Living by Faith Within and Beyond Our Means
“We can do nothing until the Lord gives us faith to live beyond our means,
or the means to live in accord with our faith.”
No, that is not scripture, but it is a word of wisdom the Lord spoke into my spirit today as I continued in contemplative prayer over a particular issue of need. You can however hear echoes of scripture within it: “Without me, you can do nothing….It is by grace through faith…it is the gift of God.”
The faith to determine whether we are to live by faith within our means or to believe by faith beyond our means at any particular time is itself the gift of God, and is a greater faith than either.
Faith is not constrained to a certain course of action relative to any certain set of circumstances. We are so accustomed to seeing faith in terms of pressing into the miraculous required to live beyond present means that we forget that all life is to be lived by faith, even when we are living within our means. Such constraint is a product of faith’s co-opting by the knowledge of good and evil which is itself contrary to true faith.
Constraining extraordinary faith to fit all situations puts pressure on us that may not be warranted by the perfect will of God and precludes the ability to live in the state of inner rest God intended for us. The highest faith of surrender to the Father’s perfect will must superintend whether faith for “beyond our means” or “within our means” is what the Father orders in each life encounter.
Every day and every moment lived by Jesus was by faith through the Spirit within the Father’s will, whether He was miraculously multiplying bread or else buying that day’s bread from the local merchant with the coin at hand. The applicable faith regarding the provision in each situation was always there.
Jesus’ promise to His disciples that the Father would do “greater works” through them than He had through Jesus (Jn. 14:12) was set in the context of their ultimate “abiding” in the Father (Jn. 15:4-5). Apart from that abiding they could do “nothing.” This means they could not even live within their means, never mind beyond their means—apart from that abiding. This tells us that the faith for abiding is superior to the faith for the miraculous and must superintend its application.
Together with the many prophets and visionaries of old and new, I have longed to see more of God’s miraculous working in and through my life. I have uttered the familiar prayer, “Lord, increase our faith.” But my desire has been tainted with the very knowledge of good and evil earlier cited. It is that perverse co-opting knowledge that converts faith into a law of feverish bondage enslaved to impossible expectations, and then to condemnation when the expectations are not met—a fate that befell the once ubiquitous “faith movement.”
Jesus’ response to the disciples’ prayer for increased faith however was too simple: “If you have faith as a mustard seed….” The faith of the mustard seed is the superior faith of abiding. The faith of abiding is not a denial or prohibiting of the faith for the miraculous (the opposite error that befell the “deeper life movement”). It is but the governing of the expectation for the miraculous under the superior sense and trust of the Father’s perfect will in rest. Jesus was committed neither to faith for the miraculous nor apart from it. Relationship to miraculousity was not His plumb line. He was only committed to faith for the Father’s perfect will in each situation as it was to be manifested.
Could it be that if we became more committed to the mustard seed’s faith of abiding rather than to maintaining of faith for the miraculous, that the Father would become freer to actually do His “greater works” through us because He is no longer constrained by our co-opting expectations. Again we must ask, how much has genuine faith been co-opted in us by the power of natural expectation thought to be faith? Was it not the pharisaical demands “for a sign” according to human expectation that precluding the Lord’s working of miracles (Jn. 6:30; Mt. 12:38-39)?
The sooner we can come to the faith of abiding in all situations, and die to pressure of natural expectation for the miraculous in every situation, the sooner I believe we may come to experience that long desired un-co-opted faith for greater works that the Father would be pleased to execute to His glory in the situations of His appointing.
Faith for abiding will properly regulate our hearts for whether we are to live by faith within means or beyond means in every contemplation of need. It will govern unto contentment without quenching our inborn desire for the miraculous. It will keep us from the opposing pitfalls of complacent non-expectation and feverish expectation.
May our faith grow up into Him in this more excellent way.
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Page created August 16, 2014