.
We must know the will of God, if we want to apply our faith to it. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). When we know the Word of God, we begin to discern the will of God, and faith becomes activated in us. The Word of God tunes our spiritual ear to hear the voice of God. Hearing the voice of God, in turn, activates the faith of God working in us.
The Lord will use His Word to teach us the principles on which His kingdom operates. Then He will speak to us personally, by the voice of His Spirit; through others obediently speaking what they hear Him saying to you; and through circumstances that show, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that He is indeed with you. Within our lifetime, God gives each of us enough opportunities to get to know Him, if we are willing to look for Him.
Speaking Faith When You Have No Faith
In Ezekiel 37:1-10, the prophet tells of a vision he had, where the hand of the Lord carried him to a valley that was full of dry bones. The Lord took him on a tour of the valley, so that he could see how bad the situation truly was. He noticed that, not only were the bones dissembled from each other, but that they were also very dry. Those to whom the bones belonged had been dead for a long time.
The Lord asked him if the bones could live. Ezekiel replied that only God knew the answer to that question. Ezekiel was having a problem summing up his faith: he could not affirm that it was even possible for these bones to live. Regardless, he knew better than to say that it could not be done. He simply told God, “You know.”
The Lord then instructed him to prophesy to the bones so that they would live. Ezekiel did as he was commanded. While he prophesied, Scripture tells us that “there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone” (v.7). Even after this happened, the miracle did not stop there.
The prophet reported that while he was watching, sinews and flesh came on the bones. In addition, skin covered them. Despite all d this, Ezekiel observed that “there was no breath in them” (v.8). They were now simply a bunch of dead corpses. The valley was now filled with dead men.
This was progress from its prior state of being a valley of dry bones. Nevertheless, it was not of true profit. Ezekiel had obeyed. Yet, although he could not deny that some things did happen, he did not see a yield of profitable fruit.
Sometimes, we cannot deny that God has done something, but it seems like He does things that do not, to our way of seeing, result in fruit of any value. In a sense, our valley of dry bones has been turned into a valley of dead bodies.
Yet, this is not the time to condemn something as not being a work of God, nor the time to give up. What we need to do is see if God is saying anything else. He may not be finished yet. When He is finished, we will have fruit that is valuable. There will be “profit.”
Speak to the Wind
Next, God ordered Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind. He was to prophesy that it would come, and breathe on the slain, that they would live. When he obeyed, the valley of dead corpses rose up to become a tremendously great army.
We notice that even though Ezekiel could not initially muster the faith to say that it was possible for the dry, separated bones to live, he obeyed God’s command regardless (even if he could not see it). In other words, in spite of his own lack of faith, he still prophesied. He spoke the words the Lord gave him to speak, and the miracle happened.
We could learn a lesson or two in the operation of faith from Ezekiel. There may be times when we do not feel faith being active in our lives. But if God tells us to do something, the results will follow if we will obey.
If things do not turn out quite as gloriously as we had planned, we need to wait for God to speak again (and thus obey His voice again). If we do, we will see His great glory manifested. Place your faith in the God of faith, and watch the results.
Ezekiel did what he could, which was to prophesy. Then God undertook and did what He alone could do. God has a way of working in spite of our weaknesses. What is more, He will do it, if we are only willing to obey Him.
I was in a service at a conference once, where the Holy Ghost began to move mightily. Indeed, the whole congregation, of about 20,000 people, broke out spontaneously in uninterrupted praise for over two hours, without any prodding from musicians, singers, or preachers. No one uttered a single word into the sound system to encourage any of this. They were waiting to introduce the speaker for the night.
I was sitting about halfway up in the balcony, praising God, while a number of people gathered in the altar area. After about 45 minutes of worship, I felt the Lord nudge me to go down to the altar area to pray for someone. At this point, I had no idea for whom I was to pray.
When I reached the altar area, the place was crowded. It was so crowded that you could not take a step without needing a person or two to move out of the way to make space for you. Even that was difficult, however, because there was no place for them to move.
After a moment, though, it seemed as if the crowd parted in front of me so that I could pass through it. No one had any idea who I was or why I was there. For that matter, I did not know what I was to do there. I was simply one of many. So there was no reason to make room especially for me. God was simply making a way so that I could get to the one for whom He desired me to pray.
When I came to the end of the path that had been made for me, there was a woman in a wheelchair. There were two or three men around her, praying for her. I had no intentions of interrupting their act of faith. I just began to pray with them.
Immediately, they opened up and allowed me direct access to her. For a moment’s time, we prayed for a miracle, and then they lifted her out of the chair. She still was not standing on her own power. They had to hold her up.
In another moment, she was able to stand on her own power. At this point, I noticed that we had become the center of attention of some of the people standing around us. Feeling a little self-conscious, I managed to find a way to slip away.
I worked my way to the other end of the altar area. Along the way I prayed for several other people (two of whom received the gift of the Holy Ghost for the first time). When I reached the end, the Lord spoke to me to go back to the lady who had been in the wheelchair, and tell her to “dance before the Lord.”
Once again, there immediately opened up before me a path to walk through the crowd. Once again, it led me to the lady, who was now standing on her own power attempting to take a step. And once again, without their even knowing that I was a preacher, they opened up for me to pray for her.
When I reached her, I spoke rather softly to her in her ear (considering the noise of praise going up). I told her, “Dance before the Lord.” God said, “Say it again.” So I said it again. He said, “Say it again.” So I said it yet again.
The more I said it, the more confident I became. The more confident I became, the louder I said it. The louder I said it, the better I felt. The better I felt, the more I said it. You can see the spiral effect of this, and understand that it wasn’t long before I was shouting at the top of my lungs, “Dance before the Lord! Dance before the Lord!”
Well, she began to dance. The miracle had happened. God had healed her completely; she could walk. In fact, she could do better than that, she could dance!
This time the crowd around us, watching what God was doing, had grown considerably. I have to confess that again I became self-conscious. So, rather than stay and try to claim the “spiritual credit” for what God had just wrought, with His power, I slipped away. I knew that God wanted the glory for it.
The next time I saw that lady was about five or ten minutes later. She was up on stage, dancing before the Lord with another preacher (Brother Teklemeriam), and demonstrating what God had done for her.
Now I know that I was not the only person praying for her that night. There was great faith in action that night. I simply told this story from my perspective.
Here was a case where I did as I was told, and God did a work. The first work did not seem so profitable. But God was not finished yet. He said to speak a second time. Then He finished the work.
Use Your Measure
Romans 12:3 says that God has given to every man the measure of faith. We often read this as if it said “a measure of faith.” Thus, we take it to mean that every individual has a different amount of faith given to him. But the Word says “the measure of faith.”
It is not a question of how much faith you have. Rather, it is a matter of utilizing the faith that has been measured to you (“making the most of what you have”). Faith has been given to each of us. Jesus said,
If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you (Matthew 17:20).
An old song, about a little bit of faith, said that we did not need a whole lot of faith, we just needed to use what we did have.
Now, you can use the faith that God has dealt to you to produce life, or you can use it to work death and destruction. You can use it in a positive way (the operation of faith) to obtain benefits or you can use it in a negative way (the operation of fear) and suffer the consequences.
Faith Versus Fear
Both faith and fear will produce: faith produces benefits, fear produces torment. We ought to have the kind of faith that excludes fear.
How do we get this kind of faith? Follow this progression closely: faith will activate God; God responds to faith (as opposed to need); faith works by love (Galatians 5:6); love is of God (I John 4:7); God is love (I John 4:8, 16); perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18). So where there is faith, fear will not remain, for it will be cast out.
The apostle John wrote that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (I John 4:18). So there is no fear in God, for God is love. He that dwells in love, dwells in God (I John 4:16). So if you are living in fear, then you are not dwelling in God. God is love, and there is no fear in love.
On the other hand, fear likewise will produce its results. Whereas faith activates God, fear activates the enemy of our souls. Thus, fear brings torment (I John 4:18). Fear will produce death, bondage, misery, and sickness when it is allowed to operate freely.
In a crude sense, faith gives God the authority to act on our behalf, and to work in our lives. Fear empowers the devil to work in our lives.
Those who live with fear do not know peace. They are tormented every time fear is at work. They are tormented to their destruction.
Our God has not given us the spirit of fear, but rather the opposite spirit: He has given us the spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7).
Faith activates the Spirit of God, who is also known as “the God of peace” (Philippians 4:9), “the Lord of peace” (II Thessalonians 3:16), and, “the Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Where the Spirit of God is at work, there will be peace.
We need not worry about fear: as long as we keep our minds on Him, He will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3); the abundance of our thoughts, heart, and spirit will be filled with Him.
Are You Praying in Faith or Fear?
I have noticed that the Bible does not mention the “prayer of fear.” However, it does refer to the “prayer of faith” (James 5:15). The prayer of faith will bring results.
Sometimes we do not receive answers to prayers, because we are praying in fear, when we should be praying in faith. We hear about a particular problem and, in fear, we turn to God, because we are afraid. But we should always be ready to turn to God.
In Matthew 14, we recount the disciples’ memorable encounter with Jesus walking on the water. After hours of rowing throughout the night, the disciples looked and saw Jesus coming to them. They thought it was a spirit.
Then the writer tells us that they cried out for fear. Jesus responded by telling them to be of good cheer. Although they heard His voice and received comfort from it, they still were not able to participate in the supernatural, because they were not using their faith. They received comfort, but did not yet receive a miracle.
Then Peter decided that he wanted to walk on the water. He asked Jesus to let him do so, and of course, Jesus told him to come. As long as Peter decided to exercise his faith, he was able to participate in the supernatural. But when he lived in fear, he could not do what Jesus was doing.
When we are moved by fear, we may receive comfort from God because He loves us, but we will not be able to participate in God’s supernatural plan for us. On the other hand, when we respond with faith, we open the door to all that God has for us supernaturally.
If our faith in God is limited by circumstances, we will believe, but that belief will not express itself in power. We may as well sit tight in the boat, where it is comfortable, safe, never taking the risk of stepping out in faith. In that case, we might ask, “what kind of faith is it?”
Check Your Love Level
Faith that cracks under pressure is certainly not the kind the Lord had in mind; He did not become man, spending all that time with us, for that feeble result. Jesus answers this question when He said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (v.31). Is it any wonder, after the resurrection, that Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him? (John 21:15-17)
There is a connection between faith and love. It is known as hope, or trust. The three are linked, mentioned together in I Corinthians 13:13: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
We are not called just to have faith, but to love what we believe. We are to receive “the love of the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:10). That is why God gave us the gospel, for in it we find the strength to move in trust from one level of belief to another, or “from faith to faith,” all the while increasing in the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16-17).
Upon the death of Jairus’ daughter, Jesus said that he was not to fear, because fear is useless, what is needed is trust (Mark 5:36; Luke 8:50). Imperfect belief, or the lack of trust, is also why Jesus scolded Thomas, when He appeared to the apostles in the upper room, telling him not to persist in his faithlessness, but to believe (John 20:27). If he really loved Jesus at that moment, he would not have doubted Him, for love “believeth all things” (I Corinthians 13:7).
Our faith will have results if we walk in perfect love, without fear. For fear indicates a defect or inability to love. When we truly love Someone, we trust Him. We do what He asks, without doubting His ability to complete a work, once He has begun it (Philippians 1:6).
Galatians 5:6 says that faith works by love. To the degree that love is at work, faith will be at work also. If you want the operation of perfect faith in your life, then operate perfect love.
When you have that perfect love, you will have the perfected faith you seek. We ought to ask why we do not see, in our western world, the great results of the operation of faith, while certain other countries do. Perhaps the answer lies in obtaining a more perfected love.
Kinsey has stated, “The fragrance of true faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior must prevail in our lives, and we will express that faith by showing love to all the saints. If the love is not present, the profession of faith is a lie. Faith and love are interdependent.”
To operate the faith of God, release the love of God.
This article “Using Your Faith” was taken from “The Key to the Kingdom” by David P. Sanzo and may be used for study & research purposes only.