May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. Rom 15:13 AMPWhat a revealing verse this is. All joy and peace come when we are truly believing and trusting in God, and real godly hope is the result. But I was so far removed from peace, joy and hope that my mind was in complete turmoil most of the time, and there surely was no faith in that. I had been duly trained in the “word of faith” movement for decades, believing that the more I spoke the Word, the more I would believe it. But it just wasn’t working. Now there’s a key word- “working”. It took me years, and some seriously deep problems recently to wake me up to the fact that I had not been in faith, I had been in works all these long years.
The word of faith message teaches you to stand on the Word, which obviously is a good thing, but like anything else, most people are going to turn it into a formula and work it. And work it, and work it until you keel over. And works will lull its victims into a stupor as the Galatians were when they were drawn into works:
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Gal 3:1-3 KJVPeople want a formula, a list of things to do that will make them feel spiritual, and I fell for this one big time. As the problems seemed to grow and grow, and my multiple lists of scriptures got worn out with use, my mind was being taken over with fear, anxiety and panic. And all this in spite of all the Word I had fed in there. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, what else can I do??
The panic got so intense, and the thoughts of finding something else to do got so loud that I finally realized I was in works. All these years I thought I was in faith. I tossed my scripture lists aside and walked off, thinking, God, this is Your problem, not mine. I was exhausted. Finally, I had done all I could do. I had worked the faith formula until I could work no more.
A couple weeks after that, I was led to Rom. 4, the chapter I have heard preached by faith preachers for years. But I was seeing it differently now:
Abraham believed in (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness (right living and right standing with God). 4 Now to a laborer, his wages are not counted as a favor or a gift, but as an obligation (something owed to him). 5 But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to God). Rom 4:3-5 AMPReading through this, it absolutely hit me in the face. This is when I realized how snared I had been by works. There is no real faith, no trust and no righteousness when you are trying to work a formula. I had been truly laboring all those years, and it had completely exhausted me.
At that point, the Lord finally got through to me. And it all became so simple- He told me to just simply start thanking Him. The Lord has shown me the power in thanksgiving to bring me into that place of peace and rest, and it has been such a wonderful discovery. I have finally learned to just simply start thanking God IN my circumstances-
Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 1 Thess 5:18 AMPI am just now, after all these years, beginning to see the power in this verse. I am learning to stop the worry before it gets off the ground with thanksgiving. A thankful heart immediately takes the focus off the issues and puts it onto the issue fixer. So in the interests of not allowing my heart to be agitated and distressed, I am beginning to really trust God, and real godly hope is at long last starting to take root in my heart. The key is to jump on worry fast and get my brain over into thanksgiving before the fear has a chance to take over.
I remember the old saying, Let go and let God. Well, I can say I am off of the wide path and free from the bondage of the word of faith works machine and I am now on the narrow path of truly trusting God. And I am beginning to really enjoy the peace and rest that is in believing.
Update: I have been very faithfully sticking with my decision to stay in thanksgiving. Even in the shower when thoughts of "what can I do" start to creep in, I find myself just clicking over into thanksgiving, and it seems as though that gives faith a chance to rise up inside and take over. It's all the grace of God that I am still trusting Him at all. God is good.
Photo is mine.
Scripture Promises- Fear Not
Scripture Promises- God Is Faithful
Scripture Promises- Healing, Provision, Salvation
Trusting God and His Word