I love what Tiz says: “For every mountain, there’s a miracle. For every problem, there’s a promise.” My wife can teach and preach! But that is because she lives it and walks it out in everyday life. You’ve read Tiz’s in-depth teaching on faith and watched our family’s miracles by the moment unfold. Just in case you are still not totally in the fight of faith, I want to come alongside you now for the remaining chapters of this book and help you fight like a real Christian soldier!
The Fist of Faith
I don’t like the mindset that Christians are supposed to be sweet, mellow, wishy-washy people. We ought to be kind and full of love, but that doesn’t mean we let the world and the devil walk all over us. Before I gave my life to the Lord, I was a street fighter. When I became a Christian, I didn’t become a sissy. I’m still a street fighter; it’s just that I’m fighting the devil instead of people. The Word of God tells us to take the kingdom of heaven by force. “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12
You see, the devil is going to come against you, but the violent will take the victory over him by force. There are times when you are fighting the adversary that you must raise your fist of faith and knock down that giant that is blaspheming God. Faith is a muscle. If you use it, you get stronger in your faith, and if you don’t use it, you get weaker in your faith.
When my family was attacked with these recent health challenges, righteous indignation rose up within me in a violent, take-it-by-force way! Everything within me rose up to fight, conquer, and overcome these battles! I felt as if I were in a boxing match and had gotten sucker punched. I felt as though the wind got punched right out of me. But I immediately caught my breath and went to war.
In the physical realm, there was not a person or thing to fight. In the spiritual realm, there was plenty to fight! I’m going to teach you in these next chapters how to gird up and fight your own challenges; overcome the attacks against your life, family, finances, and future; and win every battle that ever comes against you!
God’s men and women are not to be angry, violent, and out of control in destructive ways. However, we are meant to be angry against sin and injustice; be violent against the enemies of God and His people; and focus our intensity on faith-filled constructive ways that change the course of our lives and of the world for the good and the glory of God!
But faith can also be a negative force. Sometimes because people don’t know how to fight a difficult battle, they become stronger in negative faith. Sometimes being negative is just a habit or pattern. We need to recognize it and its destructive force in order to counteract it and release the constructive force of positive faith. You and I want to be strong in positive faith. Do not limit God!
Is Anything Too Hard for God?
Romans 4:16 calls Abraham the father of faith, and the father of us all. Let’s look at just one day in the life of Abraham and his wife, Sarah. On this particular day, the Lord Himself and two other men or angels showed up at their home. Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent and saw them coming. Let’s pick up this story in Genesis 18:
Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” So, he said, “Here, in the tent.” And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore, Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh!”
Now, most people who tell this story always tell the part where Sarah laughed, but if you go to the previous chapter, you’ll see that Abraham laughed at this promise as well. Genesis 17:17 says, “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’” This makes me wonder why it is that today when we share this story, we always talk about how Sarah laughed and didn’t have faith. But here is Abraham, who is later referred to as the father of faith, and he laughed too!
The Appointed Time
Let’s look at Genesis 18:14 one more time. The Lord said to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son” (emphasis added). How many of us have prayed and prayed and prayed about something, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen? It’s almost there, but we give up right before God’s appointed time. If you are in a difficult battle right now and you have prayed and believed God, but you haven’t yet seen victory, I want you to remember that God’s ways are not our ways, and God’s timing is not our timing. Sometimes it takes what God sees as “the fullness of time” or “the appointed time.” You see, patience that is developed in waiting for your answer from God will bring you to a perfect work of God in your life: “…knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:3–5
I love it when I pray and God answers immediately. Sometimes He does, and I love that! I love it when we pray, God’s already sending the answer, and before the prayer is finished the answer is already there. But there are times when God wants to do more than just answer our prayers. This is what it means in James when it says, “Let patience have its perfect work.”
You know what? God can do something for you. God can break this through. We are tempted to rehearse all the reasons why it can’t happen. How can it happen? Have you seen what the economy says? Have you seen what the newspapers said? Have you seen what this report says? Have you seen what that cancer diagnosis says? Let all men be liars, but let what God says be true! Don’t limit what God can do. It’s called faith.
Faith takes boldness, courage, and deliberate choices. When we choose to take the limits off our God, the limits come off our lives, circumstances, and futures! Each step forward in faith takes us to new levels of confidence, dominion, and authority in the spiritual realm. Each victory develops and strengthens our faith and trust in God.