Welcome to our 14 days of prayer and fasting to start the new year! Check back here each day for a new devotional. More info on prayer and fasting here.
Hebrews 11:1-4 (NLT) – Great Examples of Faith
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
By faith I will bring a more acceptable offering to God. I will not hold back or let fear be my driving force. Even though I can’t see it yet, I know God will open the door.
Worship through Greatest Miracle from the album Salvation Is Here.
Levels of Faith
1. Weak Faith (Romans 4:19) wavering on God’s promises, disconnecting from God, neglecting the relationship with God leading to bitterness and anger towards God. You give up at the first hurdle, you only see the negatives rather than the many positives. You hear the word but you ignore it and you don’t even listen. You don’t worship.
2. Lacking Faith (I Thessalonians 3:10) believing for some things or for other people but not in others or for you. Characterised by fluctuating behaviour i.e. in church for a few weeks then disappear, or giving good advice to others and encouraging them but when it comes to your own situations you do the complete opposite or you find it too “hard”.
3. Little Faith (Matthew 16: 8; 14:31) forgetting what God has done in the past, characterised by panic. Whenever you face an obstacle, you panic and worry. You may say all the right things and recall scripture but ultimately you don’t feel convinced that things will work out. This leads to treating the things of God as common (traders in the temple took advantage of the fact that it was a busy period and rather than having faith that God would provide good business elsewhere and leave the temple as holy, they didn’t have that faith the temple was a house of prayer and meeting with God, so they ended up using it for personal gain rather than worshiping God)
4. Seed Faith (Matthew 17:20) “let me try it out faith” every now and again, you decide to try out what people say and you have very little faith but you say, “what have I got to lose”. But even if it works you think to yourself it won’t always work and you are pleasantly surprised, but if answers turn out negative you say, I never thought it would work anyway. Characterised by doubt and not full conviction. (a seed represents potential and many of us have potential, as a group we have potential, every seed has potential, and seeds look good based on the thought of things to come. However, not all seeds produce the desired results. Just as the fig tree looked good, it didn’t have the desired results. As people we might look good, coming to church and saying all the right thing but are we producing the fruit which is the faith with substance? Are we just “trying it out” but all along not believing what we hear because it’s when times are hard that we realise whether we truly believe and whether there is substance to our faith!
5. Increasing Faith (2 Corinthians 10:15) as you see other people prosper and your own prayers answered, you begin to believe. In these situations, when things work out for other people, it gives you hope for your own situations. Characterised by a willingness to accept and receive teaching in church and being inquisitive about scripture.
6. Exceedingly Growing Faith (2 Thessalonians 1:3) hardships and trials do not cause you to doubt God. You are willing to endure hard times because you know that it is only for a season. Characterised by increased prayer, worship and fellowship in hard times. You run to church rather than away from church, you seek advice in all situations and are not afraid to look stupid or embarrass yourself in order to increase your faith.
7. Rich Faith (James 2:5) when possessions or lack there of or current circumstances do not dictate your state. You have faith in God even if you have nothing at all. Even when God says “no” you still love Him and believe that his will was done and that your inheritance lies in eternity therefore lack of worldly riches doesn’t bother you.
8. Strong Faith (Romans 4:20) when obstacles in our way strengthen our faith rather than weaken it. When obstacles don’t become the primary focus but like Peter, we focus on God and that’s when we walk on water rather than sink into ruin. We stand on God’s promises and we don’t doubt God or waver in our faith because we know that whatever we face, God is still on our side. Abraham never doubted that God would fulfil his promise. Your life might be full of obstacles and your mistakes and your feel like you won’t see that vision or dream come to pass but we have to trust God at His word. When times are hard and you face obstacles, having strong faith means you look to God, obey His word (bible, preached, leaders) and you wait for God to fulfil His word (no matter how long).
9. Great Faith (Luke 7:9; Matthew 8:10; 15:28) Your prayers are full of praise rather than petitions! You say thank you God more than you ask for stuff! This is because you understand that God has already given you the victory and you believe His word that no weapon formed against you shall prosper so when faced with hardship you don’t even worry because God is in control. You realise that you will have victory over any situation as long as you are rooted in the church because Jesus said the gates of hell are not going to prevail against it, and since the church are the people, you know that the gates of hell are not going to prevail against you!
10. Perfect Faith (James 2:22) This is “mature faith” when your faith is not based on results anymore but based on who God is and what His word says. You literally give your all, and all that is dear to you and you don’t question or despair because you have faith in God and His plan, even when you don’t know that plan. You only trust that in the end, all things will work together for good. Like Shadrech, Mishek and Abednego, you believe and trust in God regardless of the outcome. Glorifying god and being faithful to Him is more important than your circumstances or the results of your situations because you know that in all things, God will be glorified and He promised not to harm you. You know that God’s promises are tied with eternity so even in death, you know He can still fulfil His promises.
Pray through Psalm 14. Write out everything that God has challenged you with.