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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday Sermonette - Gifts of the Spirit: Faith


There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, NKJV

The gift of faith is not the same thing as faith in God or faith that Jesus died to provide salvation to a sick and weary world. Now--I could be wrong--but I think this has to be way different--otherwise, why would it have been mentioned here? This is what I believe it is: I think this faith is believing that a miracle is going to happen even when the circumstances don't fit.

Believing that a promised miracle will occur when nothing indicates it will. First example I can think of is when Elijah prayed for rain. Not a cloud in the sky, and a drought of Biblical proportions (pun intended) was going on. It literally hadn't rained in Israel for years, but God had promised rain after the contest between the priests of Baal and the priests of God at Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). Elijah prayed and then sent his servant to look at the distant horizon to look for clouds, but none were seen. He prayed some more and then sent his servant again. Same report. This happened seven times before a cloud appeared, but then the rain came in a mighty way.

Something happened once to me, and looking back I think maybe that time was a touch of that gift too. Remember when I told you about the word of knowledge and related the story about the guy who prayed for my son to be healed of asthma? The same guy prayed for my eyes. They weren't seriously bad or anything, but the guy said I wouldn't need glasses because God had healed my eyes.

The evidence wasn't there. I was nearsighted, so I could read without glasses, but I couldn't see distances. Signs were a total blur until I was close to them--like right next to them. It had been that way since before I first got my glasses at age fourteen. At the time the guy prayed for my eyes, I was thirty-three.

I didn't have any better sense than to believe the guy when he said God healed my eyes, even though I still couldn't see squat if it was more than 10 feet away. I obeyed the law and wore my specs while driving, but the rest of the time I left them off. About a month later, I got in the car, put on my glasses as usual, and couldn't see. Wearing the glasses made me dizzy! I took them off--and I could read the signs. Cool! I praised God all the way to the driver's license bureau and told them what happened. They tested my eyes--twice!--and sure enough, they'd gone to 20-20. I could be wrong, but I think that was the gift of faith, the decision to hang in there until reality matched the prayer.

That's not to say this is what folks should always do. Faith in this case was a gift--something I didn't personally plan on. I do not believe in "pounding on the gates of heaven" until we get our way every time. That smacks to me of a spoiled child demanding a toy until he gets it. The gift of faith is given as God wills, not as I will.

Father God, I don't always understand You as well as I want to, so if I've got this wrong, I'm asking that you will clear it up for the readers and for me. I know the gift of faith is different from "ordinary" faith. Enlighten us, Lord, so that we can use the supernatural gifts You give in the right way. Lead us, guide us, grant us truth. Thank You, Lord! Amen