It is God’s will for His children to overcome in life. He wants us to overcome temptations, storms, attacks, lack and tragedies of all kinds. Many scriptures promise victory to those who belong to God and believe His Word:
2 Corinthians 2:14
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ,
and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
One of my favorites is 1 John 5:4 which says, For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world, Our Faith. If you are born of God, you are an overcomer. That’s your right, your heritage. Jesus is an overcomer and in Him you have the right to victory. However, even though victory is the will of God for every one of His children, it’s not automatic. There are plenty of Christians who aren’t necessarily living an overcoming life. If victory was automatic, this wouldn’t be the case. God’s promises don’t just happen to people without their cooperation. If they did, God would save everyone in the world immediately because salvation for everyone is His will. Since His promises are not automatic, it is possible to live far beneath our rights and priveleges in Christ.
1 John 5:4 gives us the key to experiencing God’s will in our lives. Notice it says, “And this is the victory that has overcome the world-Our Faith.” Faith in God’s Word makes it yours. We aren’t waiting for God to decide which of His promises to give us, He’s waiting for us to believe His Word. You will receive from God the promises you believe. It is possible to know God’s Word and it not do you any good. Hebrews 4:2 says,
For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
It’s the Word you mix faith with that will profit you. Faith is what you do. The Bible speaks a lot about faith. It’s the one thing God will not do for us. We have to believe. Jesus was more frustrated with the disciples in the area of faith than any other area. He knew what He was going to provide for the world and He also knew that if they were going to receive it, they were going to have to learn the principles of faith.
Faith is not so hard that few can do it. Faith is fun, faith is exciting and you can do it. Let’s look at Hebrews 11:6 to see just how important and easy it is:
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
First of all, without faith we can’t please God. He wants us to believe and we can believe and when we do,it pleases God. Jesus said, “When the son of man comes will he find faith on the earth?” Faith pleases God and Jesus is looking for faith, let’s get with the program. Let’s get good at faith!
You may think you don’t have much faith or that you aren’t very good at believing. But faith may be easier than you think and you may be exercising a lot more faith than you think. Hebrews 11:6 goes on to say, “He who comes to God must believe that He is…” Do you believe God is? Is that difficult? If you believe there is a God you are exercising a measure of faith. Do you believe Jesus is His son? That He died on a cross and rose from the dead and purchased salvation for the whole world? Have you ever seen God? Did you see Jesus die? Have you touched the old rugged cross with your own hands? Yet you still believe it?
Do you believe in a place called Heaven? Do you believe you are going to go there when your body dies? Have you ever been there? Could you find it on a map? But you still believe you’re going there? If you answered yes to the questions above, you are already exercising faith and God calls you a believer. That’s who you are, that’s what you do. You believe!
I’m glad faith pleases God because that’s something we can all do. God has made Himself accessible to those who believe. Not just to the wise or the rich or the popular.
1 Corinthians 1:21 says:
…it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
Those who believe the gospel can be saved and know God. Faith has put God within everyone’s reach, because everyone can believe. Every person has the capacity to believe. It is the choice of each individual to believe God or not. Those who choose to believe, receive. Those who don’t, do without.
When we read the gospels we get an idea of how important faith is. Jesus was always aware of the level of faith in the people around Him and He made comments about it such as, “no faith”, “little faith”, “great faith” and “such great faith”. I used to think that Jesus’ schedule was always full before He began His day, with every move pre-planned and pre-ordained. But as we read the Gospels more closely, we see a different pattern. We see Him teaching, preaching and healing day after day. And who are the individuals being healed? Those who came to Him in faith. Most of the miracles of individual healing were done for those who came to Him. He didn’t go to the woman with the issue of blood, she came to Him.
There are many more examples of this, including, the paralytic who was let down through the roof, blind Bartimaus, Jairus who came for his daughter and the Roman centurion. We see Jesus presenting the Word (the basis for faith) then healing any and all who responded. But notice, it was they who decided to respond to the Word, Jesus didn’t do it for them. God works the same way today. The sower (the preacher) sows the word, what happens next is up to the hearer. God is not picking favorites, He is willing to work for anyone who chooses to believe and we can all be that person.
One example that clearly illustrates the hazards of the lack of faith is in Luke chapter 8. Jesus said to His disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side of the Lake.” That is a word from God. They boarded the boat and launched out. They sailed right into a storm. That was probably the last thing they expected to see on that journey. If you think about the situation, what could be better than going on a boat ride with Jesus. They were in the will of God, in the presence of God, doing the work of God. It should have been the experience of a lifetime.
Why did they sail into a storm? Couldn’t God have warned them or changed their course or their timing so they could sail across on smooth waters? He could have but He didn’t. God never promised us smooth sailing. If you’re “going to the other side” in life, problems will arise. It’s going to take faith to get through the storms of life successfully. The necessity of faith was a surprise to them and it is a surprise to many Christians today.
They thought as long as they were in the boat with Jesus, serving Him, loving Him, that everything was going to be all right. After Jesus rebuked the storm and the sea was calm He turned to them and asked, “Where’s your faith?” That’s a powerful question. He expected faith from them and they could have believed but they didn’t. The lesson is, that it takes faith to get to the other side! This is the victory that overcomes the world-our faith!
We see the importance of faith again when Peter was walking on the water to go to Jesus in Matthew 14. While in another boat the disciples were frightened one night after seeing Jesus walking toward them on the water. When Jesus identified Himself, Peter suddenly had a burst of faith and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” (Matthew 14:28)
Now we all know Peter wasn’t ready to walk on water and you would have thought Jesus would have talked him out of it, but He didn’t. Jesus never talked anybody out of faith, He was always looking for faith and trying to talk people into faith! He simply said, “Come”. The rest of verse 29 says, “And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.”
Peter was actually walking on the water. That’s a miracle. But you know the rest of the story. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30) Jesus reached out and saved Peter and then said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
He doubted because he got his eyes on the wind and the waves as if he could have walked on the water if the wind wasn’t blowing! He doubted because he got his eyes off Jesus and was distracted by other things. Peter is to be commended for getting out of the boat, but the lesson we must learn is that according to Jesus, he could have believed but he didn’t. He didn’t have to doubt but he did. Faith receives the miracle and unbelief does without.
If two unsaved people are sitting in the same church service and hear the same message and one gets saved and the other doesn’t, it’s not because God loves one more than the other, it’s because one chose to believe and the other didn’t. He will save whosoever will. The same is true with all His promises. They are for whosoever. You can be a whosoever, whenever and wherever you choose to. You can believe God’s Word as well as anyone. Get some powerful promises and make them yours today. You are an overcomer! This is the victory that overcomes the world—OUR FAITH!
You can hear this message in it’s entirety in the CD series Healing for the Broken Hearted. The series Dare to Believe and Faith Speaks also deal with the subject of faith and are available on our Products page.