Don’t Give Up the Fight of Faith
By Fred Pruitt
(A lady friend of mine wrote me in somewhat of a panic, being consumed with doubts and fears regarding what she has believed, i.e., that she is Christ expressing Himself in her being. Like many of us, this writer included, once panic sets in through fear, we begin to think the whole thing – our lives – are falling apart and disintegrating before our eyes. All it really is, is an attack on our lifeline of faith that continually flows from within us by the Spirit, coming from the enemy of our souls. It is only James 1:2-4, and 1 Peter 1:6-9, put into action by the Spirit in the daily grit of our lives. It seems like the ship is going down at first – that’s when faith rises! This is an edited version of my brief reply.)
Well, dear, you sound like you’re in a pickle, and maybe a bit of panic, eh?
You know what this is? Peter, starting immediately to walk on the water just as He saw Jesus doing, (as Jesus “saw” what the Father was doing), suddenly became aware of the boisterous waves and succumbing to the fright of them, he began to sink. But the Lord’s hand pulled Peter out.
Let me be friendly and a bit stern at the same time. Your barrage of unbelieving thoughts are not you, and it’s time you learn to stand against them. We all have to do that from time to time. Always remembering when we speak of “doing,” that “it is no longer I, but Christ! The Lord has showed you Who you are in Him, and you have believed the Truth He has showed you. So where does all this other stuff that says the opposite of God’s truth about you come from?
God calls us from the beginning to a life of faith. It does not originate with you; it comes out of God’s Spirit within you. Though I’ve heard from some that since God has already done it all, we can dispense with faith because of that, still faith continues to be and always will be an integral part of our lives in Christ. That never changes while in this life, and I cannot fathom what that faith capacity will become in the next life. But I do know that it is in and by our faith that we overcome, all of which comes to us through the grace of the Father and is operated by the Spirit within us. (And when I say, “Operated by the Spirit within …,” I don’t mean to leave our human identity out. We’re not just on the sideline watching – the Spirit is doing all this stuff AS us! Instead of being left out, we are intimately and eternally in the center of activity and Life, and 100% involved.)
Therefore, it isn’t just “you” trying to have faith, but you and Christ as one expressing and giving voice to the Truth you have heard and believed, so that it is just as Paul said in 1 Cor 12, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit,” even so do you say it out of the same hearing and believing in, of, and by the Holy Spirit.
When those words or thoughts went through your being when you first said them and even more in the continuous saying of them from then until now, it was the Word of God coming up from your depths. That’s where we make our stand – we all have to make our stand – that we are Who God says we are. In doing that we don’t receive all those thoughts that say or insinuate the opposite of what we have heard in our hearts from God.
For you, I would first recommend that you just read over what you wrote me and notice all the places in which you express fear, panic and temptation to unbelief. At each one of those spots why don’t you say the Truth about yourself as the Spirit has revealed it in love, peace, gentleness, affection, passion and affirmation, rather than suspicion, disbelief, denial, guilt or anger?
Take Jesus at His simple Word: “Don’t be afraid. Only Believe!”
To solidify the “life of faith” in us, every one of us experiences various degrees of the “fight of faith.” We duke it out with the negative, the self-accusations, the fragile appearances before us that we suspect can disintegrate in a moment if we take a wrong step or say a wrong word. But let me tell you, the Spirit walks us through it, and brings us out on the other side!!! It is the Truth!
That’s where I believe you are at the moment, dear. So please be at peace. He has not left you. You may think the waves are about to engulf you and all those you love, but He is still the Life of you, and has no intention of letting you drown or any of those around you. Just as He pulled Peter out of the boisterous waves, so He doesn’t let you sink either!
I can tell you these things, but you must take them for yourself and stand on them! That’s how truths go from theoretical and objective, to inwardly real and subjective. It’s how the Truth that God gives, becomes YOUR Truth. Just as Paul said, “According to MY gospel.” It’s no good as somebody else’s truth. Owning it by inward belief and confessing it verbally is God’s way by the Spirit in us according to our brother Paul (Rom 10:6-12).
To give you hope, there is another side, there comes a day we discover the gift of His fixed (complete, permanent) faith and fixed inner consciousness of Who we are, all coming from God, not up in the sky but out of the depths of our hearts. There does come a time when these things are settled in us, and it is by these negative circumstances and trials such as you describe, that God settles us as inwardly “fixed” in Him (Heb 5:13). Your Day is here!
It is in you now! Acknowledge it in faith as the Spirit leads in His perfect timing. We learn not to panic when all those accusations come our way, because we have learned that it really is true, what we have believed, and that truth withstands all of the winds and the rains and the lightnings and thunderings that come attempting to wash freedom away. We learn that He bears it in us as us, and doesn’t just bear it, He causes us to have the faith that overcomes because of it. (1 John 5:4,5).
Hang in there!