These two pieces,
What is This Thing Called Faith? (immediately below)
and The First Move Is Yours
are representative of the type of essays in the Faithing section of Fifty Pieces.
They are meant to help give understanding of the true nature of
Biblical faith, and it's practical application. For more titles see the
Just so we have a clear idea of what this discussion is all
about, I'll tell you at the beginning. Then you'll know exactly
where I'm going and can relax. Here's the gestalt.
Faith results in the implantation of God's Life-Force, which
energizes us to the point of eternal life. Now let's get into
What faith was Jesus? Jesus' faith. Galations 2:16, 20;
Romans 3:3, plus Philippians 3:9 have to do with Jesus and
faith. But it's confusing because we say faith and we think
belief. Well let's see what Galations 2:16 says. It's really
Galations 2:16 says, "knowing that a man is not justified by
the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ." By the
faith of Jesus Christ. I'm justified by the faith of Jesus
Christ, is what that says. It even repeats a couple of lines
later. It says, "that we might be justified(saved, whatever), by
the faith of Christ." Well, what faith was Christ? Oh yeah, he
was uh....., a Methodist. See? Very confusing.
Romans 3:3. I think that's a good one. Romans 3:3. "For what if some did not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of God with out effect?" What faith is God? Hey, keep the faith, God! The faith of God. That doesn't make any sense, the faith of God. How can one go about making the faith of God without effect? I can't understand how to do that. Maybe something in our definition of faith is missing.
How are we going to find that out? We're going to have to do
a little bit of work. I'm sorry, but important stuff doesn't
come easy. We'll look in a concordance.
The main use of a concordance is finding a verse when you can
only think of a word or two. For instance, "I remember it says
about the 'faith of God' somewhere in the Bible. I wonder where
that was?" You look in your concordance for the word faith, and
go down the list until you find this phrase, "make the f. of God
without effect." Oh, there it is, Romans 3:3!
There's a huge book called "Strong's Concordance." This guy
named Strong went through the King James version of the Bible and
listed every, that's an absolute, EVERY word. In the King James
version. Every single word. Even the a's, the's and an's. Any
word that needed defining, is listed in a phrase, with the
location. As we just read, Romans 3:3 is listed. If you're
looking for the word faith, it says "make the f. of God without
effect." So we find a phrase there.
In the Strong's Concordance, we've got a number behind the
phrase. It tells you to go some place else. The number here for
faith is 4102. What does 4102 mean? In the back of Strong's
there is a dictionary for both the Hebrew and the Greek. The
number behind the word that's listed in the front, the 4102,
refers you to the Greek word used in the original. First is
listed the Greek word, then how it looks in English, how it's
pronounced, and any words form which it may have been derived.
Maybe it's a primary word, or derived from one.
This is the only book I know that gives you this research
capability. Young's Concordance is extensive, but too incomplete
to depend on. Also there seems to be a fair amount of
interpretation in some of the definitions I've seen.
Well, when we go to the back of Strong's for 4102, the word
is pistis in English letters. It's pronounced peece-teece. But
it comes from number 3982, which is listed there as persuasion.
It's defined a credence, or moral conviction. Especially
reliance upon Christ for salvation.
We want to keep track of two qualities as we look through
these words. We need to be aware of nouns and verbs. Persuasion
feels to me more nouny than verby, although I recognize the verb
quality. Reliance, on the other hand, has more of the verb in
But then, when we go below to the list of words that are used
to translate pistis, we find a lot of "nouns". Assurance. That
can be a noun. Belief, that feels real nouny. Believe, same
game. Faith, most folks I know use the word faith like a noun.
Fidelity you have to twist around into a verb, like you do
There's no indication of pistis being a noun or a verb, so
let's go back to the primary word, number 3982. Immediately we
find it's a primary verb. A primary verb. This word is called
pi, long i, tho, long o. It's spelled p-e-i-t-h-o and the first
syllable is accented. It's a primary verb, so the persuasion in
the definition of peitho is persuaded action. As the definition
for peitho, it says convince. To convince, by argument true or
false; to conciliate.
Now listen to how verby are these translated words. Agree.
That's a verb. You can't agree without doing something. Assure.
Another verb. Believe, we know that goes two ways. Have
confidence, that takes a little twisting to be a verb. Be
content. OK, I think I understand being passively active. Make
friend, that's obvious. Obey. There's another verb. Persuade,
another one. Trust, a little of the noun in there. Yield.
Lot's of verbs.
When we go back to Romans 3:3, we find that "the faith of
God" feels different. We can no longer sat, "the belief of God"
or "what faith is God?" We have to say, "What action of God?"
"Does their unbelief make the action of God without effect?"
Well, that makes a lot of sense. That makes perfect sense. Even
if I don't know what the action was, I have a clear idea of what
is meant and can ask, "What action?"
Get back into Galations 2:16, where it says, "Knowing that a
man is not justified by the works of the law, but by theaction
of Jesus Christ." I get that. I know what that means. I'm
justified by some action Jesus did. That makes a lot of sense.
What action was that? His crucifixion. "That we might be
justified by the faith of Christ." By the action of Christ. And
again in verse 20, "By the action of the Son of God, who loved me
and gave himself for me."
Let's take a quick look at Philippians 3:9. "And be found in
him, not having mine own righteousness, which is in the law, but
that which is through the faith of Christ." The action of
Christ. I get my righteousness through the action of Christ.
"The righteousness which is of God by faith." Oh, "the
righteousness which is of God." God's righteousness is by faith.
I get God's righteousness by acting. By faith. Action. It's an
action word, folks. How can I say that more clearly?
Put it this way. It's an act of conviction. You're
convinced God is real. It's an action based on something about
God. "He says, 'do this stuff,' I'll do it. I'm convinced He's
real, I'm going to do it."
Now here's another interesting thing that you can't find
unless you go to Strong's, to the original language. People who don't do any research, are empowering everyone but themselves.
When it comes to my soul, I'm not taking anyone's word for how to
get saved. I'm going to check up. If only to see if anything's
missing. Confirm these things for yourself. Do a little extra
work. Your soul's worth it, believe me.
The other interesting thing is the word believe. The word
for believe, believes, belief and all of it's cousins, in every
case in the New Testament, in the King James, comes from the
Greek word pisteuo. Does pisteuo sound familiar? That word
comes directly out of pistis. When you look it up in the back of
the book, it says from 4102. We just found out from where 4102
It's a verb. Believe is a verb. Just like faith. Every
time you see the word believe or faith in the New Testament just
cross it out with a pencil, and put the word action above it.
The text will start to make perfect sense.
Your action is what saves you. Your action. Hebrews 11 is
full of the heroes of faith. Hebrews chapter 11 goes down a long
list of people who God said, "These folks are worth looking at."
These people acted in faith. It's the only chapter in the Bible
that celebrates human accomplishments.
Saved by faith is what we are. Over and over in the New
Testament. Saved by faith.
Ephesians 2:8 is one of the more popular verses and says that
"we're saved by grace through faith." Saved by the grace, the
free gift of God, because of our action. Through some kind of
In 1 Peter 1:5, just so we don't stay with Paul, "faith unto
salvation," is the phrase that he uses. Faith unto salvation.
We get salvation through this thing called faith. Not belief.
Not belief, some action. "Some action unto salvation." Some
Romans 3:28 says that we're justified, looked at as just like
God, by faith. Romans 5:1 says the same thing. We're justified
by faith. Not by our belief, not by the beliefs we hold about
God, but by some way that we act.
Almost every time in the New Testament when Jesus heals
someone, he says, "your faith has made you whole." There's a
woman with an issue of blood. Twelve years she was bleeding.
She said, "Oh gosh, if I could just get out there and touch the
hem of His garment, I'd be healed." She wormed her way through
the crowd and touched the hem of His garment. He said, "Wait a
minute, I just felt some of my life-force leave. Who touched
me?" The apostles said, "With all this crowd, who can tell who
touched you? This hole gang around here, looks like a rock
concert or something."
Then there was the woman. What does he say to her? He says,
"Your faith has made you whole." And she was healed. If you
want to think belief, that's fine. But we know that faith is an
Listen to what it says in Jax 2:17. "And it came to pass
that there was a man of that town who was lame from his birth;
he could neither walk nor stand. And his neighbor," verse
eighteen, "came to him and said, He that heals is in the market
place. There he causes the blind to see, casts out devils and
cleanses lepers. And the man rejoiced to hear this, and praised
God. Straightway the man sat up in his bed and believed that
Jesus could make him whole." Verse twenty-one, "All that day and
the next the man sat in his bed and continued in his belief of
Jesus' healing power. And the town's people marvelled at the
man; for at the end of two years, still he sat in his bed
believing with all his heart." Verse twenty-three, "Some say he
is there yet." Pretty good for a made-up passage, huh?
That's where the woman would be too. She could have sat home
in the chair, and believed for the rest of her life that Jesus
could heal her. But if she didn't get out and DO it, nothing
would have happened. That's the point. The action of doing it,
based on her belief, is what healed her. Jesus didn't heal her.
It was her action that allowed the healing to take place. God is
all around us, at all times. Which means His healing energy is
around us at all times. When we act in faith, there's the
possibility we can get healed.
How does that really happen? What does it mean in practical terms? Scripture promises that when you act in faith, the Spirit of God is placed in your body. It's a real physical happening. Not just some notion, some mythical hope. It says repeatedly that the thing that saves you is this Spirit that comes into you. The Spirit comes into you when you act in faith.
Galations says that very clearly. That we get the promise of
the Spirit through faith. Through faith. Paul quotes faith as
being life-giving. "The just shall live by faith." It comes out
of the book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament. That's neat
because it crosses the line between the two books, and we get the
same exact definition of how to be saved.
He says, "The just shall live by faith." These people will
gain life; renewal is in there, too. When you go to the
original language, it's a life-giving force. They'll gain life.
They'll be renewed, restored, revitalized. That's all in there.
They get that through faith.
As I said, this happens with the implant of the Spirit.
Jesus went to his crucifixion based on God's word that He'd raise
him up in three days. He placed His Spirit back in the body, and
Jesus raised from the dead.
There are many verses outlining that the Spirit of God comes
and dwells inside you. Romans 8:9,10,11 says that the Spirit
will come and dwell in you. In Ephesians 3:17, the original
language is, Christ is "housed permanently." Christ is housed
permanently in your heart by faith. Christ is formed in your
heart by faith. When you act in trust, Christ is formed in your
heart. That's the in-dwelling-of-the-Spirit thing. You get the
Spirit of God when you act in faith. You won't hear that in many
churches around the country on Sunday morning.
Let me run through a quick gestalt of what this faith thing is. This is the A B C's of faith. It's a verb, so it's got to be an action. An Action, based on a Belief, continued in the face of all obstacles. Faith is an action based on some conviction of the Bible's veracity. That's where you'll go to find out that God says, "I'm the Lord that healeth thee." That's pretty good. If It's a healing God, that's for me. I want some healing. I've got things wrong with me. If He says He's a healing God, maybe I can act in faith based on that promise, and His Spirit will heal me. So I'm acting some way based on the conviction that what the Bible says about God is true.
The Bible is the only place I can be sure about what God has
said. I can go out and sit on the hill and look at the mountain
side, the clouds, the sky, the trees and hope that I figure out
something that God might have said. I believe there's some truth
in that. But the Bible is full of promises that God has made
that we can take advantage of.
The action that I do based on God's word is continued in the
face of obstacle. For this action God implants an appropriate
amount of Spirit, of Life-Force in our bodies; which precludes
us from any judgement, or wrath, or atonement because of our
What we deserve is death. That's what we deserve. We can't
be perfect. That's what sin is all about. It doesn't mean
you're this horribly bad person who goes around knifing teenagers
in alleys. Sin means that you can't do it perfectly. You miss
the mark. You fall short. That's all sin is: falling short.
God is very generic. He covers everything with this one
little concept. If you fall short of God's one-hundred-percent
perfection, then you're deserving of death, you don't get in.
Unless something happens to make you deserving of life, you die
forever, the Final Death.
But when you do this faith-act stuff, and the Spirit is put
in your body, that precludes you from any judgement, wrath or
atonement. You don't have to make up for the fact that you fall
short. You're saved. From what? Saved from death. That's what
it's about. Being saved from death.
That's what faith really is. Don't sit in the bed like out
believing sick man. Get up. Get into some kind of action. Find
something that God has said that fits whatever you have to do and
start to act as if those obstacles you see don't exist. I call
It'll not only get you where you want to be down here. It'll
get you where you want to be. Out there with God.
You've heard me talk a lot about Faithing. Maybe you wondered just what the heck that really was. Sure, you've heard me say that faith is an action word. It's an action based on God's Word. But how do I do that? If you're anything like me, you have a hard time picturing what you do when you Faithe.
I've heard the message of faithing hundreds of times. And talked about it to other people at least half that many. And still, I have this very vague feeling about it, somehow.
Well, in the course of trying to genericise faithing into some kind of universal "formula", I picked up a new slant on faithing that helped me clarify God's role in our faithing acts. That's what I want to tell you about.
The main point, is the title of this commentary. The first move is yours. Or as I usually say, "You gotta get out of the chair."
You see, one of the steps of this generic faithing formula is that we must take the first step in the process of making our goal a reality. Faithing is very like telling the future. Or better, acting like something was going to be true. Pretending sort of fits, but hints too much at fantasy. And faithing is definitely not a kids game.
Taking the first step is actually the third. First, is determining the goal by judging it against its Rightness, our Prudence, and it's Possibility. Secondly, we would ask God for His help by claiming which ever of His promises we thought we could use. Then, take the first step.
Now, to a person unfamiliar with this kind of thing, might come a feeling that God wouldn't help first. And one may end up way off the track in some argument about philosophy and God's love. And I can understand that on two levels.
One thing that comes to my mind right away is that God should be willing to give me a little help without me doing anything first. After all, I did ask. And besides, it's just a little bit fearful to stick my toe in before He tells me the water is fine.
Secondly, if I make all the first moves, how am I to know for sure that He's really there, and did help me? It looked like I was doing it on my own. "Well, mostly on my own. I did get a couple breaks; small ones."
I do agree that it's scary out there in faithing land. You just never know. Not for sure. Though that's one good indicator that you're faithing, and not just gritting your teeth and doing something by will alone. You see, when you're faithing you're putting your trust somewhere outside yourself. And when we do that we always feel a little risk. The risk is clearly indicated by our feeling of reluctance.
Well, if I'm scared, doesn't God see that? Shouldn't He have a little compassion? He does, and He does. The trouble doesn't lie with God's love, knowledge, or compassion, and definitely not His power. In a manner of speaking, He's just sitting there waiting to shower those things on me. But His hands are tied.
Let me take a side road for a minute. You see, whatever knowledge you have about something, God has infinitely more. Whatever goal you've set, God knows precisely the best way to reach that goal. If you want to build a house, God knows all the shortcuts that save time. You want to sharpen a knife, God knows just exactly how many strokes, and at what angle, because He knows the makeup of the steel, the temper of the blade, and even how many times you'll use that knife before the next time you get a chance to sharpen it.
The point is, that we know pitifully little about the things we do, compared to God.
No big deal. God doesn't care. I don't care. And if anybody really spent the time caring, they'd never get anything done. Mostly when we start out to do things we have enough knowledge to get the job done. Oh yeah, I make mistakes, but I don't make that many. And I try to go back and do things right on the big ones.
I guess the point is, that we could probably do it, but we could do it so much better if we had God's help. After all, it's free expert advice. "OK, that's what I'll do. I'll sit here and wait for God to tell me what to do first." See how silly that sounds. Why? 'Cuz in this context, that's not the way you take His advice.
Let's say you're building a box. Are you going to sit there until God goes and buys the lumber? You're certainly not going to sit home and wait for God to tell you to go get the wood! Now I think we're back on track. Remember I mentioned God's hands being tied. You see, it's your movement that unties God's hands. As a matter of fact, every time you stop moving toward your goal, you tie up God's hands again.
Here's an amusing example. There was a guy who kept praying for God to help him win the lottery. The man had legitimate reasons to deserve the money. He prayed and prayed. This went on a long time. Finally, God broke into his prayer one night and said, "Give me a break, will ya, BUY A TICKET!" There's no doubt that if you've determined some goal, that you can find more than one thing you could do first. You might draw a plan of the box before you buy the wood. 8
God also knows the weaknesses in your plan; besides knowing the best way to get the job done. He can give the little push that will seem like the lucky break that saved you so much time.
For instance, if you're a lousy planner and go to buy the wood first, you may just "happen" to hear the salesman talking about a free set of plans he just put on the display case. If you had tried to struggle with those plans, it may have taken you an extra days work.
Therein lies another key to faithing. Don't do the plans if there's something easier to accomplish. A basic order and organization is certainly necessary, but don't get locked in where it isn't important.
That concept leads directly into the next step in the faithing process. Listen! No, that's it. You must listen. As you progress toward you goal, you must be careful to listen for God's suggestions. He's that little voice in your head that sometimes gives you flashes of inspiration, or warnings that something weird got into the process and needs to be dealt with. You know, those times when later you've said, "I knew I was going to do that!" That voice is how you knew.
Anyway, God can only help with the stuff you're actually doing. It's an ongoing thing. Whenever you're doing, He's helping. I mean, what would you think if I was standing behind my car, and when I asked you to help me push it to the curb, I just stood there and waited 'till you started pushing. You wouldn't be helping, you'd be doing the whole thing.
Well, I've tried to weave the first four steps of faithing into this discussion so far: set a clear goal, ask God's help, do the first thing that feels good, and listen. I'd like to talk about the last three.
Tracking, Logging, and Thanks.
Listening and tracking are very similar. Listening is like sitting on the edge of your chair to make sure that one of those little suggestions from God doesn't get by unnoticed. Tracking, is more like keeping a running total of all the suggestions and coincidences and lucky breaks that popped up along the way.
Tracking is very important in reinforcing your awareness of God. When those "breaks" start to add up, we can see that things out of our control have been making our project easier. I know, coincidence is a very attractive and easy answer, but how many coincidences make a fact? And remember, we've already asked God to help. We can't say, "Please, God help me. Oh, that was just a lucky break."
How about logging? Personally, I like to keep a journal. Every day I write down the main activities. And any side comment that seems appropriate. Every one of those coincidences makes it into the book. It's a very positive way to build your faith in a hurry.
Finally, if you've done all of the above, I don't have to suggest that you thank God for helping get you to the point of the finished box. You've already done that. And you've thanked Him for all the bonuses along the way. Especially the one, where your neighbor Ed offered to pay you to build him two for his speaker system.
But gee, none of that would have happened if you were still sitting in the chair, maybe pouting, and waiting for God to make the first move. He can only help you do what you're doing. And who needs God to help them sit in a chair?
Don't sit there, faithe!