Many individuals and our nation as a whole are walking through a season when the Lord has removed the things in which we had trusted for the future. No matter what the circumstances are, the Lord is our provider. I’m hearing this phrase, “the just shall live by faith.”
The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. Deut 11:10-12 NIV
We are going from reliance on ourselves to trusting God for the rain that brings our provision. What does that mean? “Living by faith” has had the connotation of miraculous provisions from other people. God has something better. It includes the miraculous, but we also need to be aware of its practical ingredients. Here are three.
The wisdom of proverbs – There is a spirit of wisdom and understanding that touches the emphasis in proverbs. The ability to create wealth and do ministry flows through some very practical areas… work, integrity, service, generosity, diligence, counsel, vision, business plans and planning, and cash flow. There are dozens of character qualities related to wisdom that produce fruit. We need those in our lives to find the miraculous intervention of Jesus as our provider.
Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of the righteous. Prov 13:21 NIV
Kingdom purpose – Life begins to flow or work when we connect with our hearts and find the overlap with what’s in the Father’s heart. We each have a purpose that we are required to find and seize. We have traditionally missed the point of looking in our heart and finding out that it’s something we enjoy and are good at. Dreams do come true; good things come to those who love Him. It takes trust and work, but there is some land with your name on it. That’s the place where you will be fruitful and happy. Sacrifice and obedience don’t fully describe how the Kingdom works. The Kingdom is in our hearts, it’s a place of righteousness, peace and joy, and it’s not just words — it’s power. Finding our place in the Kingdom is a huge source of God’s provision. Everything else is like swimming against the current.
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:28-34 NIV
Refining by fire – The good character of a righteous life and getting connected with the Kingdom purpose in your heart isn’t the whole story. God simply tests all of us. We enter the Kingdom through the door of being patient in tribulation. We simply can’t mature spiritually without the same kind of discipline our children need… painful at the time, but fruitful in the end. We have to know in our heart that it’s coming, so that that it doesn’t feel like judgment or rejection from our Father – it’s His love. Trials, shaking, hardship and trouble all draw us deeper into the Father’s heart.
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. Deut 8:2-5 NIV
Deep levels of character, maturity and exciting levels of anointing and ministry always go through the fire. We may think it’s all real, but what’s left after the “Day” is the real quality of each man’s work. The Lord Jesus is wise, loving, sharing, inclusive, and a consuming fire. The fire is not pleasant at the time, but it yields the fruit of purity, brokenness and the sweetest kind of righteousness there is.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Cor 3:11-15 NIV
Living by faith – Living by faith has no room for trust in our own integrity, good works, or anointing in ministry. Jesus wants our eye on Him. It is fun to be a player in the Kingdom. Character does count. The anointing you feel is real. Jehovah Jirah will lead you into a place of abundance in life and finances, and your ministry cup will overflow. But, even though we are faithful, anointed and wise, His path for us will go far from our personal control and comfort to a place of trusting only in Him. It’s a good place to be – out of the boat, walking on the water, occasionally sinking, and receiving His hand of resurrection.
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. 38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” Heb 10:35-38 NIV
The world is shaking in many ways, but we are receiving a Kingdom, and becoming Kings who cannot be shaken. That’s why we count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2). We’re growing up in Christ. The testing is short-lived and it represents God’s promotion to the next level in the Kingdom. He is our provider. We have some good news that many are hungry to hear. We’re not waiting for heaven, we’re here to change the world. You will make it. Not for a moment will you forsake me.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.” Heb 12:28-29 NIV
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NIV