Only by His Grace: Part 2
September 20, 2018
September 20, 2018
The Focus of Your Faith
So where should you focus your faith as you watch increase come into your life? Paul writes in Ephesians:
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph. 2:4–9 KJV)
Grace is appropriated through the operation of your faith.
But here’s where the hang-up is for many people. They think they’re focusing their faith properly by simply concentrating on the promises of God. Since I need healing in my body, since I need provision in my finances, since I need wholeness in my marriage, I should focus my faith on that area and the promise will manifest.
That’s not quite right. The Scripture teaches that grace has to be the focus of our faith for any of the benefits of salvation to come our way. Once you have made grace your focus, then the power can work that will bring the benefits of salvation, which include healing, provision, and many other things.
Yes, you need to know what God’s promises are and you need to believe them. You need to believe the Bible’s truths about healing. You need to know it’s a done deal in the spiritual arena. Proverbs 23:7 says a man is as he thinks (or believes) in his heart. Jesus said it’s going to be unto you not according to the color of your skin, not according to your socioeconomic background, not according to your educational level, not according to your job opportunity, but according to your faith! And the Word says that we need to focus our faith on God’s grace.
Defeat Evil Tendencies
How can we do that?
Well, I’m glad you asked. We focus our faith on God’s grace by knowing that the primary application of the grace of God is to help us defeat every evil tendency. The Word will produce fruit if there are no evil tendencies to inhibit that fruit production. God sent the Word and healed them all—not a few, not occasionally, but all! When you hearken diligently to the voice of God’s Word, your gold and your silver are going to multiply, your flocks and your herds are going to increase, you will build goodly houses. That’s a fact because the Word produces results on its own.
But if you have an evil tendency in your life, that tendency will stop you from seeing the promise of God manifested in your life, even if you believe what the Bible says is true. Evil tendencies inhibit the Word’s production; they are things that take us away from the Bible’s principles.
We live in an unregenerate body of flesh and deal every day with a carnal nature that will inhibit the will of God from unfolding in our lives. We have to be genuine in acknowledging our own shortcomings and then use our faith to apply the grace of God to it.
An evil tendency might be described as having a hard time extending forgiveness, or getting caught up in resentment and bitterness, or simply being easily offended. If you have any of these tendencies and you don’t deal with them, there is no point in praying for your marriage or your relationships to work.
This is where the body of Christ has missed it. We’ve tried to orient our faith just toward the promise of God without recognizing that His grace is given to us, first of all, to destroy every evil tendency. Hallelujah!
When the battle comes, you need to examine yourself with some degree of honesty and see if you have an evil tendency you need to deal with. Do what the Bible says: Examine yourself whether you be in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). And when you find something that you know is not right, be man or woman enough to acknowledge it to God and say “I know my motive isn’t right, Lord. I know my desire is not right. I shouldn’t desire that thing.”
Yes, the Word tells us there is a due season for the Word to produce fruit, and so this is not to suggest that if you’re in a battle right now, then you have an evil tendency that you better deal with. That may not be the case. That’s why you take time to examine yourself.
If you do see an evil tendency or even the root of an evil tendency, deal with it by saying, “Lord, I have this evil tendency that I know is robbing me of the fruit of the Word of God. So I hold this up to you and I focus my faith on Your power and Your grace. I will rejoice in the certainty that when adversity comes, it’s an opportunity for the power of Christ to rest upon me.”
Deal with evil tendencies. Focus your faith on God’s grace, which helps you overcome those tendencies, and the benefits of salvation will shortly follow.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
(James 1:2–4 KJV)