I have been struggling with a question of faith for quite some time now: If I believe that God might not answer my prayers, does that mean I don’t have enough faith for him to hear my prayers? (I touch on this question and a discussion of faith in this post.)
Many of the Christian bloggers and social media “stars” I follow like to make elaborate statements about God’s promises to them as written in the Bible and often taken out of context. They use these promises God might have made to the people of old like promising Sarah and Abraham a son, or deliverance for the Israelites, and twist it into evidence that God will give them the desires of their heart. I look at their writing and start asking myself: Do I just not have enough faith?
There is a church I drive past every day which posts verses or phrases on its sign outside every week. This week’s sign read: Faith is not wondering if God can but knowing that He will. As I read this sign, this familiar question burned in my heart again.
Is this true?
There is a dangerous movement that Satan is using to penetrate Christianity and spread a false gospel. It is officially called the Word of Faith theology, but even self-proclaimed students of scripture inadvertently refer to these principles that aren’t based on any biblical evidence.
In broad terms, this theology teaches that the Force of Faith is the governor of all laws of the universe, and even God is subject to the laws of this force. It theorizes that God created humans in his image, and before the fall we were able to call anything we wanted into being. After the fall we lost this ability but Jesus Christ came down to earth and became human, dying off his divinity so that we could all become little gods through the presence of the Holy Spirit. So, with the Holy Spirit, we can use this Force of Faith by manipulating anything into being, since even God has to obey the Force of Faith. Therefore all illness, sin or failure is due to a lack of faith. This theory elevates humans to God’s status and reduces God to human status.
Although few Christians even know about this theology, many allow it to penetrate the way they think and believe.
This school of thought is not biblical in the least. God alone is the Creator of heaven and earth (Genesis 1:3) and he doesn’t need faith (Mark 11:22). God made man in his image, but we are not God (Genesis 1:26-27). Only God has a divine nature (Galatians 4:8). Christ is the only incarnation of God (John 1:14).
With this erroneous theology, Satan manages to spread the lie he has been telling since the beginning of time: “You shall be as God.” (Genesis 3:5)
This lie substantiates the popular teaching in modern culture that every individual can do whatever they set their mind to. We can all decide what we want for our lives, chase it down and make it happen.
We must remember that even Jesus Christ did not get deliverance from his suffering when he asked God “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). He did not just ask once, but three times! His suffering and pain made him feel alone in his most desperate hour when he prayed “Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) just before breathing his last breath on the cross. Jesus knew God. Jesus is God.
God is not a genie, and our prayers don’t work like vending machines: we don’t put in a prayer and expect an answer or a miracle. We live in a broken, sinful world and this is not how life works. (See this previous post)
But let’s just take a step back and imagine we COULD speak anything into reality with enough faith. Do you want that ability? I’m not sure that I would want that kind of power. My faith is in knowing that God is always good and that he knows what best is for me. He can see into the future – the eternal future – and He knows what characteristics and skills he needs me to develop now so that I can be an instrument in his hand in His Kingdom. I have no idea what tomorrow brings, so how can I even imagine how my dreams and desires could impact eternity?
Apostle Peter teaches us to “humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6). We don’t know what lifting up might be, and our limited understanding could not begin to do his plans justice.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2). God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect. I want that kind of plan for my life, don’t you?
I don’t want you to think I have mastered this thought process – by no means! I have days when I think God must see me as a toddler throwing my toys around and nagging him, again and again, and again… But my striving is to get to a place where I can honestly say: “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)
I want to change the sign outside that church on my route to say: Faith is the knowledge that God CAN do it, but he only WILL if it is good for me.
If I have that kind of faith it is enough.
Whatever comes my way…
Please enjoy this touching song about surrendering to God’s will.