I think most of us would like to be in better physical shape these days. Unfortunately, we don’t have the patience necessary, in building ourselves up to how we want to look. It sometimes takes years to get out of shape. And now, we want ”six-pack abs” instead of a ‘beer-belly’ in a few months. A physical trainer will tell you that you have to start with a foundation; a place to sart from. Exercising gradually first before you can advance to lifting heavier weights. Try bench pressing two-hundred pounds without bulding yourself up with ten-pound weights first. You will have to be constantly building on the foundation before you see the results wanted.
FAITH is the FOUNDATION
Turn with me to II Peter 1:5-7, and we will look together at the clues found in developing your FAITH.
Verse 5, “For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), Verse 6, And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), Verse 7, And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.”
I think you are understanding how important exercise is in your development of FAITH in II Peter. So, if you are having difficulty in the area of developing “self-control”, verse 5 says, you are probably NOT [exercising] knowledge in God’s Word. If you don’t have any development problems listed in verses 5-7, my next blog should be about “How to cast out lying demons”. I am just kidding.
Turn next to the Old Testament and look at a verse in the Book of Psalms 11:3, regarding the importance of foundation building.
“If the FOUNDATIONS are destroyed, what can the righteous do, or what has He [the Righteous One] wrought or accomplish?”
FAITH is the FOUNDATION or baseline, and by adding the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT to your faith, you will begin to see results. “POWER” can be defined as, “the ability to get results”. Faith is the connector in accessing the POWER, as much as physical exercise is the connector to your physical development.
How does FAITH come?
I want to demonstrate the “excercise of knowledge” in God’s Word while answering that question. Turn back into the New Covenant or Testament, and look at Romans 10.
Verse 17 says, “So FAITH comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).”
FAITH then comes from the Word of God; NO Word…NO Faith! There isn’t any “BUTS” included! I’ll say it again: NO Word…NO Faith!
The Word can be delivered in two ways:
The Rehma Word. The Word is “implanted” by God-Holy Spirit.
The Logos Word. The written Word.
How does that work? God can speak a (“Rehma“) word to you from the written (“Logos“) word. The written Word always goes with the spoken Word. JESUS asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” “Some say…” “BUT who do you say I am, Peter?” And Peter’s answer, “The Son of the living God“. Pete’s answer didn’t come from his head knowledge; it came from the “Rehma” Word of the Father.
Another example I explored in my detective work this week was found in the Book of Acts. It’s the Apostle Paul’s testimony of who he was before he met Jesus and where he had been before the experience on his journey to Damascus. I found this illustration of The “Rehma” Word and underlined the “implanted” Word each time I came across them. Turn to Acts 22, and read the entire chapter first, then go back and underline or list your findings. Verse 7, “…and heard a voice saying to me,…” I will give you some key verses, to help you along. Verses 8, 9, 10, 18, 21; Did you find any other references? Remember, you are now “exercising“!
In II Peter 1:5, I read in the Amplified Version of the Scripture, where we are to “employ every effort” in our “exercising” of our FAITH. In The New Roger’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form, the word “employ” means, “adopt, utilize, apply (use); engage, hire, place (situation).” FAITH has to have “employment” with LOVE, for FAITH to produce results. LOVE has to “hire, utilize, engage” FAITH before we can see results. Remember the illustration of LOVE being the curtain rod and FAITH as the curtain hooks. EVERYTHING hangs on the LOVE rod and is connected to the hooks of FAITH. If LOVE falls, along with Faith on the ground, everything else will fall too.
Who can use (apply) FAITH?
Jesus gives us the answer to that question in the written word (“Logos“).
Mark 11:23, “Truly I tell you, WHOEVER says…and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.”
It is revealed that the “whoever’s” can use FAITH; and the who so ever is the one “seeking” JESUS.
In the 1970’s in Southern California, I sang with a Country Gospel Trio, by the name of “The Fischerman’s Trio”. We sang all over, at different churches in the area and at Men’s and Women’s Retreats at Forrest Home Camp. Of all the songs we sang, I had my personal favorite which was “Learning to Lean“. It was originally written and made popular by The Blackwood Brothers years before. The chorus went something like this: “Learning to lean, learning to lean I’m learning to lean on Jesus. Finding more power than I’ve ever dreamed, I’m learning to lean on Jesus.” Hebrews 4, discusses the theme of this song in more detail.
Verse 2 says, “For indeed we have had glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; BUT the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).“
The “whoever’s” are the people who have the word preached to them AND who are benefited by mixing it with faith [with the “leaning on Jesus” personality]. There are always seems to be “BUTS” in our exercising. “BUT I am too tired to exercise today“ or “BUT I have others things to do this morning. I can’t read in my Bible. God understands my predicament“.
How can you block the “BUTS” in your life?
Ephesians 6:16, 23 “Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].” “Peace be to the brethren, and LOVE JOINED WITH FAITH, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One].”
If you have the “shield of faith” lifted up over you, the “brethren”; that’s us doing the lifting, will be protected from the “BUTS” or excuses we use. God is as free with “faith giving” as He is with “love giving”. You just need to apply the “receiving” aspect.