CAN YOUR FAITH CARRY THE PROMISES OF GOD?
CAN YOUR FAITH CARRY THE PROMISES OF GOD?
Bro. Emma Okorie
I have since noticed as a Christian that it is one thing for God to make promises to believers but another thing altogether for them to have the requisite faith to appropriate or birth them. The question is, can your faith carry God’s promises in the scriptures? The faith of many is not able to carry the promises of God? He has promised to give a husband, a wife, money, there shall none be barren in the land; He has promised all that pertain to life and to godliness but the point remains, can your faith carry any of these?
I sit with my youths and enquire from each of them what he wants to achieve in life. They smile and reel out a hundred things they must complete but constantly I doubt that there is enough faith to undertake one tenth of them. One who has no faith to appropriate his desires is living in a world of make believe. It is of utmost importance to give birth to faith because time waits for no one. Before any of us knows it, age is no longer on his side and many of the things he planned to accomplish are dropped or forgotten because there is no faith to undertake them.
When God and two of His angels paid a visit to Abraham, it was not only Sarah that laughed at His promise of a child in their old age. When a man receives a promise that is higher than him, his natural reaction is to laugh in disbelief. This is the behaviour of one who does not have enough faith to carry the promises of God given to him. We easily abort our miracles when we do not have enough faith to carry them. Abraham was the first that laughed and Sarah followed suit. All too frequently men find cause to put blames on women. Adam told God that it was the woman that gave him the apple which he ate. Now God made Abraham and Sarah promise of a child and all are quick to notice that Sarah laughed. No, Abraham, reknowned man of faith, was the first to laugh. Truly, he was often an unbeliever in the promises of God. It was not only on account of the flesh and carnality of Sarah that she offered Abraham her handmaid to bring forth a child. Abraham had earlier suggested that Eliezar of Damascus, his servant, should become his heir. You easily know when the brain or faith is at work. As Christians, we often mix up the two. God was the one who told Abraham, no, not so. He told him to step out, look up and count the stars for so shall the number of his children be. God was doing all these to build up the faith of His servant already in the process of disintegration. So many of us Christians are in varying stages of losing their faith. Only by revelation can one know the degree of his remaining faith.
Abraham laughed at the promise of God indicating the low extent of his faith at the time. Genesis 17:15-23 (TLB) “Then God added, “Regarding Sarai your wife—her name is no longer ‘Sarai’ but ‘Sarah’ (‘Princess’). And I will bless her and give you a son from her! Yes, I will bless her richly, and make her the mother of nations! Many kings shall be among your posterity.” Then Abraham threw himself down in worship before the Lord, but inside he was laughing in disbelief! “Me, be a father?” he said in amusement. “Me—100 years old? And Sarah, to have a baby at 90?” And Abraham said to God, “Yes, do bless Ishmael!” “No,” God replied, “that isn’t what I said. Sarahshall bear you a son; and you are to name him Isaac (‘Laughter’), and I will sign my covenant with him forever, and with his descendants. As for Ishmael, all right, I will bless him also, just as you have asked me to. I will cause him to multiply and become a great nation. Twelve princes shall be among his posterity. But my contract is with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah next year at about this time.” That ended the conversation and God left. Then, that very day, Abraham took Ishmael his son and every other male—born in his household or bought from outside—and cut off their foreskins, just as God had told him to.”
Abraham threw himself down before the Lord and worshipped but deep inside him was laughter and disbelief. Was this not a good example of all our hypocritical worship? You are all but dead within but are still saying, “It is well.” A whole lot of things that happen deep down determine whether we succeed or not. A child was once heard saying to his teacher, “Sir, I am sitting down as you commanded but inside me, I am standing up.” God wants to own us completely, our obedience and all. Abraham fell down and worshipped God and an on-looker would think that the man accepted what he was told without question. It is doubtful that he had faith to carry the promise that he had received. Incidentally, God looks and sees our inward being. Unbelief equates the power of God with the power of man.
God asked me to teach faith to humanity and I tell you without doubt that there is nothing you ask God in faith that you cannot receive. God is working on our inside. He is not the problem, we are. God wants us to come to His level; He wants us to throw ourselves at Him. If faith is an experiment why don’t you undertake it for once? On that occasion, husband and wife both laughed at the promise of God and God also laughed. Laugh all the laugh, have all the unbelief, whatever is written in the promise of God must surely come to pass. God is not a man that He would lie neither a son of man that He should repent. Has He spoken and will He not make it good? Blessed are they that believe for unto them shall be a performance of what they have believed. (Luke 1:45) Brother, you don’t have to leave your faith at home when you go to the war of life. Your faith must be at the forefront of your belief so that whatever you desire will be accomplished. I don’t have extraordinary things in me since I was born, nothing to be desired but I tell you, faith is what has made it possible for whatever I have accomplished. Time has come for you to develop your faith and your situation will change from what it is.
Sarah also laughed. Genesis 18:6-15 “And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.” The angels had eaten in their sitting room and remembered their age long problem and need. Abraham and Sarah did not even make a request, only that they welcomed and served them. As they were worshipping them, God remembered their problem and said, “Next year I will give Sarah a son.” How often have you received a similar promise? It has come through a still small voice, a dream, people speaking to you through prophecies round about you. Why has it not come to pass? Search yourself. Circumstances and experiences have humbled you, life has treated you badly and faith is on transfer. Most times, you even begin to doubt little things you believe that God can do for you. You are beginning to say, I am just watching. Your hopes have taken a hit. This is a horrible condition to stay in. I tell you, don’t allow the devil to capture you this way because this is how he captures a number of believers who worship God and turn their worship into mere endurance. They no longer have faith that something extraordinary can happen to them. This is the time many begin to doubt and talk against miracles, healings and the supernatural. Whatever God says such can do, he doubts because the world has treated him badly.
I want the brethren to be aggressive. I want revival to take over their lives. Let the old fire return, see God as the Almighty and He will bring change as you behold Him. God said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh?” Nobody told God; whatever we are thinking is naked before His eyes. Sometimes we go to others, tell them things and beg, “This is between us.” God hears all. That burden you are carrying, that weight, God knows and nothing is too difficult for Him. Sarah denied that she lied. Our mother Sarah lied! She was afraid and lied as a consequence. All these were because of a state of unbelief they found themselves.
Where are you right now? He that cometh to God must believe that He is. Let us quit a life of trial and error. Be convinced that the promises of God shall come to pass in your life. His life is in that promise. He is a covenant keeping God. If you want to enjoy a life of prayer, let faith arise. Pray according to faith not because you learnt the doctrine of prayer. Abraham and Sarah received their promises when their faith held. The blessings of God came upon them as their faith kicked in. Would you say that it was God that kept them waiting or that there was no faith to receive the promises of God? I don’t know about you but this is the question I often ask myself, “I and God, who is waiting for the other. Is it me waiting or God waiting to give me a blessing?” Most times, I am waiting seriously while God wants to do it now. I guess I am the one that tells Him to do it progressively. Do it this way, don’t do it like that, be progressive about what you are doing.”
Romans 4:18-25 “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” One day in the process of this growth, in the process of being before God, just one day, faith kicked on. In the process of worshipping God, believing in His promises, faith kicked in. Faith cometh by hearing, hearing and hearing the word of God. Abraham became strong in faith and then stopped worrying. The reason for worrying was because there was no faith. You can be a man of God, always in church, always doing spiritual things but are still full of worry and anxiety, little things put you off. When I hear such things, I get mad more especially when it is leaders around me who have no faith. This is why Jesus did not go with everybody in His group when very serious matters were concerned. Have you bothered to find out why He always went with James, Peter and John? Why did He not take Philip, Thomas or Judas on His exploits to the house of Jairus and to Gethsemane? He took the three. Faith had to be supported and backed up with faith. The kind of dangerous and real faith men you face challenges with is important. In truth, I have never pursued after material things, they have frequently pursued after me.
From the onset of ministry, I slept on a bare mat on the floor and the wrapper I used at night to cover myself served as my window blind during the day. I did not listen to criticism because the Lord had said to me, “Anointing will put food on your table. I will meet your needs.” I learnt to move about without money in my pocket and relied on the vision because at the fullness of time, whatever I asked came to pass. As I believed God for one thing or the other, He manifested Himself. I did not look up to any man but to God and He did not disappoint me. If you are at the point where materials things bother you, you are not ready for growth but are insulting the God who called you. I have ventured into many things by faith but began by meeting failure. Beginning the Living Word Mission Hospital, we imported equipments from the United States of America but two 40ft containers loaded with medical equipment from Texas arrived Aba empty. I was sorely disappointed but did not die or bemoan myself. I held unto God. The few materials we used to start the hospital were procured locally from the market, not the foreign materials we had painstakingly planned to take off with. While beginning Rhema University, we lost millions of naira on the hands of dubious consultants until the present vice-chancellor came and put things together.
Faith is a warfare. You must prepare to fight the good fight of faith. God knows the war that is in this world and provided faith. So many good things have also happened in my life starting from nothing to something. I have now come to a point where my faith has become dangerous and I am searching for new frontiers to conquer. I cannot be intimidated by money, by material things, or by man because I know what God can do. Whatever you do, material things should not be the source of your happiness. That you know Him ought to be your source of happiness. Do not fret or worry.
Abraham’s faith eventually held and he became more dangerous that at over a hundred years, he came more alive. After Sarah died, he went ahead to marry and continued to procreate. Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning. God works in mysterious ways. Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither has it come into the imagination of your heart what God has kept in store for those who love Him. Coming out from flesh life into spiritual life, resign yourself to God. The wonderful statement that Abraham was accepted and approved through faith is not only for Abraham, it is also for us. You will be approved and made just because of your faith. This is the plan of God for every one. Wherever you are today, you can be tranfromed. Things can get better, impossibilities can be made possible and the bones shall rise again. As you trust and have faith in Him, you will surely receive your miracles.
Hebrews 11:11 (KJV) “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” Through faith, Sarah herself who had laughed, received strength to conceive because she did one thing, she judged God faithful. You are dealing with God not with man. God is faithful, reliable, dependable, God is able. She judged Him faithful. This is the only way your faith can carry the promises of God. This is the only way your faith can carry the word of God you read. Don’t limit God, don’t try to break down His power, don’t doubt Him. Stop being negative and bring down the faith of your husband or wife by weighing pros and cons calling it strategy. By grace through faith we are saved. Do not walk by sight but by faith. I don’t make my budget by sight but by faith unchored on vision. Enough of physical considerations that lead to nowhere. Time has come to believe God competely. Rise up in the spirit and believe Him for a miracle.
For those who have suffered for long and have gotten used to suffering, there is always a tendency to miscarry miracles. Luke 1:8-20 (TLB) “One day as Zacharias was going about his work in the Temple—for his division was on duty that week—the honor fell to him by lot to enter the inner sanctuary and burn incense before the Lord. Meanwhile, a great crowd stood outside in the Temple court, praying as they always did during that part of the service when the incense was being burned. Zacharias was in the sanctuary when suddenly an angel appeared, standing to the right of the altar of incense! Zacharias was startled and terrified. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zacharias! For I have come to tell you that God has heard your prayer, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son! And you are to name him John. You will both have great joy and gladness at his birth, and many will rejoice with you. For he will be one of the Lord’s great men. He must never touch wine or hard liquor—and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from before his birth! And he will persuade many a Jew to turn to the Lord his God. He will be a man of rugged spirit and power like Elijah, the prophet of old; and he will precede the coming of the Messiah, preparing the people for his arrival. He will soften adult hearts to become like little children’s, and will change disobedient minds to the wisdom of faith.” Zacharias said to the angel, “But this is impossible! I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to you with this good news! And now, because you haven’t believed me, you are to be stricken silent, unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly come true at the proper time.”Undertaking a spiritual project, I always imagine the presence of angels of God around. I am always expectant of divine supernatural appearance. The angel of the Lord appeared and began to give Zachariah goodnews but he did not have the faith. He was busy doing religious things. One would say that he was a Christian but one without faith. Things take one unawares whose faith should be at war but is not. He is only busy fulfilling religious things. The promise he received from the angel was more than his faith could carry. Instead of opening your mouth when your spiritual heart is not in the place it should be and miscarry promises, it is best to keep quiet. The angel made him dumb. Be careful how you use your mouth. Without faith, prophecies are unproductive, you cannot receive a thing. Blessed is he that believeth for there shall be a performance. Never despise prophecies. As long as you look down on prophecy it will never work for you. It only works for those who have faith and can believe. If there is no faith to carry pronouncements, what you hear are ordinary words.
2 Kings 7:1-11 (TLB) “Elisha replied, “The Lord says that by this time tomorrow two gallons of flour or four gallons of barley grain will be sold in the markets of Samaria for a dollar!” The officer assisting the king said, “That couldn’t happen if the Lord made windows in the sky!” But Elisha replied, “You will see it happen, but you won’t be able to buy any of it!” Now there were four lepers sitting outside the city gates. “Why sit here until we die?” they asked each other. “We will starve if we stay here and we will starve if we go back into the city; so we might as well go out and surrender to the Syrian army. If they let us live, so much the better; but if they kill us, we would have died anyway.” So that evening they went out to the camp of the Syrians, but there was no one there! (For the Lord had made the whole Syrian army hear the clatter of speeding chariots and a loud galloping of horses and the sounds of a great army approaching. “The king of Israel has hired the Hittites and Egyptians to attack us,” they cried out. So they panicked and fled into the night, abandoning their tents, horses, donkeys, and everything else.) When the lepers arrived at the edge of the camp they went into one tent after another, eating, drinking wine, and carrying out silver and gold and clothing and hiding it. Finally they said to each other, “This isn’t right. This is wonderful news, and we aren’t sharing it with anyone! Even if we wait until morning, some terrible calamity will certainly fall upon us; come on, let’s go back and tell the people at the palace.” So they went back to the city and told the watchmen what had happened—they had gone out to the Syrian camp and no one was there! The horses and donkeys were tethered and the tents were all in order, but there was not a soul around. Then the watchmen shouted the news to those in the palace.” The message was, “By this time tomorrow…” If you have no faith to shoulder what is going on in the church as an elder, please shut your mouth. When the pastor gives instructions how to do things, do not inject your own ideas because you are rich, a big man in material things and think you are also a big man in the spirit. Instead of discouraging others, simply shut up. All things are possible to him that believeth.
Get into the spirit, weigh what you are hearing, pray about it. I hear a song in my spirit now, “I hold not the rock, but the rock holds me…” As long as you stand on His promises, having requisite faith to appropriate it, He will not fail you. The hand of the Lord is upon you. Jesus is holding you; you are not holding the rock. Surrender all the problems, whatever the situation, conditions; surrender them all to Jesus the miracle worker. God will not disappoint you, He has the ability to change your life. Don’t kill yourself over that situation for Jesus is still alive.
God Bless You.