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For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. ~ Romans 12:3, KJV
In the majority of today’s faith-based messages, there is an overwhelming emphasis on the idea that a believer in Christ always will have everything he/she has “named and claimed,” in Jesus’ name, as long as he/she has prayed in faith and with The measure of faith. Unfortunately, the majority of these faith-based messages are about prosperity, either in respect to health or wealth. These faith-based messages on prosperity teach that an individual will have perfected healing/wholeness or that he or she will have more monetary and/or material possessions (a.k.a., enlarged territories). The problem here is that both the health and the wealth faith-based messages on prosperity tend to focus more on God’s blessings and gifts rather than on the Giver of the blessings and the gifts.
Furthermore, faith-based messages on prosperity are diametrically opposed to the Word of God, because, in His Word, God proclaims that we who pray in the faith (as a Body of Christ member), and with THE measure of faith (trusting in the moral, righteous Truth concerning the trustworthiness and faithfulness of God), can have confidence in knowing that God not only ALWAYS hears our prayers but also He ALWAYS answers every one of them. Apostle John writes:
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever that we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of him (1 John 5:14-15, KJV).
Now, according to the New Testament’s Scriptures, God’s “Will” is that His sons and daughters please Him, and the Scriptures also tell believers that the ONLY way they can please God is by exercising their God-given measure of faith in God the Father and in Jesus the Christ (having an impassioned, never-ending love for God and a surrendered, unlimited trust in ALL that He and His Son will be and all that THEY will do for believers). Indisputably, in order for believers to be rewarded (to have their prayers answered), because they pleased God by diligently seeking God through faithful prayer, the petitioners who pray in the faith and with THE measure of faith, of course, first must be Christians, and, secondly, must be persuaded about the trustworthiness and faithfulness of their God and His relationship with His praying children (Hebrews 11:6).
While pleasing God means we must offer up our prayers in THE measure of faith He gives us in order for us to be rewarded with miracles and acts of His Providence (to be blessed, delivered, healed, and so forth), it also is true that God does not always work miracles and acts of His Providence through our show of faith. The Truth is that God sometimes answers us with a clear, flat-out “NO” to EVERYTHING we’re seeking from Him. Other times He gives us an obvious “NO” to our deliverance requests or our plea for earthly riches (worldly prosperity), but then He provides us with some kind of help (supernatural or natural) in our times of trouble so that we are able to endure our suffering and pain, or endure our poverty and lack. That is, sometimes, God will answer our prayers by NOT giving us the immediate “out” that we prayed for and, instead, sustains us through our suffering and pain, or through our poverty and lack.
Then again, sometimes we might assume that God has denied us our requests, especially when we don’t see any instantaneous manifestations of our prayers, but the Truth might be that He merely has delayed the manifestations. On the other hand, we also might assume that God has given us a flat-out NO, or that He has shown us His indifference, when the Truth might be that it is our unbelief, disbelief, and/or wrong belief that might end up causing us to miss the fact that His answer was “YES, but WAIT.”
This last point means that whenever we are doubting we also are canceling out or, at the very least, blocking any result THE measure of faith can influence. For sure, not even the God kind of Faith (THE measure of faith) can occupy the same space at the same time that our unbelief, disbelief, or wrong belief is inhabiting! Additionally, the point here is that not even the boldest, most steadfast trust in God and His promises will guarantee His faithful petitioners 100% of worldly comfort, ease, and security.
Concerning THE measure of faith God has given us, the Word of God says:
…God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. ~ Romans 12:3, KJV
For sure, no genuine Christian lacks this supernatural, post-resurrection faith; however, he or she could possibly not KNOW he or she has this God kind of faith, and this not knowing could be the reason why he or she is not OPERATING by the God kind of faith. Furthermore, according to Romans 12:3, every believer should know that God didn’t give anyone a different measure of faith; indeed, every believer received THE measure of faith! Thus, since we have the same quantity and quality of faith that Jesus has, and the same power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus relied on (cf. Romans 12:3; Romans 8:11; 2 Peter 1:1), we not only need to know this fact but also accept it—accept that we can do the same works that Jesus did (cf. John 14:12)!
This measure of faith is ALL that is required of God’s sons and daughters in order for them to obtain God’s blessings and favor. Indeed, God already has blessed every believer from the foundation of the world “…with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3, KJV). Therefore, when believers put to work THE measure of faith God has given to them, they then can rest assured that their trust in God (faith) and their belief in His trustworthiness and faithfulness will confirm for them that He does answer their prayers, but according to His Will. By the way, this faith is a spiritual blessing . . . a gift of God.
Once again, God’s Will might be that His answers might not ALWAYS be a broad “YES”—that is, that the petitioners will receive EVERYTHING they sought God for in their prayers. Likewise, His Will might be that His “YES” answers might not always come with immediate manifestations of their sought-after results. Then again, His Will might mean that He answered with a flat-out “NO,” or with a conditional “YES, but wait on it” response!
One of the reasons why so many believers do not understand that God’s answers are according to how we have pleased Him, as well as in accordance with His Will, is because so many faith-based proponents have failed to teach their followers that SOMETIMES even those who are “strong” in the faith do not get what they asked God to do for them. God’s blunt “NO” answers show that there will be times when we believers will not get ALL of what we prayed for, simply because it is God’s sovereign Will, Wisdom, and Love that we do not have what we asked! Too many faith-based proponents also fail to teach their followers that SOMETIMES God’s “NO” responses might be because the petitioners have asked Him for something that they wanted so that they could satisfy their lustful desires. The point here is that whether a “yes,” “no,” or “yes, but wait” response is given, God faithfully has answered the petitioners’ prayers, and His answers do not ALWAYS have anything to do with whether or not the praying people are asking in faith and with THE measure of faith, nor whether they have ENOUGH faith, nor whether the petitioners articulated a bold, daring, anointed prayer.
Now, it is important to note here that there is a difference between human’s sensual faith and God’s supernatural faith. The former is based on what we naturally see, smell, taste, touch, and hear (our inherited natural senses), but the latter is a supernatural gift of God, the same measure of FAITH that worked through and in Jesus the Christ, which not only causes us, who once were spiritually bankrupt individuals, to believe on the Lord unto salvation but also causes us to TRUST in the raising from the dead power that is in us. The Scripture tell us that we have in us the exact same faith of Jesus the Christ and the first-century apostles (cf. Romans 12:3; Romans 8:11; 2 Peter 1:1).
The Word of God also says:
…even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. ~ Romans 4:17
In this verse, the Apostle Paul is saying that God’s faith is beyond what we can observe with our human sight (one of the five inherited natural senses), for God’s faith operates supernaturally!
The Word of God also says:
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. ~ 2 Peter 1:1
The Greek word translated as “like precious” in this verse is “isotimos,” which means ‘of equal value or honor.’ Apostle Peter is saying, thus, that THE measure of faith (cf. Romans 12:3, KJV) we received is the same measure of Faith that worked in and through Jesus the Christ—that the our faith and the apostle’s faith IS in fact Jesus’ faith.
The Word of God also says:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. ~ Galatians 2:20
The Apostle Paul also is saying that THE measure of faith that he received was the same measure of Faith that worked in and through Jesus—that the apostle’s faith IS in fact Jesus’ faith.
The Word of God also says:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:22-23
Faith is a fruit of the Holy Spirit; therefore, FAITH becomes a permanent part of our born-again spirits. We never can lose God’s supernatural, post-resurrection faith, because “…the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” ~ Romans 11:29, KJV!
Once again, the Truth is that we, born-again believers have God’s supernatural, post-resurrection faith, which is THE MEASURE OF FAITH (Romans 12:3, KJV). There can be no doubt, then, that God hasn’t given any Christian (past or present) “a measure of faith,” for this phrase suggests that God has doled out different sizes or capacities of faith, like: little, weak, big, strong, great, or ever-increasing faith.
The faith problem, thus, never has been that some of us received smaller quantities and/or weaker qualities of faith. The faith problem is that too many of us believers do not use our God-given faith ALL of the time—in every situation! Therefore, we often do not receive EXACTLY what we prayed for, because we either truly did not trust and have confidence (faith) in God that He would do/provide the specific “thing” (miracle or act of Providence) that we prayed for, or we really NEVER had God’s supernatural, post-resurrection faith—THE measure of faith—at all!
If spiritual and pragmatic examinations of God’s Word serve their purposes, then believers in the Word of God should be able to reason that the way to get God to release His favor, blessings, miracles, and so on, is simply by ceasing to ask Him for something they already have. In this case, they would stop praying for more faith or for an ever-increasing faith. Instead, they should exercise the measure of faith that He gave to them when He gave them the gifts of regeneration and salvation.
Concerning praying for more faith or for an ever-increasing faith, no matter if the Word of God is spiritually concealed or plainly revealed, Jesus the Christ, who is the Living Word, and, as such, the One who knows EVERY Word of God, prefaces the Lord’s Prayer with these words: “…for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:8, KJV). Moreover, in the earlier verses, Matthew 6:5-6, our Lord warns His disciples to be leery of hypocrites, (the Pharisees, Scribes, and other Jewish leaders), who stand up in worship services and/or on choice street corners when they pray, because they not only want to be seen but also heard (as they usually are in earshot of the people from whom they are seeking praise). Their prayers, thus, are for selfish reasons: to get their audience to believe that they (these Pharisees, Scribes, and other Jewish leaders) know the “right words” to use when they pray, and to prove to their audience that they also know the “right things” for which to pray.
Knowing not only the Pharisees, Scribes, and other Jewish leaders’ true motives, but also the true motives of Gentile religious leaders who pray meaningless and repetitious words, Jesus the Christ instructs His disciples, saying, “…when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7, KJV). Then, later in this same chapter, Jesus the Christ, who already has said that God knows what EVERYONE needs before he or she prays (v. 8), also says that instead of praying for his or her needs or WANTS, it is more important to “…seek…first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto…” the petitioners (Matthew 6:33).
The issue here is NOT that we must NEVER say the same prayer, over and over again, nor is the issue that our prayers cannot be prayed anywhere, including on street corners. The issue also is not that our prayers cannot be long. This issue concerns our MOTIVES for praying, rather than whether our prayer is long or short, or prayed while standing or sitting in a church, or on some street. Since our motives are the issue, we constantly must ask ourselves: Are we praying for more faith, yet actually trusting in the essence of our repeated words (as if reciting them, over and over again, will make our prayers so effective that we will receive increased faith and more strength)? Are our motives for more faith about getting God to bless us with wealth, health, and/or deliverance? Are our motives for more faith about getting God not only to give His immediate attention to our prayers but also for Him to give us what we pray for, regardless of what His Divine Will is for our lives?
If we can answer ‘yes’ to any or all of these questions, then we need to know that we cannot put our total trust in mere words, as a substitute for placing our trust wholly in the omnipotent God, who supernaturally gives us His faith and His strength. We also cannot put our total trust in getting the desires of our hearts, when and how we want them to be fulfilled; instead, we need to put our trust wholly in the omniscient God, who knows just what we need and how we should have that need supplied.
Therefore, the men and women, who preach and teach that believers can “name it, claim it”; and “blab it, grab it,” have erred, especially since they maintain that those believers who have “little” or “weak” faith only can “name it, claim it”; “blab it, grab it”; or even “kneel and steal” it, when their faith is “big” and “strong”! These preachers and teachers have erred, because, in essence, these preachers and teachers are suggesting that rather than seek the God who provides every kind of anointing believers should seek Him to receive the power and the gift to pray anointed prayers, which is the kind of prayer that they believe will give them an ever-increasing faith.
For sure, God through His Word has given us instructions. He has told us to seek His Kingdom first, which means we must seek Him above everything else—above anointing, healing, wealth, deliverance, peace, pain, suffering, poverty, death, sickness, war, hunger, thirst, prison, nakedness, ministry, and so forth. He also wants us to seek His Kingdom with the measure of faith He has given to us, which means we completely must trust that He will be “that” which we need, and so much more—trust that He will be for us the great I AM THAT I AM. When we repeatedly and without ceasing exercise the measure of faith given to us, then we can EXPECT and be confident in knowing that God’s Will is to supply our every need, according to His riches in Heaven. We can EXPECT and be confident in knowing that God’s Will is going to be done in our life, the moment He grants us the petitions of our hearts.
We must be careful, however, not to put God in a box by saying that if we follow these or those steps, especially when they are non-biblically supported steps, that we will have the same results as everyone else. God promises nothing more than an assurance that He will answer ALL prayers offered to Him in the measure of faith. This answering of our petitions has been promised of God in His Word (cf.1 John 5:14-15). Moreover, God also makes it clear that He “…is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34, KJV). That is why if He responds favorably to the measure of faith exercised by one believer through his or her prayer, then He must respond favorably to the measure of faith that every believer exercises through prayer. Still, God never promises that the “same way” that He answers one believer’s prayer is guaranteed to be the “same” manner in which He will answer every believer’s prayer!
The “key,” then, if there is any “key” to getting our prayers AWAYS answered according to the desires of our hearts, rests in what we have in our hearts, when we pray in faith and with the measure of faith. If we have the heart of God, then ALL of our desires will be those that are in tune with (in harmony with) God’s desires for our lives, and we will be content with ANY WAY in which God chooses to answer our prayers. In other words, we will be satisfied with any way He chooses to bless us—for we will know that His Will has been done, that He has received the glory, and that ALL has been worked out for our good. We also will know, according to Apostle Paul, that all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Him, so for this reason we should say “AMEN” (so be it) for ALL “promises” that give glory to God through the Christ in us (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20).
Moreover, we will know, especially when His answer is “NO,” that we still have been “called” for His purpose. So, whatever discomforts, pains, sufferings, or lacks we may encounter, and however long we might have to encounter them, these are our “light afflictions” through which God will sustain us, but not necessarily remove from us, because, as Christ says to Apostle Paul and, by extension, to us, His “…grace is sufficient for…” us, and His “strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9a). Our job, however, always will be to keep the faith!
Be that as it may, we must never forget that God also encourages us, especially those of us who want to be using ALL of the measure of faith God has given to us to hear, understand, and obey His Word, for the purpose of bringing Him glory. God encourages us through His Word, which comes to us is several ways, and some examples are: through preaching and teaching the Word of God in Sunday worship services, Bible studies, Sunday school classes, etc., by reading directly from the Holy Bible, by reading written articles, essays, and the like, on the Word of God, by listening to the Word sung in various kinds of Gospel songs, or by recalling Scriptures from memory. To this end, the Word of God says:
[And I pray] that the participation in and sharing of your faith may produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good [thing] that is ours in [our identification with] Christ Jesus [and unto His glory]. ~ Philemon 1:6, AMP
We, thus, must continue to trust faithfully in God’s Word while steadfastly staying in His Word (in the Gospel of Jesus the Christ). Additionally, we must depend completely on the Holy Spirit for His power, His strength, and God’s desire for us to seek, diligently, to do only that which pleases God, which begins with knowing how to put and ceaselessly keep our focus on daily using, in every situation, the measure of faith God has given to us. By totally trusting in the Giver of every good and perfect gift, we then can stop focusing on just having faith in our rehearsed prayers, God’s blessings, and/or in His “gifts.”