John Bevere made a statement on social media that thousands of people liked. He said: “Seek deeper friendship and intimacy with the Holy Spirit more than seeking His gifts.”
I really get what John is saying; in fact, the Holy Spirit is exactly Who we need to have our full attention on in order to live the victorious and fulfilled life Jesus said we can have. The wonderful truth is that in seeking Him first, we unavoidably find ourselves in the centre of experiencing all He has for us.
God’s desire is to see us transition from living a life that is dominated by our earthly limitations and surroundings, where we are controlled by circumstances, to a life that is dominated by the atmosphere of heaven. That kind of mindset fills our lives with substance. By substance, I mean the true weighty things of life; those things of eternal value and significance. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean we must neglect our responsibilities and be out-of-touch with reality. In fact, I mean the very opposite. When our lives are full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, and we are so fine-tuned to His promptings and voice, we are able to operate in everyday life from His perspective – with His wisdom and power. Then, as we make ourselves available to operate in His gifts, we bring the supernatural atmosphere of heaven right into every area of our lives and responsibilities. The spiritual gifts of God enrich our lives tremendously, giving them true value, and (there it is again) substance. Let’s remember this kind of perspective on life is only obtainable through faith.
Dr. Matthew Stevenson drew a powerful parallel to this truth by highlighting two particular scripture references. In Hebrews 11:6, we are told that without faith it’s impossible to please God. And in Hebrews 11:1 we are told exactly what faith is…it’s the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. That substance and evidence of things unseen include the things of true value in this life. Those weighty, meaningful things that give us purpose and make us effective in all areas. So what truly pleases God is seeing our lives filled with this kind of substance, where we dominate the circumstances in our lives with the atmosphere of heaven. Lives full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, through faith, cause us to have the substance that lifts us out of being dominated by a limited earthly perspective, to God’s very own perspective.
That is what faith is, and precisely what faith does. Also, according to the Word of God, it is something that we all possess. Scripture tells us in Romans 12:3 that everyone has been given a measure of faith. It also says faith is something we can grow in. It’s something that can develop and increase in our lives. The more faith we have, the less fear we have. Faith and fear are pretty much directly proportional to each other. The less faith we have, the more fear dominates our lives. The Bible also tells us that we increase, or grow, our faith by continually hearing the Word of God.
Now, all this mention of faith, is really regarding general faith. Faith to believe for salvation, faith to believe God’s Word, faith to develop our relationship and walk with God, that’s all about having faith in God. But there is a special kind of faith that is not faith in God. It’s a supernatural, wonder-working, unearthly faith that gives us an unnatural confidence for supernatural occurrences or resource. It is the faith of God. This is the first of the power gifts we are exploring: the gift of faith.
Unlike general faith, it’s not something we can grow or develop. It’s God’s own faith that He combines with ours to perform supernatural exploits that are beyond human reasoning or ability. It’s designed to accomplish what is completely impossible for man. This is a faith that God, by His Holy Spirit, infuses into us suddenly and unmistakably, for a specific task.
It’s as though something on the inside of us rises up like an electric current or heat – with urgency. God drops an instruction in our spirits and we are so compelled to act on it immediately; without even an ounce of fear or reasoning, we do or say exactly what He tells us; and our words, carrying His faith, cause the supernatural to occur.
In the Old Testament, we see many examples of this gift in operation, but it came upon certain people for a specific purpose and then lifted. The three Hebrew boys, who were cast into a fiery furnace, told the king their God would deliver them. There was no sign of fear in them, only an unearthly confidence in their God. When they were retrieved from the furnace, not one hair had been singed and not even the smell of smoke was on them. We see this gift of faith on Daniel before and as he is thrown into the lions’ den.
In the New Testament, we see Jesus operate in the gift of faith when he fed a crowd of over 5000 people from a little boy’s lunch box of two fish and five loaves. We see it when He commands the wind and the waves to be quiet and still. It is so remarkable knowing that, since the Holy Spirit resides in us, this gift is available for us to operate in whenever we are in a situation that requires it, as the Holy Spirit releases it.
There are so many powerful testimonies of how this gift operates in believers’ lives. Kenneth Copeland speaks of how this gift of faith rose up in him to rebuke a violent storm. He also has a testimony of how it rose strong inside him to operate in the gift of miracles. Pastor Neal Reyes gives a testimony of how the gift of faith rose up inside him to command a torrential downpour during monsoon season. God told him to command it to clear out of a baseball park because there was a certain man who needed to receive a life altering word from God. If the game was cancelled because of the rain, the man would not receive that word he needed that very day. So Pastor Reyes did what God told him to do, he felt the urgency in his spirit and a fierce boldness rise up inside him as he spoke the words God told him to speak over that storm. As a result the rain cleared around that ball park. The game was not cancelled and there was an unmistakable awe that dominated the players of both teams. God gave Pastor Reyes a particular word of knowledge and as a result a man’s marriage and life was forever altered. I remember how this gift of faith operated in my husband when he had to make an offer for the building our ministry is currently occupying in South Africa, even when we had no finances to buy it. God gave him the amount and the boldness of faith; the offer, as ridiculous as it was, was accepted. After that, the Lord gave him a business plan to get that building paid for and today it’s ours, debt free.
In my own life, I remember this gift rise up inside of me like a burning fire that I simply couldn’t ignore. I was sitting in my high school classroom where our class had entered an open discussion on the reality and existence of God. I sat there listening to the absolute nonsense that my fellow students were declaring about God and how the entire debate was one sided, completely disputing His authenticity. I felt like a bottle that had been shaken and was about to explode, if I didn’t open my mouth. I had no idea what I was going to say, just that I had to open my mouth and speak. There was not an iota of fear in me; just an urgency to stand up and speak – and to do it immediately. When I did, the words that came out had such authority, clarity and conviction that I knew it was God. You could have heard a pin drop in that class room; and when I was done speaking, they all began to clap their hands. The entire atmosphere changed. I was amazed at how many students came to me and confessed they had at one time made a commitment to the Lord, but had grown cold in their relationship with Him. What the Lord spoke through me shook them out of their lukewarm state and into rededicating their lives to Him.
There is not enough time or space in this letter to tell every testimony I have heard, read or experienced concerning this powerful gift of faith; where God’s own faith suddenly rises up inside us to perform what is humanly impossible.
My prayer is that by reading these letters on the spiritual gifts, you will hunger after a deeper, more meaningful relationship with the Holy Spirit; and in so doing, be a vessel wholly filled and flooded with God Himself, operating in His gifts to connect people with His supernatural presence.