We have been going through the book, “Loving God With all Your Mind” by Elizabeth George in our Bible Class. In a recent Class we dealt with the Chapter that teaches us to become faith-oriented in all our actions. The author teaches us that to become faith-oriented we must in all circumstances cling to the Word of God and the promises in them. We must remember what the Word of God says, pray the truth of the Word, and pray that we may remain faith-oriented while we trust that God will take care of the rest. Afterall, His Word says that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” – Romans 8:28. In essence, being faith-oriented requires us to wholly trust in the Lord. It requires that even as we pray for deliverance or relief from whatever our circumstances may be, we must have the future in view that God will do whatever He says He will do. And if everything works together for the good of those who love the Lord, whatever, I am going through must work for my good. That is why we sing the song, “I can see everything turning around for my good”. It is God’s Word and it must be fulfilled.
In his book, “Future Grace”, John Piper alludes to the future orientation of faith when he explained that faith is profoundly and pervasively future-oriented because inside a present experience of faith, the heart is picturing a future. He then added that “when faith is in fullest operation, it pictures a future with a God who is so powerful and so loving and so wise and so satisfying that this future-picturing faith, experiences assurance now.” This is to say that for those who are faith-oriented, the end point of the faith we are experiencing in the present is in the future when the Word or Promise of God is fulfilled. This future orientation of faith, which is based on the Word of God, leads to many reactions from faithful Christians. After all, Hebrews 11:1 says, “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” In being faith-oriented, we have an assurance that what we experience now will change and work for our good in the future.
So, a faith-oriented Christian, who is ill declares in faith, “I am healed in Jesus’ name.” Another one declares “I am not ill because I am healed in Jesus’ name.” Both are expressing their faith and stating what they believe will happen in the future. However, in stating the faith we must be careful not to look like we are denying the obvious. Like one of our Pastor’s said, “if you are not sick, why are you in the hospital?” Being faith-oriented does not mean we must deny the reality of our experience. Being faith oriented means we know what the reality is, but we pray and confess the truth of God’s Promise into our lives, trusting that God will always fulfill His Promise.
Elizabeth George says, “Sometimes what God has given you may look and feel like a stone or a snake. But your heart and mind must believe and trust that your heavenly Father, our good God, is working those things out for your good and according to His good purpose.” Our faith orientation must always cause us to have the end in sight. If I am presently experiencing some bondage, my faith orientation will cause me to go to God in prayer seeking deliverance and at the same time believe that my deliverance is already perfected. John Piper calls it the “substantiation” of the future. Faith realizes the future. “When faith pictures the future which God promises, it experiences, as it were, a present “substantiation” of the future.” What we expect to happen in the future as a result of our faith experience is present in our present experience of faith.
It was being faith-oriented that caused Mary and Martha to send a message to our Lord, Jesus Christ, that their brother, Lazarus, was sick. They believed that if He was there, their brother would be healed. It was being faith-oriented that led Martha to tell Jesus Christ that “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” – John 11:21-22. Observe that Martha acknowledged the situation but still expressed her solid faith in Jesus as the Son of God. That body was raised in faith and the name of God was glorified even more. – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya