David Brandt Berg
People are such extremists. They think it’s all this way or that way. In the repair of electronic equipment we have knowledge up to a point, but because of a lack of skilled technicians who’ve had more training, when we have an abnormal case that is beyond our experience, we don’t hesitate to take it to the expert. Something beyond our experience, we have to take it to the expert.
I usually have more faith for those who are beyond the power and ability of man. The Lord Himself worked along this line when He was on earth. He made men do what they could do, made the people roll the stone away, made the man go wash in the Pool of Siloam. He did what they couldn’t do.
It’s all in how much faith you have. How much do you claim the promises? How many promises are you quoting? It’s just like you’d take a treatment or pills and have faith in the doctor for your physical healing. If you’ve got faith in God, you’re going to take the scriptural pills and follow the treatment He prescribes. You can’t say, “I’m trusting the doctor, but I won’t take his pills.” You have to follow through and obey whatever you’re putting your faith in. If it is the Lord, you quote and claim scriptures just like Jesus did. You stand on the Word!
Faith is something you have or you don’t have. It’s like being a little bit pregnant. There is no such thing! You either are or you aren’t. You have faith or you haven’t. That’s why Jesus said, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can move a whole mountain” (Matthew 17:20). Faith is something that is built by faithful study of God’s Word. Faith comes—it grows by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). It’s not a sudden boom. You can get sudden faith for certain things with sudden scriptures from the Lord. But you have that kind of faith because of a substantial background of faith and trusting God’s Word.
People who know the Lord’s healing have to get faith and healing for themselves directly from the Lord. Calling for the elders’ laying on of hands is a symbol of your faith and a witness to others (James 5:14–16). You can have faith for healing because you are obeying the calling for elders, etc., not that your faith is resting in the elders’ laying on of hands.
With God’s children who know Him personally and know His will and His Word, God expects them to touch Him personally, directly, not through somebody else’s faith or prayers or somebody else’s decision. That’s why God requires them to make the decision of faith themselves. Just like with salvation, nobody else can make the decision for you. You have to make the decision of faith yourself—take the step of faith yourself. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15), and you personally have to take the responsibility, not try to push it on others. If you have to shove responsibility on somebody else and you claim to have faith when you haven’t, that’s just plain damn pride.
One of the worst kinds of pride in the world is pretending to have faith when you haven’t got it—spiritual pride.
Most Christians can have faith under normal conditions for usual situations—what they expect God to do. But when everything goes wrong and seems contrary to the Word and the usual, only those with great faith can say with Job, “Even though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). What Job was saying was, “Even though it seems like God is breaking His own word with me, even though it seems like God has failed me, even though God kills me contrary to all His promises, I’ll still trust Him.”
You put God on the spot. He likes you to challenge Him to keep His Word. “Now, here, God, I’ve obeyed You. I’ve put myself on a limb and sawed it off. Now it’s up to You to take care of me.” But if you haven’t got that kind of faith, you’d better operate according to your faith.
Faith is knowing. You’re positive. You’re certain. You expect it beyond a shadow of a doubt. If you haven’t got that kind of faith and you’re not willing to literally die for it and take the responsibility of the decision yourself that “I’d rather die trusting,” then you’d better operate according to your faith.
In all cases, you have to be willing to die for your faith as a part of your witness—your final witness—whether you die for your faith as a martyr in preaching the Gospel, or whether you die for your faith in starving to death because you’ve forsaken all to follow Him, or whether you die daily in many tests and trials; that’s when you find out whether you have the faith or not!
Job didn’t know for sure he wasn’t going to die. By all indications, it looked like he was. And his friends as good as told him he was and that he didn’t have any faith. They as good as said he was dying because of his lack of faith. The fact was that God almost let him die to show what great faith he had.
It’s impossible to have faith unless you have the Word.—Faith that is contrary to all normal conditions, all natural expectations, above and beyond the call of duty, above and beyond the usual.
God doesn’t like forced faith—when you have no alternative, no choice, when you have to trust Him because there’s nothing else you can do. Most Christians can then trust God, because He’s all that is left. God likes the kind of faith that when there is a choice, when there is a decision, when there is an alternative, the great faith still chooses God in spite of the other possibilities.
It is impossible to have faith unless you have the Word.
Some people are looking for an excuse to do what they really want to do—quit. They are looking for somebody else to blame, somebody else to make the decision, somebody else to take the responsibility, instead of laying hold on the angel as Jacob did and refusing to let go until God blessed him, even though it crippled him and made a new man out of him, no longer a deceiver, liar, cheat and pretender—but a prince of God and a man who refused to let go until he got the blessing (Genesis 32:24–30).
That was Esau’s sin—he gave up too easily. He found out he didn’t have much faith. He despised his birthright and settled for something he could see and easily believe for, rather than something he couldn’t see and had to have great faith for (Genesis 25:29–34). Some people quit too soon. It is so easy to make excuses—legitimate, logical, reasonable, acceptable excuses why you couldn’t make it, why you shouldn’t be expected to make it—and in most cases most people will accept your excuses, because most people don’t have faith either, and in excusing you, they’re excusing themselves. But is God going to excuse you?
When you take a stand of faith, you usually have to take it alone with God. Most of the great decisions that I have made in my life as a leader have been lonely decisions where only I and God stood together, and the whole world seemed to stand against us. Sometimes including my family, even those I loved the most. They have been mountain peaks of decision, with nothing but thin air between me and the next peak, and I had to take that step alone, and trust God for the consequences, with no guarantee but God, no warranty but His Word—all other conditions being against it, all natural circumstances being opposed to it, the waves and the winds fighting against it—and all I had was the hand of God!
But He never let me down, even if He had to pick me up by that hand and lift me across to that next mountain peak, without any visible, natural, normal, logical, reasonable means of help. God says, “Serve Me, and I’ll keep you.” Man says, “It’s impossible! Tie up in port. Don’t attempt the impossible; you’ll sink.” God says, “Launch out into the deep. Cast thy nets and I’ll give you such a draft there’ll not be room enough to hold it. I’ll give you the biggest load you’ve ever had, when you were ready to sink without any load.” Man says, “Look at the waves! Look at the condition of your vessel. You can’t do it.” God says, “Look at Me! With man it is impossible; with God, nothing shall be impossible, and all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 10:27, 9:23).
But if someone does not take action and make a decision, willing to even stand alone in a stand of faith—if we are not willing to act by faith on what God has shown us, it might never happen. Somebody has to be willing to be the pioneer. Somebody has to be willing to take that first step of faith in that direction, to take the initiative because of the vision, and to take it alone, if need be, regardless of the cost.
“Prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord, and see if I will not pour out such a blessing that there will not be room enough to hold it” (Malachi 3:10). You don’t see the blessing yet. How do you know He’s going to pour it out? You’ve only got His Word for it—you’ve got to prove Him. You have to test it, to challenge God. You have to take a step in the direction He said to go, to find out what He’s going to do. Because if you don’t go, He can’t show. If you don’t obey, He can’t make a way. If by faith you don’t “be,” you’ll never “see”. For believing is seeing, in this business—in God’s business.
But some people weaken just before that final hour. The greatest darkness is just before dawn. The greatest desperation is just before salvation. The greatest hopelessness attacks just before rescue. Some people almost make it. Almost, but lost. If you could have held on one more breath, one more step, one more hour, one more day, you could have had glorious victory and a wonderful testimony. But you suffered all these things in vain, and you didn’t quite make it, and a “miss is as good as a mile.” May God forbid this ever has to be said to you! May God give us the faith and the willingness to make the choice alone, if need be, to make the decision on our own and to bear the full consequences ourselves, whatever they may be.
Faith is not something you can try to have. You either have it or you don’t. You have it because you’re full of the Word and the faith of God and you just know it and expect it. You cannot try to have faith. Faith isn’t something you work up or muster up by your own efforts and strength. Trying to have faith is a work of the flesh. Accepting faith through His Word is a work of God’s grace, like salvation. It’s free, it can only be received, but your works will show it.
If you have it, you won’t quit. You’ll be tempted to doubt, but you won’t doubt. The Devil will try to scare you, but you won’t fear. He’ll try to frighten you, but you won’t quail. He’ll try to bluff you, but you won’t retreat. He’ll try to bully you, but you won’t surrender.—Because you are willing to die trusting, you’re so sure of God. That’s the kind of faith that gets healing and works miracles.
“Every man must give an account of himself to God.” “What is it to thee? Follow thou Me” (Romans 14:12; John 21:22). We cannot hide behind others when it comes to our majesty of choice. We cannot push the responsibility upon others, when God is dealing with us personally.
God wants you to make your own choice according to your faith—not mine, not ours, not somebody else’s, but yours. God wants you to learn to trust Him personally, not lean on others. This is the time for your faith to come to the fore and for you to make your own decision, to see how much you trust God.
Faith is a dangerous game of life and death, not to be played with lightly. You either have it or you haven’t. Don’t try to fool anybody, or it may kill you—or you may change your mind at the last minute, showing that’s where your faith was all the time—that you were only trying to have faith you didn’t have.
“For without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to Him must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). In other words, you’ve really already got it by faith, and you don’t doubt it and you don’t change and you don’t run out on God at the last minute.
When it comes to the showdown, except for a few rare exceptions, such as children and spiritual babies, you must have faith for yourself. “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). If you are old enough to make the serious spiritual decisions of marriage and having babies, you are old enough to make the serious, sobering, life-and-death decisions of faith.
But if you cannot trust God for yourself, how are you going to inspire faith in others for themselves? Faith knows God will do it—and He does! The thought might cross your mind in temptation to doubt, but those of faith resist the Enemy and he flees from them; they give no place to the Evil One! (James 4:7; Ephesians 4:27). And they continue to trust without fail, that God will not fail.
Others figure they’ll jump off the uncertainty of God at the last minute and land on what they consider the certainty of the flesh, in case God fails them. They don’t burn their bridges behind them. They don’t sacrifice the plow and the oxen (1 Kings 19:21). They hold a little reservation in the back of their mind, of what they plan to do in case God doesn’t work. This is not faith.
Those whose faith is only a proud pretense will chicken out when the going gets rough and it looks like all is lost. They leap off the boat when they think it’s about to sink.
But the captives of faith would rather go down with the ship, if such be the will of God, knowing that God is able to raise it again, if need be.
Fair weather faith is no faith at all! Real faith endures the storm, even when it looks like you’re sinking. Real faith stands his ground when all else fails and all others desert, even if he has to do it alone. Real faith never quits, never gives up, never stops, and therefore can’t be stopped—for God is with such faith. Real faith will pay any price, suffer any sacrifice, die any death.
You cannot stop the man of faith. You cannot dissuade him. You cannot divert him. You cannot stop him. He’ll go on with or without you, or right over you, if necessary. “For this is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith” (1 John 5:4). If it comes to that, all he needs is God. With that kind of faith in God, you can go anywhere and do anything, for “all things are possible to him that believeth, but without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Mark 9:23; Hebrews 11:1).
Copyright © The Family International