7 Essential Qualities of Strong Faith

Stay in the Word of God until you can see it so clearly on the inside that you don’t need to see it on the outside. ~ Gloria Copeland

God is faithful. Most of us have heard that statement, but have we ever really considered what faith requires? It is certainly not for the faint of heart.

The Old Testament demonstrates the faithfulness of God, His steadfast love, goodness, mercy and grace. He never wavers, never changes His mind and never forsakes His family or His promises.

He stood by the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace and was faithful to Daniel in the lion’s den. His grace led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness, fed them with manna and doves, and poured water from rock. Ps. 119:90 says ‘Thy faithfulness is unto all generations; Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth’. Psalm 92 says God shows us His ‘lovingkindness in the morning and [His] faithfulness every night’. He even dressed Adam and Eve after the disaster in the Garden.

The examples of God’s faithfulness are far too many to mention, but the ultimate example was His faithfulness to Jesus. From the first prophecy spoken in Genesis (‘one is coming’) to Jesus’ resurrection from hell itself, God’s proved His faithfulness to His plan for all mankind.

Have you ever thought about the price God pays to remain faithful to us, His children? Think for just a moment how much He forgives us. Every day, every day, every day – no matter what dumb stuff we’ve done! Think about His infinite patience with our attempts to override or ignore His wisdom. Consider His constant vigilance to protect and guide us out of our messes and disasters.

The Bible uses the word ‘faith’ and its derivatives almost 350 times. While Old Covenant references talk about God’s faithfulness, the New Covenant shifts from His faith to ours. The entire New Testament shows us how Jesus walked by faith and how we are to learn to live by faith. If we look at the lives of the disciples, we soon realize that faith is certainly not for the faint of heart!

Most of them were persecuted for their faith and spent time in prison. Yet the Church continued to prosper and grow. Today, we are millions strong, all because of twelve dedicated men and the additional 108 who met in that Upper Room so many centuries ago.

One of the strongest instructions regarding faith was given to Joshua after Moses’ death. Joshua was one of the twelve who were sent to spy out the Promised Land. After God told the Israelites that He had given them the land, only two – Joshua and Caleb – agreed with God’s Word. The other ten came back complaining that the task was too difficult and the tribes of Israel could never win. They doubted God’s Word, His faithfulness, giving it no credit at all. They were faint of heart.

Forty years later, after Moses’ death, it fell to Joshua to complete the task God had given the Israelites four decades earlier. Everyone in the previous generation was dead. Their complaining and doubting had shortened their lives. Only Joshua and Caleb remained to lead the people. Here’s what God told him: Only be strong and very courageous, that you mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may prosper wherever you go.  (Josh. 1:7) We can learn a lot from that instruction.

Faith believes. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all. (I Tim. 4:15) Whether the ‘profit’ you need is financial, physical, mental, social or spiritual, you must start with what you believe. If you don’t believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6), you will never have enough faith to defeat the devil’s attacks or the world’s problems. If you believe that He is able, but don’t believe He will do it for ‘you’, then your faith is unplugged from the Source. Like Jacob, your heart [spirit] will faint (become weak and ineffective) because you believe not (Gen. 45:26).

Faith is strong. And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong … hath given him this perfect soundness (Acts 3:16). ‘Perfect soundness’, to me, is another way of describing the Hebrew word for ‘peace’ – Salem. It is translated ‘wholeness, completeness, with nothing missing and nothing broken’. That would include physical health, overflowing finances, peace mentally (no stress or torment) and socially.

Faith creates strength. Weak men do not win tournaments. If you want to overcome life’s adversities, you will have to exercise your faith (practice it, like an athlete or musician practices their craft) until it becomes strong. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Eph. 6:10), then you will be like the woman with the issue of blood whose story is told in Matthew, chapter 9.

She said to herself, “if I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole (sound, strong, healed). She put her faith on the line. She’d been bleeding for twelve years. No doctor could help her, and she had spent everything she had. She could easily have been faint of heart, but she chose not to let her illness or weakness stop her. She crawled through the crowd, speaking the result she wanted – calling things that be not as though they were! (Rom. 4:17). And in the very next verse, Jesus told her, “Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole” (v. 22).

Faith is courageous. Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them; for the Lord thy God, He it is who doth go with thee. He will not fail thee nor forsake thee (Deut. 31:6). God has called you to be a soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:4). Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand … and having done all, to stand (Eph. 6:11, 13). As His soldier, He’s armored and equipped you to win every battle.

War – whether physical or spiritual – requires courage. Courage enables you to take a stand and take the ground. Jesus said you can move mountains with a grain of faith! (Matt. 17:20). But you have to bold and courageous enough to stand until the battle is won. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart (Ps. 27:14).

Faith is diligent. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues [forces] of life. Prov. 4:23 God told Joshua to observe to do according to all the law. In the next verse, He said to ‘meditate on His Word day and night’. Why? So the promise would be stronger and more alive in Joshua’s mind and heart than the obstacles he faced. When you’re up against a seemingly impossible situation, you need to meditate on God’s promises until they become bigger inside you than any problem you face in the world.

Faith wavers not. Let us hold fast to the profession of our faith without wavering (for He is faithful who promised) (Heb. 10:23). James asked the question, “Does a fountain send forth from the same place sweet water and bitter?” (v. 3:11). In other words, are you speaking faith one minute and grumbling the next? Do you believe God can and will turn your situation around or are you busy telling everyone how bad things are and how it will never change?

Instead, become like Abraham who believed in the Lord; and He accounted it to him for righteousness (Gen. 15:6). Abraham believed God even to the sacrifice of his teenaged son – the very same boy God had promised him. Abraham waited almost three decades for Isaac’s birth. How difficult it must have been to trust God to restore the boy’s life after Abraham himself killed him on the altar. It didn’t get that far because God stilled Abraham’s hand. Then four thousand years later, Jesus, the Seed of Abraham, trusted God enough to surrender to Pilate and be crucified, believing God for His resurrection … the just shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17).

Faith is patient. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself … (Ps. 37:7). Patience isn’t learning to put up with bad things with a good attitude. Biblical patience means taking a stand of faith without wavering or doubting … for as long as it takes. It means casting all your care upon Him because He cares for you (I Peter 5:7) and not allowing stress, pressure, doubt or fear to move you away from your faith.

The disciples asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we might work the work of God?” and He responded, “This is the work of God: that ye believe in Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:28-29) Later, Jesus told the ruler of the synagogue, “Fear not, believe only”. Patience puts a wall between faith and the bombardment of arguments and attacks that come your way. Patience says, “I don’t care how long it takes, I believe God. Nothing is impossible with Him. I will see the salvation of the Lord in this situation!”

Faith forgives. And when ye stand praying, forgive if ye have aught against any … (Mark 11:25). Just like the fountain that can’t spew sweet water and bitter, faith cannot function if unforgiveness clogs the channel. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, He explains that ‘faith works by love’. In other words, if you’re operating outside of love, faith cannot work. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand (Mark 3:25). I know, it takes strength, courage and patience to forgive those who hurt you, but Jesus’ instruction is clear: “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.” Several chapters later, when Peter asked, “How often shall … I forgive him” Until seven times?” and Jesus responded, “Not … seven times, but until seventy times seven.” (Matt. 18:21-22).

Even on the cross, after torture and extreme pain, Jesus put forgiveness into action saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” If He can do that, we must also be strong enough to forgive.

Faith is tough. If it weren’t, everyone would be a faith giant. Faith requires commitment, steadfastness and tenacity. It’s definitely not for the lazy or faint of heart. But if you will be strong and very courageous, spend time meditating the promises of God’s Word, keeping your ‘shield of faith’ in place and wielding the ‘sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God’ (Eph. 6:17), you can become a faith hero, just like Joshua and Abraham. And you will see the glory, goodness and blessing of the Lord, just like He promised.

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