Many sincere Christians are clinging to a deadly kind of faith.
I wonder if there is a more disputed, a more misunderstood subject in Christianity than Faith. Perhaps Grace and Law may be a more discussed and more disagreed on subject, but Faith is certainly the most important and the most consequential of ununderstood and misunderstood subjects among Christians. Because wrong understanding of grace and law will not keep a person from the Kingdom of God, but without faith no one will enter the presence of God.
‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him’ Heb 11:6
Faith is the one of the three greatest and absolutely required qualities in a Christian. Cor 13:13 Which is why Satan has taken extra efforts to sow confusion among God’s people over this subject.
Let’s consider faith from the viewpoint of various people who think they have faith.
I will start with the teachings of an internationally known preacher and founder of a worldwide church, from whom I received my basic understandings of the Bible. He stands first among all my spiritual teachers. But, sadly, he is also the man who stands first among the teachers of serious doctrinal errors. He wrote a book on this subject titled ‘What is Faith’. This preacher died 30 years ago, but the heavy legacy of his teaching on faith – and its closely related subject, healing – continues to affect tens of thousands of Christians to this day. His doctrine of faith is very similar to what millions of believers in Pentecostal, Evangelical, and many other denominations believe in.
Faith, according to this church founder, is the absolute belief that something you asked for from God is on its way, or has been answered, even if you cannot see any evidence of it – if God has promised it in his Word.
To give a practical example, if a man has cancer of his lungs, and he is ready to believe what the Bible says – and the Bible certainly says that God heals the sick – he should ask God for healing. And then, he should ensure he does not allow doubt to creep into his mind. Even if he feels and sees the cancer galloping through his body, he should rest assured he is already healed and act and think as if the cancerous tissues have disappeared from his lungs. To quote from his publication:
‘Once you have received the possession, you no longer hope for it. But even before you receive it, you have it in substance; and that substance—that assurance that you shall possess it—is faith.
Then again, faith is an evidence—the “evidence of things not seen.” Faith precedes the actual receiving of what you ask for. And faith is the evidence you shall have it, before you even see it. It is the evidence of things not yet seen. You do not have it. You do not see it, or feel it—yet faith is your evidence that you have, or shall have it. Faith is the substance—the assurance—of receiving that which you still hope for…
Now suppose you ask God to heal you. Naturally, you want some evidence that you are going to be healed. So what is that evidence, that proof? Is it the evidence of the pain ceasing—or the swelling going down—something you can feel, and see? I know a man who said, “When I can see anyone healed by direct prayer, then I’ll believe in it.” This man said he wanted to believe in it—he wanted to have faith in it! He was looking for an evidence that he could see—and he died without ever seeing it!’
What Is Faith’ by Herbert W. Armstrong; originally published by the Worldwide Church of God, and now published by Philadelphia Church of God; also available free on several websites.
That teaching sounds very authoritative and Biblical. But I know of people, including those in the very church of this preacher, who applied this kind of faith and died miserable deaths. I know of others who, when the evidence they believed turned out to be the very opposite in reality, became so disgruntled with God that they quit their ministry and turned against God.
Before I pass on to you what the Holy Spirit has taught me about faith, let me give you one more example of the erroneous – and dangerous – teaching on this subject, from the same book I mentioned above.
‘Set over the affairs of the province of Babylon were Daniel’s three young Jewish friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. One of the commandments of God’s eternal spiritual law forbids such worship of images…But these three young Jews knew the truth—that we should obey God rather than men, that through faith God makes it possible. When they firmly refused to bow down to worship the king’s image, Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded they be brought before him (Dan 3:13).
Listen to the quiet, trusting, unafraid answer of these lads. “O Nebuchadnezzar … our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace”! (verses 16-18).
Sometimes God tries our faith. He tried theirs. You might think He failed them, but He only permitted their faith to be tested.
“Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him”!
There was an example of living faith – a faith that trusted God to make it possible to live the way of His law! Yes, with God, it is possible to keep all His Commandments – don’t let any man deceive you to the contrary!’
So, according to this preacher, because these three young men applied faith – faith that was the evidence that they were already protected, even though their physical eyes were showing they were being flung into the furnace – they were delivered from being burnt alive in the flames.
I wonder what kind of faith another servant of God, whose whole life had been totally devoted to preaching Christ and caring for lepers, was applying when he and his two sons were burned to death when their vehicle was set alight by Hindu mobsters in a village in India. Maybe he didn’t have enough of the faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to be rescued from the flames. If you havent yet, read the story of Graham Staines online, and what his widow teaches about faith.
The awesome immortal story of the three young men who were cast into a furnace made seven times hotter, is a favorite with preachers trying to explain what true faith is. In a book published by a different church, another preacher, also a famed one, narrated the same story when he wrote about faith, and quoted the same passage from Daniel chapter 3. The coincidence is that, in both the publications the authors end the quote with the following verse:
‘If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.’
But interestingly, the next verse was not quoted in either of the books. Here are the two verses together:
If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Dan 3:17-18 (Emphasis mine]
Those three words, ‘But if not’ are the most important words in the whole story about the faith of those three youths of God. Those three words is the absolute quintessence of what true faith is. Those three words is what every servant of God should preach to God’s people about faith.
But before I tell you about the faith encapsulated in those three words, let me mention two cases where faith, as taught in the above referred booklets, was applied for deliverance. In the first case, it relates to a senior evangelist in the church founded by the first preacher I mentioned, the author of ‘What Is Faith’. The second relates to a prominent pastor who served in another church and who lived by this kind of faith.
The senior evangelist was one of the prominent ministers in the church, which had congregations in many countries, and his name was wellknown to the members around the world. This church did not approve of its members going to doctors. (But they could go to the dentist. They could have dental work done, but for some unexplained reason the other parts of the body were considered more sacred and off limits for doctors.)
Well, this evangelist and his wife were faithful, unquestioning members of the church. Then his wife became ill, and of course, she refused medical treatment because she was a ‘true believer’. By the time her husband realized things were not working as she and he had believed, and tried to get medical help, it was too late. She died at the age of 54. And she was not the first one in the church. Several others like her had died earlier because they refused medical attention.
This evangelist then began to question the teachings of the church, and did his own exploration of the faith doctrine from the Bible. He came to the shocking realization that he had been tragically wrong. Of course, he couldn’t go far in disputing this doctrine with the church’s top leadership, for he was soon disfellowshipped for questioning the teachings of the founder. He lost his wife, he lost his church, he lost all he had believed in his life till then.
His story is just one of the many, many tragedies happening in God’s churches around the world today in every nation, all because of a wrong understanding of faith.
Those three words, ‘But if not’ are the most important words in the whole story about the faith of those three youths of God. Those three words is the absolute quintessence of what true faith is.
The second true story is just as tragic.
In his article, When Cliches Don’t Work, Christian writer Steven Brown recounts his visit to a man who had been one of his ‘heroes’ and a friend. This friend had been the pastor of large churches, an author of some note and a famous evangelical leader. Steven Brown went to visit him because he had just been told that he was dying of cancer.
When he saw his friend, he saw no ‘hero’, but the tragic figure of a man who was “broken, bitter and without any hope”. The pastor who had been encouraging his large congregations Sunday after Sunday with messages of faith, hope and love, now lay dying and embittered, without hope and without faith, and without much of his old fervent love for God either.
What does your faith do to you when all the props that had been steadily holding up your security structure fall together; when you have had every dream you had been excitedly clinging to shattered and every desire you had been cherishing taken away; when you are left with absolutely no more hope, no more years left for this life?
This, child of God, is when you know with absolute certainty if you have true faith or not, and whether the teachings you have received from your church or spiritual leader are wholly based on a correct understanding of God’s Word, or not.
The faith in the two cases I mentioned above ended with the tragic death of the believers. I don’t mean just physical death. I mean also the destruction of the believers’ convictions, their assurance, their sense of security, their happiness, and worst of all, their relationship with God. Everything goes down in the abyss of despair and hopelessness when believed-in faith is revealed to be baseless.
So what is the true faith that always delivers, that never fails?
Please keep it foremost in your mind, Bible believer, that faith is NOT primarily the granting of petitions and desires you made to God. That is the most elementary understanding of faith, but which many of the most senior of God’s servants think is the complete understanding of it. This elementary understanding is based on various promises in the Bible. Here are the most well-known verses relating to God answering our prayers and granting us our desires:
‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.’’ Ps 37:4
‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.’ Mat 7:7
‘If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!’ Mat 7:11
‘Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’ Mark 11:24
‘So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.’ Luke 11:9
‘If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.’ John 14:14
‘If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.’ John 15:7
‘And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.’ John 16:23
‘Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.’ John 16:24
‘And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.’ 1 John 3:22
It is absolutely clear to even a little child that these promises mean that God will grant us what we desire and ask him for in faith. Now the little child of God also thinks that while God will grant us whatever we desire of him, the child, for his part, should ask in faith. If he loses faith, he is not going to receive anything from God. If he has faith, he can receive absolutely anything from God – wealth, health, protection, healing, deliverances – if God has promised it in his Word. And God has promised wealth, health, protection, healing, deliverances, and more in the Bible, hasn’t he?
So what’s the catch, what’s the problem, and why am I writing this message?
Because of the naïve assumption of the believer when asking God for something.
According to the teaching of many, perhaps most, preachers, the believer has a vital role in determining if he receives the answer to his prayer. He should not waver in his faith when he waits for the answer he asked for. If he wavers, then he is rebuked with the verse in James 1:6:
‘But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord’.
So the believer asks and waits in prayer, and he struggles to maintain ‘faith’, that is, not doubt God’s unfailing promise. Doubts would come, naturally, but he wrestles against them, and somehow continues to keep ‘faith’ faithfully.
Isn’t that how many Christians, perhaps even you, exercise faith when they ask God for something? That was how I exercised faith for decades, because I was told by my spiritual teachers that was the only way to receive healing and other promises of God.
Oh, how I struggled with all my mental capacity to maintain faith for the petitions I made to God. I would ask for money for some important desire. I would ask for healing of a painful ailment. I would plead with God to protect me from prison and humiliation. No man could have prayed more and exercised more faith in my kind of situation. But all I got in answer to my tearful supplications in those years were more financial problems, more painful ailments, more imprisonments and increased humiliation.
Then, after 30 years of praying and exercising sincere faith in that manner, I gave up on faith altogether. I gave up on the God who made all those failed promises in the Bible, I gave up my church, my religion, and went searching for a new faith that really worked. I had become like the pastor of the large churches, referred to earlier, who, when God did not deliver him from his cancer as he pleaded for, became embittered, broken and hopeless. But the faithful Christ, who remains ever faithful to us and promised never to forsake or abandon us, even when we give up on him and abandon him for other faiths, rescued me from disaster and self-destruction. And he, through the Holy Spirit, began to personally teach me the true delivering faith. I have been living by that faith, as directly taught to me by my Savior, for many years now.
When God made those promises in the Bible, he made them to people who understood his will for their lives. The promises were made to people who always, consciously or subconsciously, begin their prayers with the words taught by their Lord, ‘Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’. That is their greatest desire above every other desire. That is their one absolutely overriding request to God that supersedes, modifies, magnifies, or even obliterates every other desire in their life so that this one desire – which is, God’s will be done in their lives – can be granted in answer to their prayers.
Those who ask God for something – for health, for deliverance from sickness, for a happy marriage, for children, for a job – and then turn bitter against him for not granting what they desperately and sincerely asked for in faith, forget their master’s first requirement for following him. We cannot hope to receive anything from him unless we are following him. And what did our Master tell us when we made a decision to follow him?
‘Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters – yes, even one’s own self! – can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.’ Luke 14:26. The Message
If you havent yet let go of your own self-desires, if you arent yet ready to even forsake your own family, if they stand in your way, to follow the One who died for you, then you havent qualified to ask him anything.
But the astonishing truth of God’s amazing grace is that even when a nominal Christian, who thinks he is following Christ but is only following his own self-desires, when he sincerely and perseveringly prays, God does grant him many of his requests – even as a physical father would grant some requests of his disobedient son. God may grant him his requests only to a limited extent, but the testimonies of many people I personally know – even those who do not believe in Christ and do not know of a single promise in the Bible – have convinced me that our God is so good that he often answers the prayers of people who have the wrong kind of faith but whose hearts are sincere before God.
I personally know several people of Hindu and Muslim faiths receiving astonishing answers to their prayers, because they prayed with a right attitude and for the right reasons in the sight of their Creator.
But as for you, man or woman of Christ, if you believe God’s promises in the Bible, then it is not enough that just ‘many’ of your prayers are granted, while some, and especially in critical situations, as in the case of the pastor dying of cancer, are not granted. If you are a faithful follower of Christ, then every single one of the promises in the 10 verses I quoted above, and in the numerous other verses in the Bible that I didn’t quote, should be granted to you without fail.
Every prayer of mine is saturated with monotonous requests for granting me this, or that, or other desire. I have hundreds granted already in the past, and thousands of other requests which I have rolled off from my prayer mat onto the foot of God’s throne, and which have not been granted yet, but I know with absolute certainty they too will be granted in God’s own good time.
As I said, God has given these promises for his people who have, or is ever ready, to forsake everything to follow him. These promises are meant for people who want God’s will to be done in their lives above every personal desire.
Now, if that senior cancer-stricken pastor had really given his life over to Christ, would he be in the least bothered when Christ asks him to lay it down for him? Instead of giving it up without a moment’s hesitation, he got bitter and lost his sense of security and his confidence in God. He loved his own life more than his Savior, not realizing that his Savior had first given up his life to save him from his wretched sinful state and from eternal death. That servant of God must have prayed the Lord’s Prayer with his congregations many times during his active pastoral days. But every time he uttered those words ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ he didn’t mean it at all. When that part of the prayer came, he was subconsciously praying, ‘my will be done on earth, as yours is in heaven’.
Every time that a prayer in your life goes unanswered, every time that your prayer brings a silence from heaven, every time it seems God stands aloof from your pleas, remember this: your God who loves you more than your own physical father or mother ever could love you, more than you ever can love your precious little son or daughter, that awesome God of awesome love is ever ready to answer you and grant you your every desire.
Your request has already been registered in heaven, and waiting to be dispatched by angels; it will arrive right at the door of your life when you are ready to receive it. Some arrive within an hour or so, some within a decade or more, and many in between. And some are answered even while you are attempting to articulate precisely what you want of the Lord!
‘For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.’ Is 65:23-25
But as for me, and most other people who have learned what true faith is, what has been granted in answer to our prayers is a fraction of what has not been granted. In my case, I think more than 90 percent of my desires that I have been seeking from God since I was a teen have not been granted. But we know that these desires have not been refused by God, for he cannot refuse them because he has promised them clearly in his Word. We wait in faith for God to grant them to us in his own time, which we are convinced is the best time for us to receive those desires. And we also know that this best time is not in this age, but in the regeneration when we will be resurrected to flesh and bones and live our physical lives for a hundred years. Those who have not been granted a family, or children, or a beautiful house, or property, or anything else, will be granted a hundredfold in the regenerated life. See Christ’s own promise in Matthew 19:29 and Mark 10:29-30. (My book, Regeneration, covers this subject in detail.)
That’s faith! Faith that will grant you everything you ask for. Because whenever you ask God for something, you have this attitude in your heart:
‘Lord, I have this desire and I have your promise in your Word that you will grant it to me. But I also know that you know when best to grant it to me. I also know that sometimes it may be best in your sight that I be granted what you promised only when my Lord comes. Whatever, Lord, let your will, not mine, be done. And now, this is my request…’
‘Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.’ 1 John 5:14-15
I continue to pray daily, and have been praying so for decades, for several major deliverances, which have not been granted yet. God has not given me any sign that he is going to grant at least some of them before I die. But as long as he has not answered me with a firm ‘No’ – which if he did, I will be able to sense through his Holy Spirit – I am going to keep asking him perseveringly like the widow did to the judge.
‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, “Get justice for me from my adversary”. And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” ’ Luke 18:1-5
Or, like that man in the Bible who woke up his friend in the middle of the night and asked for 3 loaves:
‘ “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him”; and he will answer from within and say, “Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you”? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.’ Luke 11:5-8
I have absolute faith God will grant me what I have asked, because he has said so in the Bible. He has not specifically mentioned among his promises many of the things I have asked for, but he said ‘he will grant me the desires of my heart’. And what I have asked are certainly the desires of my heart, and I am not asking him for things to indulge my lusts.
I never pressurize my Lord with my requests. I never ask him with desperation. I never ask him and then set a mental deadline as to when I should receive what I ask for. I just ask him calmly and perseveringly, without giving up, and always desiring his will to be done in my life – and if that means he cannot grant me what I ask for, praise him for that! I dont get disappointed or discouraged. I dont want any teeny weeny bit of what I ask for if it is going to be against my Father’s will, for I know it will not be good for me.
I have had dozens of major petitions and desires – including deliverance from imprisonment – which were totally ungranted by God. Before I understood what real faith is, when my pleas for certain deliverances brought the opposite of what I asked for, I used to get very disappointed, sometimes very bitter, but years later when I looked back, I stood in stunned amazement at how gracious my Lord was to me by refusing to grant what I had earnestly asked of him. Perhaps one example might encourage you.
At one time, I knew I was sooner or later going to be incarcerated in a land of anti-Christians. I pleaded with God with fastings and intense prayers for months. I asked pastors and evangelists to pray for my deliverance from the dungeons. Some assured me I would be delivered.
Instead, one day I was taken handcuffed, with my ankles shackled with iron chains, to a depressing cell deep in a desert. But, strangely, it was in prison that I felt God’s presence closest to me. I never felt depressed, no, not once (although outside of prison, depression was a serious problem in my life). I could see other prisoners lying down or walking about totally depressed and miserable. I was daily praising God, and writing in a notebook all the new understandings he was giving me inside my prison cell.
The days and weeks passed, and one day, I found myself outside of the iron bars instead of inside. I was a free man again. But my old problems hadnt gone away, and two years later, I was again praying desperately to be spared from the dungeons. Instead, I found myself again in the very same prison, but in a different cell with worse cell-mates – murderers and sychopaths. But the sychopaths and killers were unusually kind to me, and I even shared my excess meals with the most dangerous of them.
Then one day, the worst possible nightmare in prison life happened to me. I became seriously sick. I got diarrhea, and along with it the most agonizing pain in my abdomen. A dagger thrust into my side and twisted left and right would have been more preferable than the pain I endured. Getting a doctor was out of question. It was the weekend and doctors dont visit dungeons on weekends. Once, a fellow prisoner had a heart-attack and the prison guard allowed his cellmates to carry him to the doctor’s room. I saw them returning after a few minutes…there was no doctor available on that day. (The heart-attackee survived though.)
I knew I would die if God did not intervene urgently, but there was no sign of him even reducing my pain a bit. Instead the pain intensified. I could try to end my suffering by doing what Job’s wife urged her husband to do – curse God for failing to keep his promise and just lie back and pass away to oblivion.
In the most agonizing moment of my life, as I lay on the prison floor squirming in pain, I decided to do one last thing before I died. I slowly raised my weakened right hand and holding it high, I gave to heaven, in the sight of the devil and all his hosts that were causing me this torment, a victorious ‘V’ gesture with my forefinger and middle finger. I declared to God in my spirit, ‘Lord, even if you kill me, I will trust you and be faithful to you’. And then I put my hand down and continued to lie on the floor.
That was what God had been waiting to know, I realized later. Waiting to know if I was trusting him even when he was refusing to deliver me. He saw that I was. Almost immediately, my pain started to subside.
The next day, I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance when a kindhearted prison guard on duty that day heard of my situation. But I had no more pain, no diarrhea anymore. The rest of my sentenced term of two months went like a piece of prison cake. I was out…with a far greater conviction of what delivering faith is.
About eight years after I got out of my last prison, God put it into my heart to start a mission with a special focus on reducing the suffering of prisoners. For I have seen with my own eyes the heartwrenching groanings of my fellow prisoners. The mission, World Daily Bread, has relief of prisoners among its greatest purposes (please visit worlddailybread.org). I have no doubt that this mission will be used by God sooner or later to bring his deliverance and comfort to prisoners worldwide. I have put in awesome, literally global-encompassing, requests to God regarding this mission, and I know that every one of them will be granted, in God’s perfect time, because I am not seeking my own will.
I have received the faith that always delivers, that always brings an answer from God. Praise my Lord!
Even in the lighter aspects of life, God rewards me for my faith in him. He grants requests that might sound even ludicrous to nonbelievers.
I wanted to be a lead guitarist when I was about twelve. After persistent requests, my dad bought me a guitar, and I plucked the strings without once learning how to play it. Nobody was available to teach me how. The guitar fragmented after many years of disuse, and I grew up, married, and became middle-aged, and was quickly turning senior…and still there was nobody to teach me guitar.
But my desire to learn to play the guitar never once faded a bit. I never ceased to ask God to somehow make me into a good guitar player. But the decades passed and I was just a few short years away from becoming a senior old man. When I was 56, I bought another guitar, just out of my fascination for this musical instrument. Once, while I was plucking away randomly at my new possession, without the slightest clue how to play it, a concerned observer told me, ‘You need to learn the scales’.
Scales? What are they? I knew of the song in The Sound of Music, which was about the scale – doe, ray, me, far, so, la, tea. That was the closest I knew of scales. But how do I learn the guitar by singing doe, ray, me? But the observer’s remark lingered in my memory.
Then, another two wrinkled years trudged by, and as I approached my 58th birthday, I thought I would look up on the internet to find out what a guitar scale is. I came across a website that taught me the ABCDEFGs of a scale. I tried one of the scales, called the pentatonic minor, on the guitar. Wow, I seemed to be able to produce some harmonious notes finally, which I couldn’t at all for the past 46 years! I kept practicing the scales, and soon I was composing some simple original melodies of my own.
Now, about 4 years after I first heard the word ‘scale’, I can play the guitar with some speed and skill, and I have composed what I think are some beautiful instrumental melodies that I think may inspire listeners to sway their bodies, swing their arms, and praise God. (I am thinking of putting up a few videos of my compositions, just to inspire potential guitarists.)
Beloved son or daughter of God, our Father wants to bestow all the blessings that he as an Omnipotent God can bestow on you. Hand over your life to him wholly, for him to do with it as he wills, to keep it or take it away.
That was what God had been waiting to know, I realized later. Waiting to know if I was trusting him even when he was refusing to deliver me.
My name is Joseph. Joseph means ‘ God adds, or increases’. There is no limit to the increase God gives to the one who asks and perseveres in faith. I am not putting a limit to what I ask God. I ask him for nothing more than his omnipotence can provide, but I ask him nothing less than his omnipotence can give. But I know that no matter how great and how large my request bag is, it still does not come up to the measure our Father wants to give me, in this life and in the regeneration:
‘Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us’ Eph 3:20
Perhaps the most practical way to understand what true faith is, is to replace the word ‘faith’ with ‘faithfulness’. If you are ready to be faithful to God even to the point of death, faith will automatically be there. Being faithful to God in life and death is the true faith, this is the very foundation of every blessing in your life.
‘The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.’ Heb 11:1-2 The Message
If Jesus is your Lord, then don’t limit your asking him in faith. Don’t give up, never give up, if what you are asking for is promised in his Word, even if that promise is generic, and not specific to your case. Absolutely ALL your desires, all that you can ever ask of him fit into his promises in the 10 verses I quoted earlier in this message.
Search the Scriptures, and you will find many other promises, and many specific ones too. Claim them all. But always in faith, always in full submission to his will, not your will. Always willing to wait for God’s own time to grant it to you – perhaps immediately, perhaps after a few decades, perhaps during your 100-year life in the regeneration. Whatever you ask should glorify God in some way or other.
May God, the Giver of every good gift, grant your every desire beyond measure, beyond your present ability to conceive the magnitude of what you are going to receive.