“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:
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;” (Romans 4:19-20) (ESV)
Abraham is the focus of the above words. Here, we understand the components of being weak in faith and of being strong in faith.
That one can be weak in faith also means he can be strong in faith. So where do you fall in that classification?
This is not determined by God, but you do something about it. We are told that we should be strong in the Lord, it is another way of saying we should be strong in faith.
We cannot see the Lord, so to be strong in faith is not a matter of what is physcial, but something spiritual. There is no relating to the spiritual except by faith.
And with the example of Abraham, he did not allow what God has told him to be just “one of those things” that can be said.
He held on to it with his two hands. He was strong in faith, giving glory to God. he was not weak in faith considering what is seen.
Paul giving a recipe for being strong in faith, said: we look not at things which are seen but things which are not seen.
The things which are not seen are real things. And in the final analysis, they are more real. They are the things of the glory of God, and Abraham was strong in faith giving glory to God. When he thinks about what God has said, he regarded it as a done deal and rejoices in advance.
We learn from Abraham that what you “consider” will determine if you are weak or strong in faith, i.e. what you fix your heart on.
Abraham did not consider his body that was dead or the deadness of Sarah’s womb.
The challenge of faith is to move from what is known to embrace the unknown as stated in the word of God. And as we have said, faith is about the word of God, not your speculation or assumption or wishful thinking.
If Abraham followed natural thinking he could not be strong in faith. If he was looking at his body, faith will take wings.
Faith is also at the point of what he wanted. Nobody can force you to have faith in what you do not want. So Jesus said whatever we desire we should ask and we should have.
So the faith training for Abraham was on the point of what he wanted and God made a promise to him about, and what he saw in the physical showed that God will have to act to make his word come to pass and that is the stuff that strong faith is made of.
God said that the word that has come forth from his mouth will not return to him void but shall accomplish the task it has been sent to do.
Faith and the word of God are intertwined. That God said it means God has faith that it will come to pass. When you sync with him, you are saying: let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, let the rule and order or heaven be manifested on the earth.
Some have told us that when Jesus said have faith in God, it means have faith of God. It is faith derived from who God is, and what he has said. There can be no strong faith without strong relationship with God.
God releases his word and depended on the word to create the reality for which it has been sent forth and God rests from his works after speaking forth the words.
Coming into the rest of God in the book of Hebrews is attached to faith, to standing firm in faith.
God made us in his image, so we need to learn how he works, to walk with God as we have shared means to sync with him at the faith channel.
Since the worlds were framed by the word of God, nothing works except the word, either written or spoken.
As Jesus said: man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
The bible says, who says it and it stands if God has not spoken it? Therefore to not agree with God is tacit rebellion. It is to call him a liar. Jesus said that he will be a liar, if he did not say about himself what is true before God, trying to be religiously correct before the Pharisees.
You cannot contradict the word of God, and walk with him at the same time. So the carefulness of faith is to ensure that we prioritise the Word above everything as the only wise God. And God leads us into deeper and deeper end of his word, so that we can become stronger and stronger in faith.
You have to line up with His word, line up with His kingdom. Jesus said that the man who hears his words and does them is like one who builds his house on a rock, and that house stands. That is a picture of strong faith- a house built on a rock.
It starts with hearing. So we need to put ourselves in the position to hear then agree and line up with it and consistently so.
With what Jesus said about doing his word to build our house on a rock, we know that testing comes to faith, but strong faith will remain standing after all is said and done. The testing comes in rains, storm, winds that Jesus said will confront both the house built on the sand and built on rock.
The testing of faith come in two ways ways:
Time asks the question: will you stand in faith even with the passage of time?
Abraham passed the test of time. He was promised a child and he stood in faith even in old age.
Will you continue in the hearing of faith, confession of faith and the action of faith on and on and on into infinity?
The bible urges that we should with faith and patience obtain the promise. Patience is the language of time.
Look at Abraham as the example of faith. We are supposed to live in the realm of God and act as if there is no time between when we stepped out in faith, made a confession of faith, ask in prayer in faith and when we actually receive it.
Faith is a spiritual substance. That it is spiritual means it has no regard for time. So as one in faith, we move away from the time to the spirit and as Abraham gave glory to God, he moved from time to eternity and eventually time lined up with eternity as Abraham’s strong faith passed the test of time.
Options ask the question: can you settle for less
Many people fall behind at this level of testing of faith. And Abraham is not an exception: he opted in for the option of sleeping with the servant.
A lesser option that may not be so bad comes to test faith. It was an option that will cut short the time of waiting, but it smelled all over of the effort of man and it was rejected by God. And when God will bring his answer to Abraham it was by his word.
The devil offered Jesus the glory of the earth, if he could just bow down and worship him, it was an option. But Jesus was strong in faith speaking forth the word of God to him.
When the test of option came to Jesus he was strong in faith, not weak in faith, was not a push around for the devil.
To be strong in faith does not mean getting result. If it were just that then Abaraham would be applauded for impregnating Hagar.
If it is about getting result quickly, Jesus needed to be chided for not bowing to the devil.
Rather than be strong in faith in God to deliver them from the fire of the Nebuchadnezer, Shadrach Mechach and Abednego could have taken the option of bowing down to the image.
They were pressed to shift their position of faith in God but they stood strong.