Faith is our vehicle to use God’s power. That is how God shares his power with us.
Welcome to “Inside The Cup Podcast” with Mike and Holly Walsh
Season 1: “How to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”
Episode 11: “The Power of Faith”
To the disciple that has humility, God can entrust faith. Mike and Holly take a fresh look at the meaning of faith, from the teaching of Dallas Willard. Starting with a generic faith, which is just a confidence to act as if something were true. And then with a biblical faith, where faith is a gift of God’s grace to us, which is capable of causing things that we hope for to come about and actually be, in the power of God. But it is specifically, when we act in faith, that our faith ties us into the reality which we are acting upon. And when this reality is God and his Kingdom, we are tied into a very powerful reality.
Mike and Holly discuss what faith isn’t, and how we should never try hard to believe something we don’t actually believe. Rather, as our inner character grows, God will give us faith as we are ready to handle it appropriately.
Some spiritual disciplines that can be helpful in seeking faith are discussed and include silence and solitude, as well as prayer.
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The Power of Faith | Episode 11, (07/21/22)
Season 1: How to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Holly: Welcome back to Inside The Cup Podcast. Last week we talked about humility, and we defined it as “dependence on God.” This week we’re going to talk about the next step in becoming a loving person, or cleaning the inside of your cup, which is growing in faith.
Mike: And there’s a close connection between humility and faith, so let’s talk about that. We talked about humility last week, it’s our ability to depend on God. And an easy way to think about faith is, just replace that word with trust. And if we are going to trust God, then it makes the importance of humility pretty obvious. If humility is depending on God, humility is this stance or posture of our soul that prepares us for living in faith, for trusting God.
Holly: And the degree which we have humility, God will entrust us with the equal measure of faith.
Mike: Yeah, he can only give us an equal measure of faith to the humility that we have. So, if we have very little humility, God can only safely give us a little bit of faith. If there’s a large amount of humility in our character, God is safe to entrust us with more faith. And that’s because, we’ll talk about that today, faith is actually a very powerful thing. But God isn’t, you know, being stingy with his faith and holding back. He wants to give us faith.
Holly: But if we’re like someone like Bruce Almighty, and we don’t have the character. Or we still know what we want and are just going to do what we want with our faith, it’s probably not a very safe thing for God to give us a bunch of faith.
Mike: That’s a good example. I mean, there you’ve got a, you know, a funny movie depicting what it looks like to be given faith, the power of faith, without the appropriate character yet. And that shows exactly why God doesn’t do that.
Holly: Or the appropriate level of humility, of any kind of dependence on God.
Mike: Yeah, that’s the character that we’re talking about, is the humility.
Holly: And that shows us how different steps in the character transformation process, it builds upon each other, it’s necessary.
Mike: We’ve mentioned several times now, how there’s like a hierarchy, or order to this character transformation that we go through. And it makes so much sense when you look at each step. So, with emotional maturity, coming to terms with our desires, no longer being controlled by our desires, you can see how important that is now with faith. If we haven’t grown in emotional maturity, and we’re still in bondage, or enslaved by our desires, and God gives us faith, we’ll use that faith to get what we want, to get what we desire. And in some cases, that might be something bad.
Holly: Or maybe not necessarily bad, but just foolish, maybe not in our best interests.
Mike: He always chooses what’s good for us. So, it’s actually the loving thing to not give faith to the person who’s not ready to handle it yet, who doesn’t have the appropriate character to handle it.
Holly: So, let’s start off by defining faith.
Mike: So, let’s say faith generically. So, generically, faith is just a confidence to act as if something were true. So, an example of that, if I’m driving in my car, I have faith in my gas gauge. That it’s true, what it’s reading is true. So, I’ll drive until it reads a certain level and then I’ll stop to fill up.
Holly: Or I have faith in the baby gate that’s on the stairs. And I’m ready to act that they can get close to that gate, and it’s not going to fall, and they’re not going to fall down the stairs.
Mike: Yeah, by letting your toddler walk over and lean on that baby gate, you are acting in faith on that baby gate. You’re acting as if something is true about that baby gate. And it’s the nature of faith then, that it’s closely tied to our action. It’s specifically when we act in faith on something, that that faith ties us into the reality of the thing that we’re acting on. So, we used, you know, trivial examples, like your gas gauge with driving or the baby gate. But another example of this. So, how faith ties us into the reality of something. Think about your microwave. So, I can cook food for a minute or so using the microwave. I have faith in my microwave, a confidence or readiness to act in the microwave. And my faith leads me to act, so I push a few buttons on the microwave, and that ties me into the reality of power that’s in our kitchen.
Holly: It will warm up your food.
Mike: Yeah, the result is, I get a meal cooked within a matter of seconds. Because my faith led me to act, I acted on my faith in the microwave. That faith tied me into the reality, microwave power, and it brought about a result.
Holly: So, biblically now, when we have faith in God and act on our faith in God, it ties us into the reality of God and his Kingdom.
Mike: Yeah, there’s much greater power in the Kingdom of God than there is in the microwave. But the same idea. We’re ready to act in faith in God, and that ties us in to a very powerful reality, that can bring about results.
Holly: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for,” and “the evidence of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1).
Mike: And we’re using the King James version there. The “substance,” and “evidence.” Dallas Willard suggests, he says, that “The word used here for substance is difficult to translate in contemporary English…it means the underlying reality which causes something to come about and be what it is.” So, faith is able to cause what is hoped for, to come about and actually be. It can bring things into existence. This is what makes it the “evidence” of things not seen.
Holly: So, faith is really being able to cause things that aren’t seen, to be seen.
Mike: Yeah, so go on in Hebrews 11 now, and there’s all kinds of examples laid out. So, how did Noah build that ark to save his family? How did the Israelites pass through the Red Sea as on dry land? How did King David conquer kingdoms and armies? Hebrews 11 explains that they all happened by faith.
Holly: Yeah, you think of Moses, I mean, that’s pretty big faith that God allowed him to part the seas. That his staff…and that God would just make it happen.
Mike: Well, that’s a good example. So, Moses parted the Red Sea by faith. We probably don’t look at it like that. We probably look at it, he parted the Red Sea with the staff. Right? This kind of magical staff that he had. I mean, you look at look at Moses, and think, you know, “Well yeah, if I had a stick, you know, that I could bang on the ground, and that and the sea would open.” But it’s not the staff. The staff, we could probably think of the staff as humility. Moses had humility. He was known as a very meek person, and God could entrust him with incredible power. So, if we think of our staff as humility, we could do wonderful things just like Moses could do with it. Faith ties us into the reality of the unseen or invisible Kingdom of God, and that can cause amazing things to come about and happen in the power of God. So, it’s our ability to see what is going on in the invisible world around us, and act upon it in dependence on God, in humility.
Holly: But faith is something we must develop over time, and grow in.
Mike: Well, an obvious example here is the disciples. Jesus’s disciples. I mean, we look at them, we get a first-hand account of what it looks like to grow in faith. So, in the Gospels, we see Jesus using this term “you of little faith.” And if you look at that in context, these examples, Jesus, he wasn’t scolding his disciples. He wasn’t like making fun of them like, “Oh, you guys don’t have any faith.”
Holly: A lot of times I think you read that and you’re like, “Oh man Jesus is like coming down on them.”
Mike: Like, “What’s wrong with you?” He wasn’t scolding, he was teaching. So, and…and you watch him in these. Look up these examples, and in context, he’s trying to teach them on the nature of faith, the power that’s involved in faith, and how to grow in faith. And then you move on to the later New Testament writings, and they didn’t stay there. The disciples didn’t remain “little faiths,” we actually see them accomplishing some amazing things in the power of God.
Holly: Yeah, I always think of the example, because of the “little faith,” of Peter walking on the water. But then Peter goes on, and he doesn’t remain a “little faith.”
Mike: Yeah, we look at Peter in Acts chapter 3, physically healing a man who’s physically disabled, and unable to walk. And Peter explained to those watching, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man who you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see,” (Acts 3:16).
Holly: So, how do we grow in faith?
Mike: Just like previous steps, it’s not a matter of effort, it’s not on our own, by itself. There’s going to be effort, but we’re counting on grace. So, just like humility, and emotional maturity, and spiritual maturity, if it turns out that we’re a person full of faith, it’s because of grace. God acted in our life, to give us that faith.
Holly: We have to grow in this process. So, the first step is to understand what faith is biblically, and what it isn’t.
Mike: Yeah, I mean let’s take what faith is not. Because if we have a misread or a misconception on faith, that can have us mixed up on faith, just like we saw with humility. You see people trying really hard to convince themselves that they have faith. I mean, at a certain point Dallas Willard was talking on this, and he suggested that we actually spend a lot of our time and effort in the church trying to convince people that they have faith, when they actually don’t have faith at all.
Holly: So, faith is not just trying to believe something that you actually don’t believe.
Mike: Yeah, we don’t try to have faith. Faith is something that we grow in, as our character grows or develops. So, what does that look like?
Holly: As disciples of Jesus, we’re learning to see the unseen world around us, and acting upon it.
Mike: That’s faith. And our faith will grow as our inner character grows. So, we get this interactive experience with the Kingdom of God in our everyday life. We’re learning to see the Kingdom of God, we’re learning to notice this world, and we’re learning to act on it, and that produces results. And as that happens over time, our faith deepens, our faith grows when our experience with it grows.
Holly: So, the next step is to seek faith.
Mike: And just like we talked about with humility, there are some particular spiritual disciplines or practices, we can put into practice in our life to seek faith.
Holly: One spiritual discipline can be silence and solitude. If we’re supposed to learn to see the unseen world, we need to learn how to see that world. And our everyday life, it’s pretty fast.
Mike: Yeah, in silence and solitude, we detach ourselves from the hurried pace of everyday life around us. And it’s in silence and solitude, when we intentionally practice that, we slow down so our souls can sense and experience this unseen realm, this hidden Kingdom of God. It’s there, all around us, whether we recognize it or not.
Holly: And it’s there that we can see that the world goes on, that God is right there with us. And that’s where we can actually hear.
Mike: And that’s what we’re after. We’re looking for what God is doing, when we slow down and focus our attention on that. And that’s faith. When we can see what God is doing, the Kingdom of God, and act in terms of that, we’re having, we’re acting in faith.
Holly: Another discipline for growing in faith is prayer.
Mike: Yeah, the words that we speak can be the way that we act on the unseen reality, or the Kingdom of God. So, Jesus would often accomplish great things by speaking. We can learn to act with power, by speaking words in prayer.
Holly: I always love how Dallas Willard puts things, but he defined prayer as “A power-sharing device that God has worked out for a world of recovering sinners.”
Mike: So, faith is our vehicle to use God’s power. That is how God shares his power with us, is through this mechanism of faith.
Holly: But it’s only to the disciple that has humility, that God gives this power.
Mike: So, next week we’re going to discuss the final step in this process of inner character transformation, or cleaning the inside of the cup…
Holly: And actually, we’ve covered a lot of material so far in this season.
Mike: Yeah, and we’ll be wrapping up season one next week, with death to self.
Music: Vlad Gluschenko — Travelling
License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en