VIOLENT FAITH- - And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Matt 11:12. It is impossible to ever act out our faith as God would have us to, without first understanding, that which most motivates us to act out our faith. The key to aggressive, faith which refuses to back down is DESIRE. What is desire?? Desire is a sense of longing for a person or object or hoping for an outcome. The same sense is expressed by emotions such as "craving" or "hankering". When a person desires something, someone, or a certain outcome, their sense of longing is excited by the enjoyment or the thought of the item, person, or certain outcome. Desire is a very powerful word - it is the force which most motivates us captivates us, and draws our most focused attention, and most drives us to do the things we do. A person will do almost anything required to obtain the object or situation of ones desires. It can be used for good but more often than not desire drives us to do things we know aren't always for our good. Many today are aggressively using their faith to fight for the things they most desire. Sad to say for many they are fighting the wrong enemy, for the wrong things, on the wrong battlefield.
The apostle Paul clearly tells us we must aggressively fight. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 1st Tim 6;12. Concerning these verses, C Spurgeon tells us, This passage of Scripture, "Lay hold on eternal life," is suggestive from its connection. In the same verse Timothy is told to, "Fight the good fight of faith." From this it is evident that if we lay hold on eternal life, we will have to fight for it:"
A very common and popular message today for many believers is the message of “Taking It All Back.” Believers are told that Satan is after their health, wealth and prosperity. They are encouraged to use their faith aggressively fight back and take back what the adversary has stolen and continually seeks to steal. This popular message points out the fact that God has always dealt with mankind through the usage of covenants and that he is legally bound by the New Covenant of New Testament to bestow blessings of prosperity upon all Christians. It is taught that the following words of Christ confirm this, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Jn 10:10.
Most people in error envision prosperity in the natural realm as the main thing they should focus on, when it comes to this verse.
What often is not explained is the fact that the abundant life Christ was referring to was not in the physical realm. As Christ explains, “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Lk 12:15. The truth is this is not what Satan is most concerned with. In fact he offered Christ all this and more. “8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Matt 4:8-9. Satan's main concern is not about your health, wealth or prosperity, there is something else even more important that Satan wants to steal. The main thing he is after in the spiritual realm is your relationship, fellowship, and discipleship. You should stay focused on the real battle, (for a relationship, fellowship, and discipleship), and wage war in these areas.
WE MUST AGGRESSIVELY FIGHT TO LET GO-- In order to vigorously maintain our firm grip on the things of God, (via a relationship, fellowship, and discipleship), we must release our grip on the things of this world. As Paul explains, 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 2nd Tim 2:3-4. John describes faith as the essence of a victorious life. 1 John 5:4 " For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith." The clear implication of John' s statement is that we are engaged in a battle and faith is a weapon.
In Ephesians 6:15 Paul commands Christians to take up the "shield of faith" in order to fend off the fiery darts of the enemy. These statements are not a call to physical battle, and our fighting is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12). But the spiritual battle between good and evil is real and present. As Christians, we are commissioned to fight and engage the enemy. Moral passivity or spiritual apathy is not an option.
Thus we must first come to terms with what do we really want and how bad do we want it?? Many at this point will get all worked up and boldly declare that they ONLY want God's will to be done in their lives. Even in giving this reply, the question we must ask is, is this a truly heart felt craving, or merely a emotional response, to this question. Our emotions merely expresses how we feel; our mind simply tells us what we think; but our truest desires communicates who we really are. Our emotions may allow us to come to God, but only our desire for him will allow us to stay in his presence. As Christ explains many who come to God do so based on their emotions. Because their coming to God is not rooted in a strong desire, (hungering and thirsting), they don't last long. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy (emotions) receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, (real deep seated desire) but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. Matt 13:20-21.
Our desire for God must be much more that an emotional desire-- Beyond the emotional aspect of us, we must have true desire for God and what he wants. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matt 6:21. To put this verse in modern day terminology, your pleasure is the measure of your treasure. What ever we get the most pleasure and delight out of is our greatest treasure. "The truest desires of a man can be taken as his real self, for it truthfully represents him." (watchman Nee). Our desires can be a blessing or a major stumbling block, it all depends on our truest inner desires. WE MUST COMES TO TERMS WITH WHAT ON THE TOP OF OUR LIST OF THINGS MOST DESIRED
Not all desires are bad there are many things we can desire. Christ does tell us that we need to learn how to prioritize our desires. He tells us that we should have a desire for God and what he wants, on the top of our list. Christ put it this way "33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matt 6:31-33. In order to vigorously maintain our firm grip on the things of God, (via a relationship, fellowship, and discipleship), we must release our grip on the things of this world. As Paul explains, 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 2nd Tim 2:3-4. One of the things which made king David a man after God's own heart, was David's willingness to match his actions with his verbally expressed desires for God. As David says in his own words, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4. Most of us as believers would agree with David, in theory, but how many of us agree with him in practice??
Many at this point will get all worked up and boldly declare that they ONLY want God's will to be done in their lives. Even in giving this reply, the question we must ask is, is this a truly heart felt craving, or merely a emotional response, to this question. Our emotions merely expresses how we feel; our mind simply tells us what we think; but our truest desires communicates who we really are. Our emotions may allow us to come to God, but only our desire for him will allow us to stay in his presence. As Christ explains many who come to God do so based on their emotions. Because their coming to God is not rooted in a strong desire, (hungering and thirsting), they don't last long. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy (emotions) receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, (real deep seated desire) but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. Matt 13:20-21. Beyond the emotional aspect of us, we must have true desire for God and what he wants. (CLICK ON THE NEXT TAB BELOW TO ADVANCE SLIDES).
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In many church circles today, it is not enough to be born again (saved), but modern day, in the know believers are expected to have all of the amenities, of modern day covenant salvation. These amenities includes, but are not limited to items such as, a big house, a nice car, lots of cash, a healthy body, positive marital and family relationships etc. Many are being taught, that perfect health, and prosperity (being rich) is a major part of God's covenant promises for all believers. Believers are told they have a right to expect to prosper, because God has always dealt with mankind through the usage of covenants and that he is legally bound by the New Covenant of New Testament to bestow blessings upon all Christians. Faith teachers then go on to say that, under this covenant agreement with God, spiritual laws have been revealed for believers to enjoy their legal birthrights as children of God, rights that mandate the Christian to enjoy a life of ruler ship not only over sin, but over sickness, bad relationships and poverty as well.
This doctrine has attracted millions of followers, who have in turn generated millions and millions of dollars in revenues, for some of its most eminent proclaimers. Those who preach the prosperity gospel, say, Any minister or ministry, which says God permits his children to be poor, sick, and go through all manner of trials, is in error and a hindrance to the body of Christ. One well known preacher of prosperity said "for a Pastor or anyone to drive a Chevrolet instead of a luxury car isn't being humble, but is being ignorant of God's "law of prosperity." For many today, the doctrine which proclaims that "every believer is supposed to be rich and healthy" is a doctrine which many ministers have been afraid to question or challenge it, for fear of being classed as a doubter of the provisional powers of God. How could any minister or ministry argue with the most often quoted verse concerning with prosperity and health, which is found in the book of third John? 2Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Prominence, Power, Possessions Position. While it is seems natural and sensible to treasure and pursue, these and similar items, Christ gives us a different perspective. He tells us that it is imperative that we set our affections (MOST Fervent DESIRES) on the things of God. Christ defined these things as being "the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;" 6:31-33. This is what we call, #1. WANTING OR LOVING GOD (HIS PERSONAGE) AND WANTING OR LOVING WHAT HE WANTS (HIS WILL). The reason why this is so critical is because loving God and loving his will, is what empowers violent faith. This in turn allows us to operate in the spiritual realm of God . This is the realm where the powers of Satan is powerless, because it's there that he cannot steal, rob, and corrupt. This was the main lesson Christ sought to instill in his followers. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: Matt 6:19-20.
When it comes to our quest for the things of this world, we learn from scripture that Satan can touch our lives in these areas. In fact while it's true that God alone is God almighty, he has allowed Satan to be the God of this world. Christ did not dispute with Satan, when Satan offered him the glory of this world, ( Prominence, power, possessions position), if he would bow before him. 5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. Lk 4:5-7. CLICK ON NEXT TAB TO ADVANCE SLIDES
While it is true that God is all powerful, He permits Satan for now to run to and fro the earth. The apostle Paul tells us that Satan is listed as the God of this world. In this position Satan is able to use the things of this world to wage war against the believers, As John tells us, And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev 12. Some will argue that faith and right standing with God will protect our Prominence, power, possessions position. The scriptures teach that it is our desire for God and his will, which actually leads us into a battle, where God will at times allow Satan to affect these areas of our lives. When this does occur, it is God's will that we fight back. Not so much to take back our stuff in the natural, but rather to maintain our, relationship and fellowship with God. This is the lesson we learn from Job. Job is held forth as a man who used his faith to aggressively fight back, when Satan attacked him via his Prominence, power, possessions and position.
Job had a deep and abiding respect for God. Job was determined to honor God in all that he did. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. Job 1:1 When Satan came before God, Satan boasted about the fact that he was going all over the earth doing as he pleased. God then pointed Job out, And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Job 1:8. Satan told God that the ONLY reason why Job respected him was because of the things He had given him. God then permitted Satan to attack Job, And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; Job 1;12. Satan used everything in his power to get Job to change his attitude toward God, yet Job refused. Job used his faith to violently fight back against everything, which sought to get him to turn on God, Satan thought that Job's greatest desires was toward the things of this world. God knew that Job's greatest desire (single), was for him Like Job before us, we to can overcome the powers of darkness. But we must aggressively use our faith to fight back. When we firmly set our desires toward God, there is no power anywhere, that can overcome us. The key is where we set our desires 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Col 3:1-2.
Many sincere individuals, who have faithfully spoken a word of faith, honestly have expected from God, because of their willingness to trust Him. After all the scriptures does say, Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4 . If Jesus says whatever we ask in his name he'll do, why doesn't he? Where is God when the bills can't be paid? Where is God when we want to have children but we can't? Where is God when someone we love dearly is dying? Where is he???? While on earth Christ sought to prepare our minds to this reality. Yet it seems that many of us (myself included) Struggle at times, when the dream seems to fail. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33.
VIOLENT FAITH MUST BE ROOTED IN BURNING DESIRE-- This desire must be motivated by a overwhelming love for God and his will. Many today get excited about the notion of fighting the fight of faith. But it takes more than emotions to be a true over comer. Christ spoke of those who get excited emotionally about the things of God. He said they endure for a while then when the battle intensifies, they don't fight back, they simply give up. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. Matt 13:20-21. The key to violent faith being effective is desire. It's hard to fight hard for something you don't really want. Obtaining and walking in the blessings of God does not come merely because we casually hope that it will come to pass. It takes an extreme desire, combined with actions which correspond with these desires. As Christ explains, Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matt 5:6. The more we establish inwardly that we love God and want his will in our lives more than anything else, the more aggressively violent, our faith becomes. There are two verses which teaches us how to love God and his will to this degree. This is called seeking the kingdom of heaven and God's righteousness (his will) first. the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness first. Christ taught us about this wanting process. #1. WANTING HIM--37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.38 This is the first and great commandment. Matt 22:37-38. #2. WANTING WHAT HE WANTS--Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Matt 6:10. Once these two verses become our single goal in life, it will ignite our faith.
A VIOLENT FAITH ROOTED IN DESIRE WILL CONQUER THE GIANTS IN YOUR LIFE---- One of the things which made king David a man after God's own heart, was David's willingness to match his actions with his verbally expressed desires for God. As David says in his own words, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4. Most of us as believers would agree with David, in theory, but how many agree with him in practice? One day, David, who is still a shepherd and not a soldier, shows up on the battlefield bringing food for his brothers and he's shocked by what he sees. He hears the giant Goliath hurling profanity laced insults toward God. He also notice that every time Goliath advances toward the army of Israel, they run from him.
Outraged at Goliath's blasphemous insulting of the God of Israel, David volunteers to fight Goliath, though he has a hard time convincing everybody to let him go out into the field. Finally, he convinces King Saul with his steadfast faith in God: (1 Samuel 17:37). David goes out to meet Goliath without sword or armor, only with his slingshot and a few stones, and his deep abiding faith in God. Satan will always attempt to use your known weakness to his advantage. David knew that physically he was not match for Goliath. But David also knew that his greatest desire was to honor and obey God. Goliath's physical statue was what made him a giant in the sight of men. David faith in God was what made David a giant killer in the eyes of God. Everybody else was running from the giant. Violent faith sees thing differently as opposed to what timid faith sees. When the pain of life strikes at the very instant you are striving to draw close to God, violent faith does not see it as punishment. Rather it sees God yelling through the a megaphone telling us to press through it, because it's getting us where He wants us to be. In spite of the threatening insults hurled at him by Goliath David is undisturbed, he knew that Goliath had picked a fight with God. David also knew that his greatest desire was to have a relationship, thus fellowship with God. David knew all he had to do was trust God and not back down.
David also knew that his greatest desire was to have a relationship, thus fellowship with God. David knew all he had to do was trust God and not back down. 42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. 43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. 45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. *49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. 1st Sam 17:42-49. As Goliath advances toward him, David uses his sling to hurl a rock at the giant's face. It hits him in the forehead and he falls to the ground, flat on his face. David then removes Goliath's sword and cuts off his head. David would later share his testimony, "He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me". Psalm 18:17. David's desire for God and God's will motivated him to take the fight to the enemy. Even so will these same desires in us stir us to do the same.
LEARNING TO FIGHT THE RIGHT ENEMY, FOR THE RIGHT THINGS. THINGS - Much of the teaching today seems to imply, that if we use our faith correctly, we can overrule any of life's situations we deem to be unacceptable. As we strive to violently take back, we must be careful the reason being Many of us live to consume and simply satisfy self. Today many are so focused on the things of this world, that are blind to what God is trying to show us. We have a tendency to frantically try to grasp and possess, the things which will make us carnally happy. In doing we miss out on receiving what God is lovingly trying to give us. We struggle to get to certain possession in life, (on top, in charge, ahead of the game, etc), and in the process, we fail to arrive at the place God seeks to led us to. James saw some in the early church doing the same thing, he noted this in his writings. 1From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:2-4. John tells us to be careful of the things we pursue. His warning reflects what caused us to lose out in the first place. 15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1st Jn 2:15-17. (CLICK NEXT TAB BELOW TO ADVANCE SLIDES).
KNOWING WHO THE REAL ENEMY IS-- Many today are aggressively using their faith in an attempt to gain the upper hand financially, socially, and for physical well being. There are several things we need to understand in order for our violent faith to be effective. First of all we need to know who the enemy is. The Bible does describe our faith walk as a battle. Therefore without taking this verse out of context, we will examine what it means to have violent faith. AS Paul tells us, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." 1st Tim 6:12. Not only did Paul tell us to fight but this was part of his testimony to the end. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:" 2nd Tim 4:7. Christ explained that his kingdom is not of this world, it does not consist of physical substance. 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Jn 18:36. It's important here to note that in speaking of a "violent" faith, the Scripture is not condoning radical acts of violence within our communities and against those we do not agree with. This is not what is being stated here. Paul who told us to fight also tells us that our battle is not against flesh and blood. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Epee 6:12. Jesus told us that the greatest command is love - to love God with our entire being and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This Scripture is merely speaking about taking a strong, serious hold upon salvation and all of the covenant benefits that salvation has provided for us to enjoy personally - being careful not to let them slip by.
KNOWING WHO WE MUST MOST GET VIOLENT WITH - Paul said he was not just going through the motions of fighting. He said he aggressively brought himself in subjection to God's word, 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1st Cor 9;27. According to Christ the main person we use our faith against, and should turn the word on is ourselves. Violent faith calls for us to by faith violently cut away (die to) the aspects of ourselves which would hinder our relationship, fellowship, and call to discipleship. 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Mk 9:43-46.
Violent faith calls for radical measures, Christ's' advice to those who find themselves struggling with certain carnal aspects of themselves was to, "cut it off" No person in his right mind will knowingly harm his body. Yet, there comes a time when a person will consent to allowing a physician to amputate certain parts of his body. We each recognize the principle of sacrificing the lesser good for the sake of the larger good. When a person's diseased members of his body endangers the rest of the body's life, the individual will consent to having it removed. Jesus referred to this principle in His instructions in Mark 9:43-46. Here is His statement: "cut it off" This lesson is a hard lesson for Christians to learn. We seem to think too much of this world; we forget that everything in it and all of the pleasures which it can offer us are temporal. The pleasures of sin are passing away (Heb. 11:24-25; 1 Jn. 2:15-17). Whatever enjoyment sin can give me, at the best will last only a short time.