Chapter 4

Have Faith

 

And Jesus answered them,

“Have faith in God.”

—Mark 11:22

 

Do You Have Faith or Fear?

Fear will be one of the greatest evils that you will continually need to overcome. Romans 12:21 tells us “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Fear will steal your faith and make you totally vulnerable to the enemy. When you listen to what other people tell you about what is going on behind your back, or what they believe is going to happen next, instead of keeping your eyes on the Lord and His Word—you will be overcome with fear and begin to sink!

Have faith in God’s ability and His desire to restore your relationship. Again, if you are seeking restoration for your marriage, then read each of our books filled with the testimonies of restored marriages, our By the Word of Their Testimony series, and then believe that your testimony will be added to theirs!

An example of faith: Peter. Read the account of Peter in Matthew 14 starting in verse 22. Jesus asked Peter to walk on water. If He is asking you to walk on water, are you going to get out of the boat? Watch when Peter cries out to Jesus—it is always followed by the word immediately. Immediately, Jesus spoke to them and told them to take courage. Then later when Peter began to sink and he cried out to the Lord, “Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him”! (Matt. 14:31).

Fear. A question we must ask ourselves is “Why did Peter sink?” Here’s our answer, “But seeing the wind, he became afraid” (Matt. 14:30). If you look at your situation and at the battle that is raging before you, you will sink! Peter took his eyes off the Lord, saw the wind, and the result was fear! It says, “He became afraid.” If you take your eyes off the Lord, you too, will become fearful.

Rise above your storm. Instead, keep your eyes on Jesus and rise above your storm. When you are in an airplane in the midst of a storm, it is very bumpy when you are attempting to climb above the clouds. But once the plane is above those black clouds, the flight is smooth, the sun is shining, and you can almost see and feel God there! Amazingly, from that vantage point, the clouds below (like your situation) are white, soft and smooth!

Your testimony. Another very important point is to see what happened to the others who were in the boat. (Did you forget that there were others who didn’t get out of the boat?) It says, “And those who were in the boat worshiped Him saying, ‘You are certainly God’s Son!’” (Matt. 14:33). Going through a storm, unharmed, is what testimonies are all about! Are you willing to allow God to use you to show His goodness, His lovingkindness, and His protection, and to draw others to Him? There is a great reward! This is true evangelism. Others will come to you when they are having trouble because they have seen your peace despite your circumstances.

Overcome

The wind stopped. “And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped” (Matt. 14:32). Your battle will not go on forever. Peter’s test was needed to make him strong enough to be the “rock” of which Jesus had spoken of in Matthew 16:18. The enemy (and others working for him) will tell you that unless you give in or give up you will stay in the trial forever—not true.

God never intended us to remain “in the valley of the shadow of death.” In Psalm 23, it says that we go through the valley of the shadow of death.” The enemy wants us to think that God wants us to live there! He wants to paint a “hopeless” picture! God is our hope, and hope is the faith in His Word that has been sown in our hearts. Once you establish and foster intimacy with the Lord, the “valley of the shadow of death” will feel like a mountaintop experience. As soon as this happens, the other relationship you’re presently seeking will no longer really matter, and the result will be that, very soon, restoration will happen!

Faith 

Abraham. A second example of faith walked out is when Abraham was 90 years old and still without the child God had promised him many years earlier. It says of Abraham “He hoped against hope” (Rom. 4:18). Isn’t that good? Even when all hope was gone, he continued to believe God and take Him at His Word. We must do the same.

Act on the faith that you have. “And He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you’” (Matt. 17:20).

If you lack faith. If you lack faith, you should ask God for it. There is a battle, even for your faith. “Fight the good fight of faith . . . ” (1 Tim. 6:12). And “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith . . .” (2 Tim. 4:7) “And He [Jesus] could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And He wondered at their unbelief” (Mark 6:5). You don’t want Jesus to wonder at your unbelief—instead just choose to trust Him no matter what you see or hear!

Imitators of faith. We would do well in our lives to imitate those in Scripture who exhibited faith. You can find the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews, chapter 11. We need to act on God’s promises—be “imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12). There are many women who have followed the principles found in this book who have had victory in their hopeless relationships. Their testimonies should encourage you in your faith. Believe as the song says, “What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you!” Take time daily to read all the incredible testimonies of restored relationships, and other answers to prayer, on our website at EncouragingWomen.org or EncouragingMEN.org and increase your faith in the living God.

Doubt Destroys

Double-minded or doubting. You must not be double-minded. Your mind must not waver or doubt God. “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6–8). “I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Thy law” (Ps. 119:13).

If you have trouble with double-mindedness, you need to read and meditate on God’s Word, which is the only truth! You must also separate yourself from anyone who continues to tell you something contrary to your desire to restore your relationship, but instead fuels your unbelief. And you must speak the truth to everyone always about your faith in God’s ability and His desire to restore your relationship: however, it’s best to keep what God is going to do to yourself. After you have a testimony is the time to tell everyone about it, if not, they will do all they can to prove you were wrong and they were right.

Faith without works. “But someone may well say, ‘You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works’” (James 2:18). Prove to God that you have faith by your actions. If you believe that your husband will return home, act like it: leave his side of the closet empty, his side of the bed empty, his drawers empty—and if you are still married, make sure you wear your wedding ring! (However, if you are divorced, remove your wedding rings, but wear some type of wedding band to show others that you are not available.)

If you believe that your son or daughter will be restored to you, then act like it by the way you live your life—in joy rather than in distress or anxiousness. “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” (James 2:20). If you believe that what you are praying for is going to happen, start treating that person as if they were changed!

Don’t get ahead of God. Don’t move. Don’t buy a house thinking it’s for you and your husband when he comes home. Don’t sell your home or change your child’s school thinking that will solve their (and your) problems. God is a God of waiting. Urgency is usually from the enemy. Instead, give the situation to the Lord and allow Him to change the situation suddenly, in an instant—but only after you wait for Him to change the situation His way and in His timing!

Firm in your faith. Remind yourself of those who overcame their situation and ultimately received the abundant life God promised. “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (1 Pet. 5:9). Keep the testimonies of others in the forefront of your mind, and please don’t focus on the exact details of each testimony as a way to prove that your situation is any more difficult than what they were facing. All testimonies should increase our faith in God’s ability and faithfulness to show up and change the situation and turn the heart. And don’t keep testimonies to yourself—share these testimonies with your family and friends who doubt that your relationship can be saved or that God is unable or unwilling to change those whom you love—He changed you didn’t He?

How to Increase Your Faith

The Word. How can we gain faith, or increase our faith? “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ(Rom. 10:17). Read His Word finding the promises that are there just for you. Next, read and reread the testimonies of others. Continually surround yourself with faithful women who will believe with you. Those who have stood faithful will teach you, encourage you, and hold you up during the most difficult times. Many times we find that when you feel like you are almost out of faith, you should give away what little you have left. Call someone you sense needs encouraging and give her the rest of your faith. You will hang up the phone rejoicing because God will fill you full of faith. Read First Kings 17:12–15 to remember the widow who gave her last cake to Elijah and the miracle she received!

So many women who come to RMI for help fail to reap a restored relationship because they feel they are unable to sow into anyone else’s life since they are busy struggling to save their own. This is unbiblical and contrary to God’s principles. Get yourself an ePartner (Encouragement Partner) and help her restore her relationship. If you are really serious about God moving in your life, invite women into your home for weekly encouragement, as you each share what God has done for you (currently or in the past). God used me (and others) powerfully as we gave encouragement to other women—let Him use you and see what happens! The larger the group, the larger the audience when you share your testimony!!

Obedience. Don’t forget that obedience to God is paramount to victory. Don’t forget what Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS’” (Matt. 7:21, 23). If you practice or keep doing what you now know is contrary to Biblical principles, your relationship will not be restored!

In God’s will. If your heart convicts you that you are not in God’s will and that you are not following His principles for restoration, then of course you will have no confidence and no faith to receive your request from the Lord. If you are plagued with rebellion or stubbornness, simply ask God to “break” you so your will becomes His will. This is how I encourage women who are hard-hearted, hardheaded, and/or who are unwilling to obey what God is calling them to do.

You MUST Wait

Wait for His timing. God seems to work on one thing at a time. We must work with Him in His timing, not ours. This does not mean we need to wait to pray or have faith; it only means we need to wait for God to change the situation at the proper time. Thank God that He doesn’t dump (through conviction) all my sins on top of me all at once! Just use the time while you wait to gain a deep and intimate relationship with the Lord so you will enjoy the wait rather than despise it. Many times the battle will continue to rage on your behalf; just remember, there are many battles that must be fought (and won) in the war that has come against your relationship. Just remember, “When the battle is the Lord’s, the victory is ours!”

We have the comfort of knowing that He hears us immediately, but the response may seem slow. In the book of Daniel, an angel spoke to him and gave us these insights: “From the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days” (Dan. 10:12–13). It may take some time to win the battles, so do not become weary. “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good” (2 Thess. 3:13). 

Resisting Evil

Do not resist evil. Probably the greatest weapon in your battle is that of surrender. Rather than fighting the evil that is coming against you, ride the wave of adversity. The first time I sought God for restoration I tried to withstand the evil that was coming against me and it truly was a battle. Then I learned the secret of surrendering each and everything to Him. He taught me that He clearly tells us that we are not to resist evil, but instead we are to turn the other cheek, give our coat when sued for our shirts, and walk a second mile when forced to walk one. These principles are powerful, not just to make it through the crisis, but to prosper because of the crisis. The victory to every battle is when we don’t resist, no longer fighting against evil. Isn’t that what this verse says? Read it with me.

Jesus, Himself, said, “But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two” (Matt. 5:39-41). Beloved, this is probably one of the most powerful principles in the Word of God. Yet, most Christians are ignorant of it and do the very same things the world does, and what Jesus told us not to do.

And for the few Christians who don’t fight back, they miss a blessing while they are busy patting themselves on the back. If you read that verse carefully, it does not say that we will win anything by simply not fighting back; instead, we must bless the person– by giving a coat for the shirt that someone is suing us for, or by going the second mile when someone is forcing us to go one. Simply refusing to fight back will never result in receiving the blessing God wants you to inherit. It takes blessing the other person! Here it is in this verse. Let’s read it together:

“To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing” (1 Pet. 3:8).

Because this is such an unknown, yet extremely powerful principle, we will cover more of this principle in a later chapter. Let me close now with telling you that when you realize the blessings of non-resistance, your entire life will change, forever. That should make you stop cringing when trouble comes your way!

Personal commitment: to allow God to change me and to look at evil in the light of this new truth. “Based on what I have learned from God’s Word, I commit to seeking God and His Word to increase my faith in His ability to restore my relationships. I will resist nothing but fear, as I keep my eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of my faith.”

Please be sure to Journal

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