Monday 22 November 2010

Faith Greenhouse II - by Daniel Yordy

Daniel writes
November 21, 2010

I have wondered recently, do God's people really like God? Or do they prefer a God of their own definition, going through the Bible and picking those things about God that fit their present inclination, either negative or positive, either grace or jeopardy?

I want to write an article called "Love is a Consuming Fire," before returning to the final three articles of my series, "The Unveiling of Jesus Christ." But I don't like losing people, not that anyone belongs to me in the first place. The majority of Christians, who prefer the jeopardy side of the New Testament, don't read my stuff anyway. But those who hear the grace side of the New Testament don't stick around when I share those things that God says in the New Testament that are not pleasant to the ear.

People cannot say to me, "Daniel, you're teaching things God does not say." Rather, they say in one way or another, "Daniel, don't teach those things God says that we don't care for. Teach the things God says that we prefer to hear."

Consider this one word, "that you might be filled with all the fullness of God." I can't get away from such a word, yet almost all Christians avoid it like the plague. The more you teach it, the further it goes. It has gotten so big for me that it has swallowed up everything else God says inside itself. Yet I see no end or limit to its reality through us on this earth.

And so I have this problem. I find it to be, for myself, an act of immorality to chose the things God says that are suitable to myself or to others and to use those suitable things to speak against the opposing things God also says. I am unable to use Christ to speak against Christ. I am unable to sweep under the carpet anything God says.

For thirty years I wanted to speak the things God planted in my heart, but was unable to do so. Now, I have this little window, this small ability to write to a few and to post Christ in me on the Internet. I can endure loneliness; though it is as the wearing of sackcloth, yet I can bear with it.

But what I cannot do is to pass from this life, to stand before my God, and to hear Him ask, "Daniel, why did you not speak the word I planted in your heart?" And to answer Him, "Because I was afraid."

That I cannot do.

It's not a matter of "I'm right and others are wrong." That's an irrelevant thought. It's a matter of my sharing all that Christ is in me, and allowing others to do with it whatever they will.

In this article, I want to share with you the incredible capacity that faith has to connect with Almighty God and with all that He speaks.

To read this letter on the Internet: Ever Increasing Faith
PDF Version for printing and distribution

Ever Increasing Faith by Daniel Yordy
Strength/skill is the capacity of the physical body to do work. My body is holy, and I can love God with all of my strength.

Knowledge/wisdom is the capacity of the mind to do work. I have the mind of Christ, and I can love God with all of my mind.

Faith is the capacity of the spirit to do work. I have the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith works by love.

These three things are the same, each in their sphere. When faith working by love is in its rightful place in our life, then the strength/skill of the body and the knowledge/wisdom of the mind also find their rightful place. But faith is not something we have understood well. We use our physical strength and our mental knowledge and wisdom to do work and to accomplish good things in the world all the time. But faith, at least for me, has in the past always been a sideshow, something private and personal, maybe, but certainly not a way in which I accomplish good things in the earth.

In a dream the other night, I saw the seeing and the expectation of God. I saw that my capacity to expect God equaled God's freedom to move through me into this earth. I saw that if I expected God very much, God would be and do very much. Faith is the seeing and the expectation of God. God Himself is Love moving through faith.

Then I understood that faith is a capacity of spirit that is the same as strength to the body and knowledge/wisdom to the mind.

The body is the simplest of the three. If I wish to be strong, I must do two things; I must eat what is nutritional and I must exercise in some way. A man who wants to be as strong as he can be will exercise endlessly, building up his muscles until he can accomplish great feats of physical strength. On the other hand, physical skill is developed differently. It takes at least a few years of practice to become well-skilled at some physical action. I am a woodworker and am skilled with woodworking tools and processes. I gained that skill by working with woodworking masters and by practicing over years.

The development of the capacity of the mind to do work is a much larger endeavor than the development of the body. We devote years of life to the acquisition of knowledge and more years to the development of wisdom. Knowledge is learned from books and teachers; wisdom is gained more from experience. Our society places great value on the acquisition of knowledge, with a path of 16 years of learning things placed before our children.

But a mind that is healthy is always seeking to learn, to increase its understanding of the physical creation and of the world and how it works. A mind that says, "I know all I need to know, I am not open to learning anything new," is a mind that is closed. There is a stupor of dumbness sitting upon it, and we are right to be concerned about such a condition.

We increase our knowledge by study. We increase our wisdom by study as well, only a different kind. Wisdom is gained by studying consequences and other people's reactions. Knowledge studies the immediate, facts and data and information; wisdom studies the long-term, it looks at the end result.

The development of the capacity of the spirit to do work - faith - is a much larger endeavor than the development of the mind. The development of faith in its capacities and workings in order to do good in this world is far more important to our lives and our future than the development of physical strength and skills or the development of knowledge and wisdom. Yet we hardly know faith; it has not played a role in our work life.

It is time that this changes for us.

Jesus said that faith is like a mustard seed. It starts out quite small. And for a period of time, it continues quite small. Yet the tiny plant coming out of that tiny mustard seed never stops growing. It simply gets bigger and bigger until it is as large as a tree.

Faith is supposed to work in the same way.

But strength only increases if it is exercised and trained. Knowledge and wisdom only increase with application and study and much reflection. Faith only increases if it is exercised and trained. If we do not use faith to accomplish work, faith cannot grow.

The strength of the body has a limit. We can increase strength to a certain level, but if we push the body beyond its strength, it will perish. Physical skill has a larger limit, but we understand that we can't learn to do everything. We limit ourselves to those skills that are necessary or that we enjoy.

The capacity of the mind to learn new things has no limit. However, our increase of knowledge and wisdom is sporadic and slow - bit by bit. We increase knowledge, one might say, by addition.

The ability of faith to accomplish God's will in the earth is without limit, since God is without limit.
More than that, once we discover faith, that faith is a capacity of our spirit in the same way that knowledge is a capacity of the mind, we see that faith grows, one might say, by multiplication. The more we see God move through our faith, the more excited we are to see God move and the more we expect God to do what He says.

The disciples cried to Jesus, "Oh Lord, please, give us faith. (Increase our faith.)" This is what my students want. They want knowledge of how to write to simply flow into them by virtue of their presence in my classroom. They want to learn by osmosis; just plug in the hose and pour the knowledge in.

It doesn't work that way, that's why Jesus gave the disciples such a cryptic answer.

You want strength? Exercise and practice. There are no magic pills that give us strength.

You want knowledge? Study - yourself. I can guide my students, but I can never "make" them learn.

You want faith? Exercise and practice.

Now, all of our human makeup comes to us from the Lord Jesus Christ. Our spirit and the Holy Spirit are one spirit. The faith that we walk in is the faith of Christ Himself. The life that we live in the flesh we live by the faith of the Son of God who loves us and who gives Himself for us.

Nevertheless, faith is not different from strength or knowledge. We increase our faith by exercise, by the right "nutrition," by practicing, by study, and by experience.

But here is the incredible thing about faith. Faith will grow. Our faith will grow so large that the glory of God will move through it and cover the entire earth. There is no limit on faith because there is no limit on God. To say "this far and no more" is to kill faith. Faith is either growing or retreating; it never sits still.

We use our physical strength and skill to alter the physical nature of things. I take raw lumber and I use my skill to shape it into a kitchen cabinet or into a home. People make use of my work and it brings benefit and blessing into their lives.

Strength is that which walks in the Way.

We use our mental knowledge/wisdom partly as a guide for our physical strength. The skill of my hands can run a saw to cut a board, but the knowledge of my mind can place that board where it goes in the larger pattern of a house. We also use our knowledge/wisdom as an extension to others. We share wisdom and knowledge with others to help them guide their own lives.

Knowledge/wisdom is that which pursues the Truth. But whereas strength is fairly simple, the pursuit of truth is more complicated. You can either lift a weight or you can't; you can either cut a straight line with a skill saw or you can't. But knowledge/wisdom is not the same because of the world in which we live.

God says two things about this world that must always bear upon our understanding. He said that the whole world lies under the sway of the evil one and that the serpent deceives the whole world. The fabric of the world in which we live is woven by a whole series of lies, big and little, all of which flow out of the big lie from the beginning.

An honest heart, a heart that is faithful and true, cannot bear to live under lies. There is a dullness that comes upon the minds of those who are content to believe and live under lies. They cannot learn and they reject the truth the moment they hear it. They have all kinds of witty sayings that have been fed to them by the lie that they use to shoot down any thoughtfulness or any honest pursuit of the truth.

Truth is not a welcome thing in this world, neither that truth which exalts Christ in us, His dwelling place, nor the truth that exposes the deceit of this world. Those who speak the truth, all the truth as God speaks it, are very lonely people.

But faith is larger than strength/skill and knowledge/wisdom. The capacity of our faith to do work in this world is without limit. We use our faith to prove the will of God in both heaven and earth.

Faith is that which births Life.

Strength walks in the Way, wisdom pursues and reveals the Truth, and faith births and gives Life. All of it is Christ.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." "Christ is made unto us wisdom." "The life I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God."

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

We no longer see ourselves as some entity or "self" separate from Christ. Therefore we look always with expectation to Christ planted in us, and we never judge ourselves as "carnal" nor do we see any part of ourselves as being something other than the good things of Christ inside of us.

Even when we blow it and treat others in hurtful ways, still we walk always in the full knowledge of the Blood and we measure ourselves and others only by all the measurement of Christ. Christ Himself transforms us from the inside out; transformation comes no other way. What we judge, we become; what we measure is measured back to us.

Let's focus now on faith. Up until now, I wanted to establish the understanding that faith is a capacity of our spirit to accomplish work that must be exercised in the exact same way that strength and knowledge must be increased by exercise and by study. Yet, just as the mind works differently than strength to accomplish its purpose in doing good, so the capacity of faith in our spirit operates differently than the mind or the body. Yet faith also works to accomplish good in the earth and for those whom we love.

Few Christians live by faith.
I did not begin to live by faith until about four years ago. Yet for decades I walked with God, learning of His ways, following after Him to know Him. I heard His voice, I sought Him in the night watches. I believed in Him with all the tenacity of my heart.

But I did not live by faith. Rather I lived by an unending stream of curses flowing through my mind. Curses that spoke shame, and "You are carnal, brother," and separation from God, not in big ways, but in little ways. We do not live by the big things of "faith," we live by the little things of faith, the everyday thought patterns. I always expected the curse. I never expected God's favor. I did not live by faith. God carried me, yes. Faith was in me as a tiny seed, yes. But I did not practice faith because I did not walk in the confidence and expectation of God.

I am, for the first time in my Christian experience, coming into a knowing of "ever increasing faith." In the past I would read about men of faith, including Smith Wigglesworth (about whom is the book of that title), but I would see the faith they moved in as something far separate from myself. Faith was something I longed for, but it was distant and unknown.

Knowledge was the same way for me. Once I was free from the darkness of my teenage years, when I was 21, I heard that the fellowship to which I belonged had started a college. In my heart, I longed to go to college. I did not know how much I loved to learn; I did not understand myself. But I secretly wished for college. I thought, "Maybe I can volunteer to help build the buildings at the college, that way I could be near it." But the idea that I could actually attend the college to learn, I could not quite believe. I was 28 before I sat in my first college class, and my insatiable desire to learn has not diminished since.

In the same way, I did not know faith as a way of living until the last four years. That knowledge of an "ever increasing faith" comes to me from two avenues. One is my practice of speaking what God speaks in the New Covenant - of speaking all that He speaks. I do not have the liberty that most Christians take, of speaking only those things God speaks that they like or approve of. I cannot limit my speaking to those things God says that are acceptable in today's world of "sensible thought." This is very heart-wrenching because so many of God's dear saints prefer to pick and choose. They want some of what God says in the New Testament, but not all. So when I speak the things God says that they have chosen to disregard, I lose their fellowship.

Truth is always a lonely path.

But the other avenue through which I have learned to think in terms of the expectation of God is by sitting under Joel Osteen's ministry. Joel continues to teach me how to think God's favor in the everyday parts of living instead of thinking God's curse.

Now understand - most Christians and most Christian theology demands that we think God's curse over our lives in all the practical little ways of thinking. I was taught for years in the move that to think curse over myself was godly and to think favor over myself was ungodly. Yes, faith was taught in the move, powerfully, but the mixture always came out on the side of thinking the curse in the everyday things with faith reserved only for the big things of life.

Joel Osteen teaches me how to think God's favor - the expectation of God in all things - in the little everyday thought patterns of daily life. Speaking what God speaks teaches me to expect God in power and in might in all of His fullness moving through me. We cannot have one without the other. If we do not expect God in the little patterns of our daily thoughts, we will not expect God as He reveals Himself in glory in the earth.

Faith is the expectation of God. Faith is that capacity of the human spirit through which God moves into His creation. Unbelief, that is, faith in the curse, keeps God out of the earth. Faith allows God to show up in creation. That's why faith is the only thing that pleases God. Faith makes God present. Unbelief keeps God absent.

Faith makes Christ - all that God speaks - personal in me. Unbelief keeps Jesus back then, up there, someday, far away from me. Faith sits itself boldly in the throne of God, remembering always the Blood. Unbelief remains in the outer parts of God's house, always inspecting itself and judging itself guilty of some fault and unworthy of God's authority.

Faith sees the Creator, the Redeemer, the Resurrected Christ inside the heart. Unbelief sees selfishness and deceit inside the heart.

Now, here is how faith works. Our two older children are now away from home. My wife and I extend God's favor over their lives in the expectation of faith. We are always expecting God to show up in their lives in wonderful and surprising ways. We are always expecting God to keep them from evil. When we hear reports of difficulties they face or of foolish things they might do, we do not drop into fear. Rather, we continue in the full expectation that God holds them firmly in His grip and that He is working all things together with them for good. When we hear reports of God speaking to them or of favor and protection coming their way, we give thanks, but we are not "surprised." That is what we expected all along.

I did not teach my son to "fear" sin. Rather, I taught him to understand the normal course of human life in this world. I taught him to understand the passions and turmoil that pass through him. I taught him that I, also, had gone through the same things he goes through and that these are normal. I taught him to always walk in confidence in God regardless of any mistakes. I taught him that mistakes are normal and that God is our Savior.

I do not fear for my son.

On the other hand, too many Christian parents raise their children under the spirit and teaching of fear. They are "afraid" of sin and its consequences, so they extend that fear over their children. But fear is faith in the curse, it is expectation. In the minds of too many Christian parents, sin is the powerful one, always close by and the Savior is distant and far away.

Thus when the children go out, they go out under the covering and the expectation of fear. But that fear places Jesus far away from their personal innards, far away from their gut. Therefore sin is the only thing they can know. Even if they may not do outward acts of "sin," they are still living in sin because they are not living in faith.

Rather, with my son, I taught him that Jesus is in his gut and that sin is peripheral. Thus he goes out under the covering of the expectation of faith, that His Savior will always be billowing up from within him all the time and in so many wonderful and unexpected ways. Should he sin - and what young man does not do foolish things? - then he is free to immediately place his foolishness into the Lord Jesus and to see only Christ in the midst of himself, and God keeps him.

But my wife and I, by the exercise of the capacity of faith in our spirits, continue to extend a covering of confidence and expectation of God's favor and goodness over our children, and we continue to hear the evidence of God showing up in their lives. We expect nothing else.

Joel Osteen is spoken against by so many Christians because they believe that godliness equals thinking under the curse. They believe that to think God's unlimited favor over our lives, that He always does wonderful things for us and in us and through us, exceedingly abundantly beyond what we ask or even imagine, in the everyday circumstance of our lives, is to practice an "ungodliness." They think that to imagine curse and lack and limitation over themselves and others is an expression of Christian "faith." And they are always able to find a handful of verses to argue their point and to keep themselves at arm's length from God. "God in His heaven" means it's well in the earth. God in the earth - not good at all.

Now, we understand that the purpose of physical strength is to accomplish physical work, for both need and enjoyment. We understand that the purpose of mental ability is to accomplish mental work, for both need and enjoyment. We understand, then, that the purpose of spirit ability, faith, is to accomplish spiritual work, for both need and enjoyment.

If I got a job using my physical ability to make cabinets, I could expect about $12 - $15 an hour in pay. If I work at a job using my mental ability to teach writing, I receive $37.80 an hour, which is at the low end of pay for mental ability. Mental skill pays about three times as much as physical skill. The work of faith pays far more. Obviously, we don't receive monetary reward for the work of faith. But we look at this comparison to understand the range of value that we bring into people's lives through our various capacities to do good things.

As believers in Christ, we are always engaged in good works, we cannot think any other way. We engage in good works physically, mentally, and spiritually. But our use of the capacity of faith to bring blessing and benefit to other people is of far greater value than what we can give through strength or through wisdom. However, James makes this clear - we never imagine that we are doing someone good by "faith" when we refuse to give a cup of water to one who is thirsty. In other words, faith does not eliminate using our strength to give; rather, it lifts the giving of our natural strength to a much higher level. Thus, when we give a cup of cold water, an act of physical strength, our faith also is continually imparting the river of life and the person who drinks the water to quench thirst is receiving far more from us than they immediately know.

Now, the final and most important comparison between the three capacities to work that we possess is this. Physical strength makes use of physical objects to benefit others. Mental ability uses facts and experience to benefit others. Spiritual ability - faith - uses the Word God speaks to benefit others. There are physical things; there are mental things; and there are spiritual things. Substance, in the heavenly realms, is the Word God speaks. The Bible, that is, the words on the page, is only the physical outworking of the reality of the Word God speaks that is heavenly substance.

At the beginning of my 19th year, God brought me back into a relationship with Himself and lifted me out of the harsh darkness of my teenage years. Over the next few months, the desire of my heart came free once again from the shadows that had hidden it so deeply. I wanted to be married. I wanted to be married, but I knew that I was completely incapable of accomplishing such a thing and I was afraid that maybe God had condemned me to celibacy by His "will."

Near the end of my 19th year, in the fall of the year, I was lying on my bed with a sense of the closeness of God. I cried out to Him, "Oh God, what is Your will for me? Can I be married?" He spoke to me then as He has spoken to me occasionally over the years. He said, "What does My word say?" I answered Him back with the only verse that came into my mind, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." He replied to me with these words, "Is not My word My will?" That was the first understanding I had that God had placed His will for me already inside the desires of my heart.

[Do you know, most Christians teach and believe that the 'will of God' is something we won't 'like,' that it is completely other than what is in our heart to do. That is we are 'doing the will of God' we are going against ourselves. I can only testify of the destruction such thinking always brought into my life and the continual joy that comes now out of knowing that my Savior and I are one person, that we share the same joy.]

But I did not know that my wife was 13 at the time, living in a large Christian community in Mississippi. I had never been to the South, nor did I have any knowledge of her whereabouts. I did see her briefly, for the first time, when she was 15 and I was 21.

Seven years went by after God spoke to me that His word is His will. Then, again in the fall of the year, God spoke to me that Maureen was the wonderful woman He had chosen for me. But I could not talk to her and she could not talk with me.

Seven more years went by until the September when she walked down the aisle to take her place by my side. Two days before that wonderful moment, I stood before the congregation and I said these words, "Now I know that God does what He says He will do."

There was no possible way I could have won a wife except by a miracle from God. And there is no possible way I could have come out of the limitation and the difficulty of that path God Himself appointed for me except with the expectation of my loving and loyal wife. God ordained the path I have walked and He formed the one who would fit me so perfectly.

My conviction that God will do all that He has spoken in this earth, in this age, in our lives, right here and right now, personally and real in all fullness in us comes out of the strength and reality of God in the most important thing of my natural life.

Those who do not practice faith in all that God speaks cannot prevent God from doing what He says through those who believe Him. All they can do is keep themselves out for this time.

Faith is the capacity by which we expect the fulfillment of every word God speaks in our lives in all fullness. Through our faith, God Himself moves into the earth. The work of faith is to prove the will of God in the earth. "They will be done on earth as it is in heaven." God's will is all that He speaks fulfilled in the reality of this earth and this present age.

Let's take the word of the resurrection to see how God's people respond to what God says. God says that we are already raised with Christ in His resurrection. God says that we are groaning and hoping for a resurrection of the physical body that has not yet happened. God says both words, clearly. Unbelief responds to God in one of three ways. The most common way Christians deal with what God says is to put it all off to "heaven." That way we don't worry about any of it here and now, God's contradiction does not matter.

But those who move beyond "back then, up there, some day," those who desire to see the kingdom revealed now in them, pass through one of two further developments of unbelief. They see the contradiction in what God says, and so they choose to take sides, to pit God against Himself. They reason that if one is true, then the other cannot be true. They imagine that their reason is smarter than God.

The most common of these two developments of unbelief is this claim. "Resurrected with Christ right now is just 'positional truth.' Which means it's not really true in us right now, which means that we have to 'make' our 'position' our experience. So long as we don't 'see' the reality of resurrection, we must labor to make it real." This realm of unbelief is very effective at calling God a liar and putting us in charge of our salvation.

The other development of unbelief is this claim. "Since we are already resurrected with Christ, that is the only reality that exists. There is no proof of resurrection in the physical realm. What God says about groaning for a resurrection that has not yet happened is either to be interpreted 'spiritually' or, better yet, ignored." Fewer people choose this path of unbelief, but it also effectively calls God a liar while claiming deep spiritual insight for itself.

What is wrong with believing both words God speaks?

Yet I find this continual reality. It makes no difference what thing God says in the New Covenant, someone somewhere will find another verse God also says and use it to argue that I have no business teaching what I just taught because their chosen "set of verses" says different. Yet I also teach their set of verses equally as God speaking along with the 'opposing' things God also says. I lay the two side by side all through my teaching exactly as Jesus did, exactly as Paul did, exactly as John did.

Let me give a piece of advice. This is what I always did. When I heard someone teach truth from the New Testament that was not in agreement with what I thought God said, I did not go through the Bible trying to find verses to 'defend' my understanding. I did the opposite. Whenever I heard something that God clearly spoke, that I had not considered before or that did not fit with my understanding, I would start with Matthew and work my way through to Revelation, writing down every single verse that agreed with the other point of view. I have done that so many times.

I have always needed to know all that God speaks. How can I live any other way? I'm too weak and frightened to invent my own God. I'm simply not smart enough.

Those who believe in grace only must write down every word in the New Testament that speaks jeopardy without trying to 'explain those verses away.' Those who believe in jeopardy above grace must write down every word in the New Testament that speaks grace only without trying to 'explain those verses away.' Let God speak both words and let what He speaks stand.

So how do I receive the word God speaks concerning resurrection? I receive all that God speaks by faith. Am I fully resurrected right now? Absolutely. And I speak that reality with all confidence. Do I groan and long for a resurrection of my physical body that has not yet happened? Absolutely. And my faith, my expectation of God expects God to move out of eternal heavenly reality and reveal Himself in power in the physical realms of time.

Unbelief in anything God speaks, no matter how eloquently or how fervently argued, cannot prevent God from doing what He says in and through those who expect God in all that He speaks. I'm sorry, they are just not strong enough to box God out.

Faith sees God. Faith expects God in all that He speaks, in every word proceeding from His mouth, that He does what He says in us in this age and in this earth in all fullness. In every word that He speaks, in the negative and the positive, in the pleasant and the harsh, in the sweet and the painful. In all that God speaks.

Faith expects God in fullness in the flesh; faith cannot expect anything else.
Related to these seeming paradoxes of the Word
The Vision/Picture  of the Suspended Orb

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