Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 62: Faith

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:13 NASB)

But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 1 Corinthians 12:7- 9 NASB 

For the last few days, we have been studying the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believer. As I've written, I've fretted that the information might not be something that we could use in our daily lives. This morning, I've seen it a little differently. When I understand the manifestations of the Spirit in the body of Christ, I can better understand the body of Christ and the ways that we serve each other. That understanding can also help me understand where I can best serve. 

For example, if the Spirit manifests (or works) in me with the word of wisdom, I will most effectively serve the body of Christ by living my faith in practical ways that others can see, as well as by teaching the truth of Scripture in simple language that all can understand using practical applications that all can follow. When (if) serving with the word of wisdom is what I will do best, I will be most content serving in that way, and most effective, no matter what my other abilities include. Understanding the way in which God intended me to serve for the common good, then, is important for the body of Christ but also for my own contentment in service.

Over the next few days, we should all be able to recognize our area of service. If the current area doesn't fit, it probably fits someone we know and can help us to encourage each other to greater service in our area of equipping.

With that said, let's look at another manifestation of the Spirit of God, faith. The word translated as faith is pistis, and is a word we've studied before. The woman with the issue of blood was healed because of her pistis, her faith, and the woman with the alabaster vial was saved because of her pistis, her faith. (You may want to read both of those posts, and you can follow the links to open in a new window.)

This pistis, or faith, is a rock-solid certainty that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and the One through whom we receive salvation in the Kingdom of God. The one with this kind of faith lives their life on the understanding that "God said it, and that settles it." It is an unwavering conviction that God is not only able to do what He says He can do, but also willing to do what He says He can do. 

The one with faith can look at a situation, no matter how grim, consider ways in which God could work in mighty and miraculous ways, then pray with the boldness to ask for those miraculous ways and the faith to expect God to move. This kind of faith is given "for the common good", and the one with this faith will lead the body of Christ in greater leaps of faith. 

If the Spirit works through me by the gift of faith, when someone asks for "a little prayer", my response is likely to be, "Why ask for something little, when we can pray a big prayer?" When serving with the gift of faith, I will always expect a mighty move of God, always see the possibility of His miraculous intervention, and pray with the omnipotence of God in mind. This pistis is the kind of faith we all should have, in which we grasp, at least in part, that there is nothing our God cannot do, no power greater than He. At the same time, this faith understands that, despite that omnipotence, our God is still intimately involved in the details of our lives.

Some will be equipped to serve with exceptional faith, but all of us must follow with that same kind of pistis faith, knowing with certainty that our hope is in Christ alone, and that He makes all the difference.