Biblical Answers for Faith and Trust

The Trial of Your Faith (from the book and course Faith Therapy)

As we have already seen, faith is the very basis of the salvation process, and the means for activating the spiritual power for change.  As we observed in the life of Abraham, each of us progresses from “glory to glory” as we win the trials of faith in our lives. (2 Corinthians 3:18)  At the very bottom of every solution is faith that God will meet our needs and deliver us from our fears.  Faith is the “credit” limit on our Christian “credit card.”  We can only expect God to meet our needs to the degree we are willing to trust Him.  Consequently, a clear understanding of the principles of faith and the development of faith is essential.  

Many excellent books have been written in the past discussing the issues of faith.  It is not my intent to cover all aspects of this extremely important topic in this book, but to provide a summary of the principles of faith directly from the Bible.  Unfortunately, many discourses on faith have left us without a simple, clear understanding of what faith is and how it can be concretely applied in the lives of believers.  We have already learned that the process of salvation is dependent on faith and that our progress depends on winning the trials of our faith in our lives.  In the remainder of this chapter, I will present a brief explanation of the biblical principles of faith and suggest an analogy of a courtroom trial that I believe will make this sometimes-confusing subject clearly understood.


The Bible suggests a powerful analogy concerning faith, which is based on legal proceedings.  Our fight to develop and maintain faith in our lives is similar to the struggle of a jury (our mind, emotions, will and spirit) to reach a verdict.  In this trial, we have an advocate (defense lawyer—Jesus) and an accuser (prosecutor—Satan).  Please refer to the chart at the end of this section for a correlation of the principles of faith and the steps that are taken in the legal process.


1 Pe 1:7  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:


1 Jo 2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Revelation 12:10  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 


           1.  Faith is the inner conviction that something will happen or that it has already occurred.  The Bible says that faith is the “substance of hope” and the “evidence of things not seen.”  It is because of our faith that we believe that something is true.  It is the conviction of the reality of something that has not been seen and is based on evidence similar to that presented in a courtroom.  Some types of court evidence include a person’s testimony of what they have seen or experienced, something written down or recorded, or physical exhibits.  The role of a lawyer is to convince the jury about things that they have not seen.  


Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.   


            2.  Natural evidence can lead us to believe after the fact, but God desires for us to have faith based on His Word, before something actually occurs.  Faith can be based on our senses or it can be based on the Word of God.  One might be termed natural faith and the other supernatural faith.  Natural faith is limited by the things we can sense.  It is okay, unless it contradicts the Word of God, which must provide the strongest type of evidence in our lives since God cannot lie.  An example of natural faith is the faith we exercise when we sit in a chair.  We believe it will hold us because we have previously experienced that type of chair holding our weight. 


Jo 20:27  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 


            3.  Supernatural faith in God’s Word allows us to act before we see the result hoped for, trusting in God for the outcome.  Supernatural faith is based on the Word of God or supernatural revelation and believes that it is possible to accomplish things that supercede natural laws.  An example of supernatural faith was demonstrated when Peter, the disciple of Jesus, walked on water.  If our faith in the Word of God is strong enough, it may cause us to act in the face of contrary physical evidence.  Supernatural faith counts things done, before they are actually manifested in the physical realm. 


Ro 10:14  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  15  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  16  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  17  So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.


Heb 11:17  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,  18  Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:  19  Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.       


            4.  Faith is the means of receiving salvation.  We should avoid the common misinterpretation of Ephesians 2:8 that God gives us a gift of faith to be saved.  The gift that God gives us in this verse is salvation, not faith.  This is clear from the context (printed along with this verse) and from the New Living Translation (NLT) of this same verse.  God sends preachers who give us His Word and the Holy Spirit draws us to believe the Word, but we must choose to have faith and to grow and strengthen our faith.  Of course, there is a supernatural gift of faith, one of the nine gifts of the Spirit. (Corinthians 12:9)  In this discussion, I wish to make it clear that if our faith is weak or fails, it is our responsibility, not God’s responsibility. 


Eph 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:  (AV)


 Eph 2:8  God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (NLT) 


            5.  Faith is the key to supernatural manifestations and answered prayer.

Mt 21:21  Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this [which is done] to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  22  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.  


            6.  Righteousness or wholeness is through faith.


Ro 3:22  Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;


            7.  Victory over our problems comes through faith.

1 Jo 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith.


            8.  Without faith, we cannot please God.  This is because in order to please Him, we must trust Him.  Without trusting Him to meet our needs, we will be motivated to meet our own needs; and that which is motivated by selfishness can never please God. 


Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 


            9.  Everything that is not of faith is sin.  As we have discussed before, without faith, our motivation will be biased toward ourselves, and this bias will lead us to judge and act to meet our needs, not the needs of others.  Any coming short of doing what is right is sin.   


Ro 14:23  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [he eateth] not of faith: for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin.  


           10.  The promises of God are received through faith and patience

Heb 6:12  That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 


            11.  Faith is the beginning of the process of Christian maturity

2 Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  5  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  6  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  7  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  8  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 


            12.  Faith begins when we hear the promises of the Word of God spoken to us.  In the verse below, the Greek that is translated as hearing is rhema, the spoken Word.  It means, “that which is or has been uttered by the living voice.”  This is like the giving of evidence in a courtroom.  First, we must learn to trust in God’s Word, the Bible.  As we read it, we begin to understand what God is saying to us.  When this is quickened by the Holy Spirit, it becomes rhema to us.  Of course, God also speaks to us through spiritual intuition, visions, prophecy and those in authority over us in the church.  The Word of God is the strongest evidence that exists in the universe.  In our courtroom analogy, it is the law.  Whatever the God or King of the universe says, in verbal or written form, is His law.  The Word of God is this law on which the case for faith must be built.


Ro 10:8  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;  17  So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.


            13.   We must accept what is spoken and believe it, or it will do us no good.  God may speak to us in many ways, but we must know that He has spoken a particular word to us so that we have a foundation on which to base our faith.  It is not good enough to simply read a promise in the Bible and decide we want it.  We must be convinced that this particular promise from God applies to us in particular.  When we know that God has spoken this word to us and it applies to our situation, it becomes rhema to us.  In a court case, we must first find a law, and then prove that the law applies to our case, or we do not have any legal basis for the trial. 


Heb 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].


            14.   It is the drawing of the Holy Spirit and what Jesus has done for us that helps us want to accept and believe the Word of God.  Our members of the jury (our mind, emotions, will and spirit) must choose to want to do the will of God and bring a valid, just verdict to God, the judge. 


Jo 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 

12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me.


            15.  But we are the ones who must decide to believe and to live by faith.  We are the jury that must decide the verdict concerning our lives and each specific case.  Our spirit is the foreman of the jury and our mind, emotions and will are the members of the jury that help decide the case.


Heb 10:38  Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.  39  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.


            16.    We must believe in our heart.  For the jury to convict, ideally, it should reach a unanimous decision.  At the very least, all members of the jury should be convinced “beyond a reasonable doubt.” 


Ro 10:9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  


            17.  The heart consists of the inner-most being of the man.  The heart can refer to the mind, emotions, will and/or spirit.  These make up the jury.  The agreement of these four provides a solid foundation for faith.  The verses below make it clear that our heart can consist of any or all of the four parts of our inner being. 


a.   Mind.  Matthew 13:15  For this people's heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 


b.   Emotions. Mark 12:33  And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. 


c.   Will. Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  


d.  Spirit.  Romans 2:29  But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.

1 Jo 3:20  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.


            18.  It is absolutely critical that we “know” in our spirit, in order to receive from God. Although it is important that we believe it in our mind, emotions, and will, faith in these members is not sufficient to bring results.  None of these, by themselves, is enough to bring supernatural results.  Our spirit, the foreman of the jury, must be convinced. 


1Co 2:10  But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  11  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.


            19.   In order to acquire faith in our spirit, we must persevere in prayer until we knowthat we have the answer.  Our job here is to gather and present evidence to the jury—the mind, emotions, will and spirit—until it is convinced.  This gathering of evidence is what John Avanzini has called “faith extenders” (1988).  Persevering in praying has previously been referred to as “praying through.”  The process, here, is getting our faith from our mind, emotions and will into our spirit where it will bring supernatural results.  For some, this may require only one prayer.  For others it might require a significant period of “praying through.”  


Lu 11:5  And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;  6  For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?  7  And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.  8  I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.  9  And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  10  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.  4  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  5  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.  6  And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.  7  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?   8  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? 


            20.  We can win any case in which we are accused of inadequacies or sins, because when Jesus died upon the cross, He paid the price for all of them.  As our final witness, we can call Jesus to the stand to testify that all of our sins have already been paid for, since He died for them.  In court terms, we cannot be tried and convicted of the same crime twice, especially if we have pleaded guilty and the fine has already been paid (by Jesus). 


            21.   We can win even the hardest case with insurmountable evidence against us, by using what the Word of God says concerning our position in Christ.  After all the evidence against us has been presented, we can declare that the person on trial has died!  According to Romans Chapter 6, we have been crucified with Christ, the old person that we were is dead, and we are now part of the body of Christ.  Therefore, any evidence that is presented against us concerning what we have done before we were saved can only be used to convict our “old man.”  But if our old man has died, these things cannot be used against our new man who is in Christ.  Furthermore, Christ has not and cannot sin, so there is no evidence that can be presented against Him, and we are in Him and He is in us. 


Ro 6:6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  7  For he that is dead is freed from sin.  8  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:  9  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  


            22.   After we are convinced that we know something is true in our spirit, we need to openly confess what we believe.  In the courtroom analogy, this is declaring the verdict.  Once the jury is convinced, it will vote to convict or acquit the case.  At this point, we have successfully “prayed through.”  Therefore, we should quit praying and start thanking God for the answer that we know we will receive, in expectation of the manifestation of the answer in the natural realm, until we finally see it.  In the courtroom analogy, this manifestation is the carrying out of the sentence.  Confusion seems to exist on this point.  Confession is simply declaring what we believe in our spirit to be true.  It is not denying that we currently have a problem, but that we have confidence that what the Word of God says is true and our problem will somehow be overcome.  Negative confessions or declaring that what God said will not come to pass can undermine our faith.  A careful use of the words that we speak can alleviate many misperceptions and snares to our faith.  As an example, we can confess that although we still have the symptoms of a sickness, we know that we are healed.  We are simply thanking God for our healing until it fully manifests in our life.  


2 Co 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;

Pr 6:2  Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

Mr 9:24  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.


            23.  We need to act according to the faith we have.  If we truly believe that we have something, we will act accordingly; or we really do not have faith.  If the verdict has been declared, the judge will give the sentence or penalty.  If we act according to our faith, our actions put a firm foundation under this faith that will help us resist the storms that challenge our faith. 


Jas 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  2:17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  18  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  19  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  20  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Mt 7:24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  26  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  27  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.  


            24.   We need only enough faith to overcome our unbelief.  Conviction in a court of law only requires that there must be a preponderance of evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt.” 


Mt 17:20  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 


             25.  Our faith will be tried.  Circumstances, symptoms, negative reports from doctors, etc., may bombard our senses.  These can challenge the faith that we have in our mind, emotions, will and spirit.  They are simply different forms of evidence that is being presented against us.  We must insure that the evidence that we have gathered for our faith is enough to overcome this negative evidence.  This struggle to believe God, in spite of the negative evidence presented against us, is called the good fight of faith.  Our confession and actions help us in this fight against Satan’s attacks.


Ro 4:18  Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.  19  And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:  20  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;  21  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.  


             26.  Our faith must not waver.  A double-minded man is one that is in conflict about what he believes between his soul—the mind, emotions or will—and his spirit.  This is a locked jury or one that is constantly changing its mind about the verdict as new evidence is presented, old evidence is reviewed in the jury room, or different jury members give their input concerning the case.  If the jury is unable to make a decision, it will result in a hung jury and the case may have to be retried.  


Jas 1:6  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  7  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  8  A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways. 

4:8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.  


              27.  Our lack of faith can be based on a lack of knowledge or having inadequate evidence.          


Hosea 4:6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. 


             28.  Our unbelief can be based on the hardening of our hearts.  When our hearts are hard, we allow our own biases to prevail and stubbornly refuse even to consider the evidence that has been presented because our mind is already made up. 


Heb 4:2  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.  6  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:  7  Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.   


            29.   Unbelief can be based on trusting our physical senses more than we trust theWord of God.  This is actually a lack of faith in God’s Word and demonstrates a lack of trust in God Himself.           


Jo 20:24  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  25  The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 


           30.   We might not believe because we feel we are too unworthy for God to meet our needs or answer our requests.  Peter saw himself as a sinful man, but Jesus accepted him as he was.  God accepts us and meets our needs based on what Jesus did for us on the cross, not on the basis of our own works or performance.  


Lu 5:8  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.        


            31.  Faith can be confused with hope.  Hope expects something to occur in the future, while faith expects it to happen now.  The following verse makes it clear that we are to expect the grace of God right now but that we are to hope to be fully conformed to the glory of God in the future.  Some people are always hoping for something to happen in the future, but not expecting it today.  If we never move from hope to faith, we will never acquire the promises of God.          


Ro 5:2  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 


            32.  A supernatural battle occurs between the time we have heart faith and when we see the manifestation of what we have believed for in the natural realm.  This is the time of the appeal.  It is Satan’s plan to try to get us to doubt our faith so that what we have believed for will never happen.  Even after we know that we have the answer, if we lose faith that it will happen, it will never occur.  The verdict in this case has been successfully appealed.  We see an example of this delay between the time Daniel prayed and when he received the answer to his prayer.  This is the time delay between the sentencing, and when the sentence is actually carried out.  


Da 10:12  Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.  13  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. 


               33.    At some point, we must reach an assurance that the manifestation of our faith goal will occur at a particular time or when a particular event occurs.  This has been called the “point of contact.”  In the court analogy, this occurs when, after all appeals have been exhausted, the judge declares that the sentence will begin.  In the case of the woman with the issue of blood, her point of contact was touching the hem of Jesus’ garment.


Mt 9:20  And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:  21  For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.  22  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. 


Mt 14:29  And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  30  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  31  And immediately Jesus stretched forth [his] hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?


                 35.    Our faith increases when, after patiently waiting for the manifestation of what we have prayed for, we receive what was promised.  When the apostles asked Jesus how to increase their faith, he did not suggest they pray for it.  Through a parable, He suggested that they do their duty as servants first and trust Him to pay them later.  Just as employers expect us to work before we are paid, God expects us to step out and act according to our faith before it is manifested.  After we do this, we will see the manifestation of our faith, and our faith will be increased.  When our legal system justly tries, sentences, and carries out the penalty, our faith in the judge and our justice system is increased. 


Lu 17:5  And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.  6  And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.  7  But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?  8  And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?  9  Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. 10  So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.


            36.   We have dead faith when our will stops us from acting in accordance with the faith in the rest of our heart.


Jas 2:17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  8  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  19  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  20  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 


            37.   We have perfect or mature faith when we are able to act on our faith and our confidence does not waver.


Jas 2:22  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?


            38.  We have little faith when the faith in our spirit is easily overcome by our circumstances and the fear in our soul


Mt 6:30  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?  8:26  And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 14:31  And immediately Jesus stretched forth [his] hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 


             39.  We have great faith when our faith is so strong that no circumstance or natural evidence can shake it. 


Mt 8:8  The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9  For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.  10  When Jesus heard [it], he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

15:25  Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.  26  But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.  27  And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 28  Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great [is] thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. 


            40.  We have sufficient faith when we have at least enough faith to overcome our unbelief.  A grain of mustard seed is an extremely small seed.


Lu 17:6  And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.   


            41.  Saving or effective faith is faith that meets all the requirements already discussed and brings the desired result.


Ro 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  12  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


            42.  We have no faith when we do not believe in the soul—mind, emotions, will—or the spirit.  Instead of faith in this instance, the disciples were filled with fear and doubt.  Another way to look at it is that they had no faith in Jesus and a tremendous amount of faith that the storm would result in their deaths. 


Mr 4:38  And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40  And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?


                43.  When we lack faith, fear will overwhelm us; and we will be unable to carry out the directions of God.


Nu 13:31  But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they [are] stronger than we.  32  And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, [is] a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it [are] men of a great stature.  :33  And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, [which come] of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.  


              43.  We are to use faith, not performance, approval, or worldly gain as the measuring rod of our value to the Kingdom of God.  Because of the confusing way that the King James Translation renders the following verse, it has led to an unfortunate misunderstanding even among well-respected pastors.  The context of the rest of this verse is clearly that of measuring our value to God, not obtaining a small bit (measure) of faith to be saved (as many use this verse).  The word translated as measure is metron, which means primarily “an instrument for measuring.”  The New Living Translation interprets it this way, “As God's messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.” 


Ro 12:3  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.


              44.  Jesus is the one who pioneered the life of faith and is the example we should follow.  The following verse has often been misinterpreted from the King James Translation to suggest that it is Jesus’ responsibility to begin and perfect our faith.  Even some pastors and teachers have falsely interpreted this verse to mean that God is responsible for initiating and providing faith from beginning to end.  The word interpreted as author is archegos, which means “one that takes the lead in any thing and thus affords an example,” and the word interpreted as finisher is teleiotes, which means “a perfector or one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith.”  The Amplified Bible translation, which I have included below, helps to clarify the true meaning of this verse.  This unfortunate interpretation of this verse by some pastors and teachers has been used by a few clients to avoid their own responsibility to develop and increase their faith and to blame God when their faith was not sufficient to provide victory in their lives.  


Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (AV)

Heb 12:2  Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving it maturity and perfection].  He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  {AMP)           



This is the diagram of the trial of your faith which discusses the process of overcoming problems by faith.
The Trial of Your Faith


If you have not already done so, please examine the chart on the right, where I have graphically presented these truths concerning faith as they relate to the timeline of a court trial and the subsequent proceedings.  It is my hope that this chart will help clarify many of these issues and help you, the reader, see the trial of your faith from a fuller perspective.  It is also my hope that by now you are convinced that having faith and developing it is one of the most critical tasks that all of us have in this life.  Without it, we cannot please God or be transformed and made whole.  But even if you are now convinced that you have a responsibility to increase your faith in God, how is this to be done?  This is the subject of the next chapter.  


Principles for Increasing Your Faith (from the book and course Faith Therapy)

The Bible makes it clear that not only does God want our faith to grow,  also He wants it to grow exceedingly.  Increasing our faith is especially important in our lives, because our level of faith limits what we can receive from God.  It is the foundation of the entire process of salvation.  It leads to our Christian maturity and it results in our ability to express unconditional love, which is the very essence of God Himself. 


2 Th 1:3  We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity (love) of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;


If we accept that our salvation and wholeness occurs primarily by faith, then it follows that at least part of the counselor’s job is building faith in the client.  In the story of the exodus from Egypt, Aaron and Moses attempted to build faith in the children of Israel so that they might be able to enter the Promised Land.  When their faith failed after the return of the ten spies, the children of Israel were unable to enter or conquer the land.  In the same way, it is impossible for our clients to face and overcome the more significant psychological problems of their lives without sufficient faith.


            When dealing with the growth of faith, we must realize that faith is three-dimensional:  1.  We can grow our faith in intensity and strength from having no faith, to hope for the future, to weak faith, to sufficient faith, to strong faith, to great faith.  2.  We can increase our faith from believing that God will work in one area of our lives to believing that He will meet all our needs.  3.  We can increase our faith from residing in one part of our heart (mind, emotions, will or spirit) to filling our entire heart.  Some methods for growing our faith will be primarily effective in only one dimension, while others will have a more general effect on our life of faith. 


             1.   The primary and most important way to increase faith is to build a deep, trusting relationship with God.  Sometimes people view building a personal relationship with God as a mysterious and difficult task, while, in fact, it is extremely simple.  Whatever works in developing relationships with people works in our relationship with God, and whatever works with God, works with people.  As an example, words of affection will help us get closer to our spouses in the same way that praise and worship moves us closer to God.  In order to have a closer relationship, we have to talk to and spend time with another person.  In order to get closer to God, we must spend quiet time with Him and give ourselves to prayer.  Jesus made the importance of spending time in a personal relationship with Him clear when he rebuked Martha for her excessive focus on serving Him and commended Mary for just wanting to be with Him.


Lu 10:38  Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.  39  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.  40  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.  41  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:  42  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. 


Relationships are also built by working together for a common cause.  This is the primary way that most men build relationships.  Working with and experiencing God in the work of His kingdom helps us to get to know Him and develop a closer relationship with Him.  This type of relationship development is illustrated by Jesus’ training of his disciples and the principles outlined in the best selling book, Experiencing God (1990).  In it, Blackaby explains the process of developing faith in God through working with God.  When we realize that the roots of faith are trust and that trust is build most effectively through the experiences of a loving, personal relationship, it becomes clear that the development of a personal relationship with God is critical to our faith walk. 


              2.  Building a faith foundation in God’s Word is required to begin a life of faith.  Unless the client has a strong faith in the reliability of God’s Word, he will have little more than sense-based physical evidence for what he believes.  Some denominations rely more heavily on the priest or pastor to interpret the Bible to the congregation than on having each member “be fully convinced in their own minds” (Rom 14:5) through personal study of the Bible.  This leads to confusion because not every priest or pastor interprets every aspect of the Bible in the same way even when discussing basic Christian doctrines.  Clients need something more than opinions on which to base their faith.  In order to build a basic faith in the reliability of the Bible, I use the writings of Josh McDowell, especially Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Volumes I and II (1972, 1975).  The direct physical evidence presented in these books helps the client realize that, in the Bible, he is dealing with reality, not just some unsupported myth and that he can believe what he reads.


              3.  The client must be taught the principles of faith.  Faith is the evidence of things not yet seen.  (Hebrews 11:1b)  As we have previously discussed, this evidence can take physical, experiential, written, verbal and spiritual forms, but all evidence must be based on something.  The client must be led to understand that the most reliable form of evidence is what God Himself says, since He knows everything and cannot lie.  God’s Word is even more reliable than what a person sees, experiences, or is told.  Without this foundation, changes in circumstances will overwhelm his faith, and he will be limited in what he can receive from God. 


              4.  He must learn how to hear the voice of God and not be confused with thoughts that come from his own mind or from Satan.  The Bible is clear that faith comes from hearing the Word of God.  (Romans 10:17)  In this well-known verse, the Greek word translated as “word” is rhema, a specific spoken revelation from God.  Some people become confused, thinking that this verse says that faith comes simply by reading the words of the Bible.  Instead, this verse makes it clear that in order to build faith, the words that we read must become a revelation from God to our spirit.


              5.  The client must make himself available to hear and receive additional revelation from God.  New revelation comes through hearing, studying, and meditating on the Word of God through a variety of sources.  I have found that listening to audio compact disks or tapes of the Bible is especially productive for new believers.  Quiet time with God and meditating on His Word are the first steps to greater faith.  


              6.  The client must understand that it is his job to build his faith.  Sometimes clients become confused about what they are required to do to build their faith and what God has already done for them.  I remember one client who emphatically stated that God is the only one who can give faith and since his wife had died of cancer, it was God’s fault for not giving them enough faith.  Following this train of thought, the fact that she was not healed was God’s fault and he was powerless to do anything about it.  We must be reminded that potentially God has provided everything we need, but that we are required to “work out our own salvation” first in order for God to “work in us both to will and do of his good pleasure.”  (Philippians 2: 12, 13)  God has chosen to provide salvation, to draw us by His Holy Spirit, and to bring us His Word.  It is our job to believe what He has said and increase our trust and faith in Him. 


             7.  The client must gather evidence to support the faith that he wishes to have.  The client must bring his mind, emotions, will and spirit into agreement with what he is attempting to believe.  Faith extenders are simply methods for gathering evidence to support his faith. Below is a partial list of seven useful faith extenders in each area.  (For a more in-depth understanding of faith extenders see the book Faith Extenders (1988) by John Avanzini.) 


         a.  Evidence for Mental Faith

1.   Studying and building confidence in the reliability of God’sWord

2.   Studying the Word of God

3.   Articles about faith that are written in books, magazines,  newspapers, etc. that are thought to be reliable

4.   Records of past victories, especially answered prayers

5.   Possibility thinking

6.   Physical evidence

7.   Models, pictures, maps 


          b.   Evidence for Emotional Faith

1.   Our past experience and the experiences of others (e.g. support groups)

2.   Theophostic experiences that change our perceptions of the past

3.   Trusting relationships with people

4.   Agreement with others that what we believe will happen

5.   Imagining the faith event happening

6.   Reading about the victories of others; especially heroes of faith

7.   Prayer 


          c.   Evidence for Volitional faith (or Faith in Our Will)

1.   Fellowship with those who have faith

2.   Speaking what we believe

3.   Remembering the actions of others who believe

4.   Anticipating what God will do

5.   Studying biographies of famous Christians

6.   Acting according to the level of faith that we have

7.   Acting on our faith and attempting more difficult things in other areas


          d.  Evidence for Spiritual Faith

1.   Revelation including dreams, prophecy, visions, words from God

2.   Developing a close experiential relationship with God

3.   Experiencing God’s presence

4.   Meditation on the Word of God.

5.   Walking in the Spirit

6.   Praise and worship

7.   Fasting 


            8.   The client must object to and not allow negative evidence to be presented to his heart.  Many Christians assist Satan in destroying their faith through negative self-talk, focusing on past failures, or putting themselves down.  Doing this is as foolish as presenting or allowing others to present evidence in a trial that supports the case against us.  The evidence presented against our faith needs to be limited as much as possible because it leads to unbelief and doubt.  In a courtroom, attorneys have a right to object to any evidence that either does not apply to the case, is clearly baseless or would unnecessarily prejudice the jury.  All evidence against God’s Word is erroneous and, therefore, we have a right to object to its presentation.  I am not suggesting that we are to ignore reality or refuse to face the negative issues in our lives.  We are simply to concentrate on all the wonderful things that God has done for us in the past and the fantastic future that is before us.


            9.  The client should speak what he believes is true.  Confession is a form of acting on the Word of God and it makes the truth more real to us.  When we speak the Word of God to ourselves and others, we are presenting evidence to the jury.  The more we present our evidence for faith in varied and different ways, the more our mind, emotions, will and spirit will remember and accept it as fact.  


Mr 11:22  And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  23  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].


             We cannot act one way and believe the opposite for long, so this method can change our minds; and our minds can effect our emotions and our will.  Kenneth Hagin Sr. states, “If your confession is wrong, your believing is wrong.  If your believing is wrong, your thinking is wrong.  If your thinking is wrong, your understanding of the Word is wrong.  Confession is faith’s way of expressing itself.  Faith never grows beyond your confession.  Wrong confession is taking sides against God’s Word.  Confessing that the Word of God is not true sets up defeat at the most basic level.  Right confession is witnessing for a truth that we have embraced, testifying of something we know and affirming something we believe.”  (Hagin, 1996)  I caution clients to be careful how they confess things.  Do not tell lies about your symptoms or circumstances, but tell the truth about what God has done and is doing.  As an example, “I have the symptoms of a cold, but God has already provided for my healing.  I’m waiting for my healing to be fully manifested.” 


            10.    The client should act on the faith that he has, before expecting to see it manifested.  Jesus made this clear when He responded to the apostles’ request to increase their faith in Luke 17:5.  He stated that sufficient faith could be as small as a mustard seed—just enough to overcome unbelief.  To increase faith the client must do his part first and be willing to act on what he believes before he see it.  Jesus used the example of a hired servant.  The servant has to do his part and do what his master asks (act on his faith) before he will have his needs met (the manifestation of his faith).  The client must do the work before he gets paid.   


            11.    The building block approach to faith allows the client to begin with limited faith and develop more as the project continuesIt is interesting to note that nothing is ever built without at least natural faith.  First, the builder has to believe that he can build the building.  Then, he must act on his faith to find investors and write a contract with an architect.  Once the plans are done, he must again act on his faith to sign the contract to buy the land and build the building.  If, at any point, he is not convinced the project will actually happen and he does not act, the project will stop.  Finally, in faith, he must believe that the project will be completed by a certain date and start advertising for tenants.  In the same way, we can see God accomplish great things in our lives by using our faith one-step at a time and acting on it until that phase has been manifested.  With a stronger faith, based on a recent victory, we can expand our vision and again act on our faith.


            12.  The client can join in agreement with others to strengthen his faith.  In more important court cases, other affected entities (such as the Federal Government, institutions that will be affected or have an interest in the outcome of the case, or others involved in the case) are allowed to file briefs as “friends of the court.”  These briefs give additional evidence or arguments that might influence the case.  In the same way, we need to surround ourselves with church leaders and friends that are full of faith that can be trusted to strengthen our hearts and present additional evidence for our faith.  Of course, we also need to avoid those who are filled with unbelief, who will work against our faith and object to any evidence they wish to present that will undermine our faith.


            13.  He must stand in that faith even in the face of adverse circumstances or physical evidence, until he receives the manifestation of his faith.  This is “the good fight of faith” already discussed.  When what God says contradicts what is currently manifested in his life, he must choose to believe what God says over what he sees with his eyes.  This can be very difficult, but he must have faith victories in order for his faith in God to continue to increase.


            In summarizing these principles, there are four basic ways to increase faith:  1.  We can increase our faith through a personal relationship and an ever increasing knowledge of God.  2.  We can hear, study or meditate on the Word of God until it becomes a revelation to us.  3.  We can gather evidence to support or develop faith for a particular area of our lives or for a particular part of our heart.  4.  Finally, we can develop faith through experience.  Every time we confess our faith, act on it, and receive what we have believed God for, our faith is strengthened. 


As we are assisting the client to do his part to increase his faith and to rely on God to meet his needs, it is important that we have some method for assessing the client’s level of faith as it applies to a particular need and as it relates to the members of his heart: mind, emotions, will and spirit.  I will develop methods for the assessment of faith in the next chapter. 


Steps for Increasing Your Faith


1.  Build a deep, trusting relationship with God.


2.  Build faith in the infallibility of God’s Word.


3.  Learn the principles of faith. 


4.  Learn to discern God’s voice from other voices, thoughts, or suggestions from Satan.


5.  Make ourselves available to hear and receive additional revelation from God. 


6.  Gather evidence to support the faith that we wish to have. 


7.  Do not allow negative thoughts, self-talk, or evidence. 


8.  Confess what we believe is true. 


9.   Act first, according to our faith, expecting the result. 


10.  Believe for smaller things first to have faith for greater things.


11.  Join with others to strengthen our faith. 


12.  Stand in our faith against adverse circumstances until we receive our answer.   


Books on Faith and Spiritual Growth

Watch a Video on the Trail of Your Faith and Increasing Faith (from the book and course Faith Therapy) Below:

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