Some believers have the idea that the teachers of the lifestyle of faith (prescribed four times in Scripture – Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38) are pushing some kind of “easy believism” whereby our own personal genie in a bottle rises up to make our every whim come true. They often use derogatory terms to describe the very biblical connection between the faith in the heart and the confession of our mouth (Romans 10:9-10; Proverbs 29:18) like “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it.” True, there are abuses and excesses with every revelation in the Word of God but that does not change the fundamental truth of the principle. In demonizing a very biblical truth, the self-appointed watch dogs of the Church (who usually have never really listened to the comprehensive teaching of the principles of faith) have succeeded only in preventing some much needed understanding from getting to those that need to understand faith the most.
Nonetheless, it is important to remember that faith is not a magic wand or silver bullet for catering to the flesh. Faith is actually described in Scripture as a fight by the Apostle Paul. In fact we derive our word “agony” from the Greek word agonizomai which is the basis for the translation of the phrase, “the fight of faith.” Paul told Timothy that he had “fought the good fight,” and challenged him to do the same. The lifestyle of faith is described best as the platform for spiritual conflict surrounding the ministry of the gospel and the receiving of the promises of God. In other words, we do not live in some kind of spiritual vacuum where everything we see in Scripture just comes automatically to us without a fight or a struggle.
I liken the lifestyle of faith to a boxing match. Faith is what allows us to enter into the ring (we are not even in the ring until we are in faith). We aren’t guaranteed the victory just because we step into the ring to fight. We are promised that with our faith we can persevere until the victory is produced, for “this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4). Some folks forfeit important life matches because they never enter into the ring of faith. Others get weary and do not stay in the ring long so they lose. Others climb into the ring and take punch after punch but forget to keep their shield of faith up and punch back with the sword of the Spirit (the confessed Word of God). Still others get “cut” like a boxer and bleeding decide to throw in the proverbial white towel.
I want to encourage you to put your faith gloves on, climb into the ring, persevere, keep your guard up, punch back with the words of your mouth, and refuse to throw in the towel. It’s impossible to defeat a faith-filled believer who just refuses to quit. I am coming along side of you in today’s blog like the boxing trainer in your corner with a faith checklist of fundamentals to help you go the distance and win the match.
1. Stand your ground realizing that Satan is the source of your opposition. We know that we do not war against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers in high places. Remember that after you have done everything to stand, continue to stand (Ephesians 6).
2. Be sure you have some Scripture that covers your situation. If you can’t specifically point to the Word on something you say you are believing God for, you’ re not really in faith. Find the place where it is written about your situation and make those Scriptures the basis of your believing.
3. Make sure you are not living in (practicing) sin because sin attacks your confidence. One man of God said, “sin makes cowards of men.” You can’t be walking around in doubt, condemnation, and insecurity when someone in the ring is literally trying to take your head off. If you are in sin you are not in faith.
4. Be sure no doubt or unbelief is permitted in your life and heart. Doubt works to lower your guard and allow the enemy in to discourage you from standing and believing God. Beware and watch out for the “second thought” or the word that comes from the enemy (through human voices often) telling you that you’re going to lose, you can’t make it, you’re going down for the count. Once you have the Word on the subject be ruthless when a second thought comes to rob you of your faith.
5. Keep a strong desire for the thing you are asking for because the more attention you give that desire, the greater that desire will be. In a ten round heavyweight boxing match, endurance and staying power become central to any victory. You will increase your ability to stay in the fight if that desire stays strong within your heart.
6. Ask God in faith without wavering rather than being, as James says, a man of two minds going back and forth on the issue (James 1), One moment he believes God and the next minute he throws down his faith. In a faith battle you’ll get both your minds knocked into the next county if you don’t get into agreement with yourself about what you believe. James is clear that we will not receive anything from the Lord if we are double-minded.
7. Count it done and resist any symptom, circumstance, or situation that contradicts God’s Word and what you are believing. One meaning of the concept of “binding and loosing” in Matthew 18 is “to veto.” This means we refuse to permit, allow, let, or suffer something to happen. It should encourage you to know that the Lord himself issued and granted this authority to his disciples. Get your veto stamp out whenever the enemy tries to pull a fast one on you by trying to convince you that the Word will not work in your situation. Veto that sin, sickness, lack, depression, discouragement, hopelessness and believe the Word to come to pass in your life.
8. Give glory to God even before the manifestation of the victory. If you want to really freak the devil out, start thanking and praising God right in the middle of the faith ring long before you’ve thrown the knockout punch. You’ll throw him off his groove because by design he is after your words, your praise, and your thanksgiving to God. Anyone can praise God when the opponent is lying on the mat out cold in defeat. The truth is we speed our victory when we praise the Lord before we see the victory.
9. Act as though you have already received what you believed. Receiving the promise would no doubt change your attitude, your demeanor, your outlook, your behavior, and joy would be bubbling up constantly. That’s what happens when you truly believe the Word. Confuse the enemy (and the watchdogs) by living and acting now like you have already received the promise of God.
We can count on the Word to bring us the victory but like Paul we have to scrap and fight the good fight of faith. This is not the time to hang up your gloves. Climb into the ring, listen to your trainer, keep your guard up, refuse to quit, and punch away until your enemy is out cold at your feet (which is exactly where Jesus wants him to be).