At the beginning of this year, I began declaring over myself, my family, my partners, and my church, “We are living free in 2023!” Do you know what separates the people who believe that statement, declaring it over their own lives and those who hear it, letting it go in one ear and out the other? Those with the spirit of faith!
Early on in my walk with the Lord, I was driving down the road and had the radio on. I tuned into an old AM Christian radio station and heard Kenneth Copeland teaching. At this point in my life, I had been working as a deputy sheriff and was transitioning into a life of pursuing God and what He had for me to do. As Brother Copeland was teaching, he shared a story about a meeting he was recently in and how someone had accused him of turning people into a bunch of spiritual hippies. He responded with, “Well, let me tell you something! I was in Detroit a few weeks ago, and while I was preaching a lady got out of her wheelchair and walked down the aisle pushing her wheelchair. Bless God, if that’s a spiritual hippie, we need more of them!”
When he said that, something came out of that radio and went into my heart. I could feel it! It was almost as dramatic an experience as when I was born again. When I was born again, the grass was greener, the sky was bluer, and everything around me and about me changed! I was transformed when I came to know Jesus, and the same thing happened when I was listening to that radio and heard Brother Copeland tell that story. What was it? The spirit of faith!
II Corinthians 4:13, We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.
While many people talk about faith, teach about faith, and endeavor to live by faith, the spirit of faith is something that must be caught, and that is exactly what happened to me while I was listening to that radio program nearly 50 years ago. The spirit of faith is an attitude, a world view. It’s not just about having faith in the Word. The spirit of faith affects the way you live your life and every decision you make.
If you put tinted sunglasses on and walked outside, everything you looked at would be tinted through the colored lens you’re wearing. In the same way, if you’ll put the spirit of faith glasses on, it changes the way you see everything. I like to say it this way–the pessimist sees the glass half-empty; the optimist sees the glass half-full; the spirit of faith sees the glass overflowing!
In Numbers 13, we find the time when God wanted the children of Israel to go check out the land of Canaan. For years, God had been working to build an image on the inside of His people about this land–a fruitful land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and a land without scarceness. Twelve men went in, but only two of those men, Caleb and Joshua, came back excited, ready to possess the land. Unfortunately, their willingness to step out and possess what belonged to them was silenced and squashed by the words and attitudes of the other ten men. From there, the doubts and fears expressed by the ten men wound up infiltrating the entire camp, and eventually, the image that God built in the children of Israel concerning their promised land disintegrated.
The thing that defeated them wasn’t the giants that they claimed to see. In fact, God never even warned them about the giants because He never saw that as a hindrance or a threat. What defeated those ten men was how they saw themselves. The image they built on the inside was not one of winning, overcoming, and conquering. They looked to the outside to see what the outcome could be. The spirit of faith begins on the inside. Learn to take the long view, and see yourself winning, overcoming, and conquering.
Joshua and Caleb exemplify the spirit of faith as good as anyone. Though they were surrounded by doubt and weakness, they never lost the image that God had planted in them. They knew that if they wouldn’t quit, they would experience what God promised them. Though it took many years, the time came when God told Joshua it was time to cross the river, so he and Caleb rose up and led the children of Israel into their land of promise.
Friend, I want to stir up the spirit of faith in you today. What is holding you back? Do you see yourself as a winner, an overcomer, and more than a conqueror? Are you holding onto the image of who God made you to be on the inside?
For any born-again child of God who has the spirit of faith, remember what Second Corinthians 4:17-18 tells us, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
If you are experiencing any kind of affliction remember these three things…
- It’s a light affliction–it may not feel light and it may feel like it’s you versus the world. However, the spirit of faith sees it as light. You’re an overcomer and more than a conqueror. Whatever you’re facing right now cannot defeat you!
- It’s momentary–it WILL change. If you won’t quit, the affliction will not outlast you. You’ll still be standing!
- It’s working for you–keep this truth at the forefront of your mindset. Say out loud every time you’re faced with it, “this is working for me.” Affliction is never enjoyable, but it comes to everyone and sweet victory is experienced when you’re still standing at the end.
Friend, I want to encourage you today. Do not lose hope. Keep that spirit of faith that you have stirred up. As we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus, the world will not look any brighter, but you will. As you walk in that spirit of faith, people around you will see it and desire it, and they’ll be able to catch it because of what is working in you.