Faith to Overcome
Can faith be used to overcome obstacles?
"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: (2) And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith." (2 Thess 3:1-2 - KJV)
In the first part of the scripture above the Apostle Paul request that prayer be made so that the Word of the Lord might have free course. There are a couple of important points about this request that I think we should all understand.
First of all, what is "free course." The implication of this statement is for the Word of God to be unhindered or that the Word of God can operate without resistance. The second point that we need to understand about this request is the basic fact that in order for the Apostle Paul to request this obviously means that the Word of God can be hindered. There are times and places that the Word of God does not have free course. Therefore, it is safe to assume that if the Word of God does not have free course then there will also be hindrances to the effectiveness of what the Word has been sent to accomplish.
There is an obvious implication to this verse regarding wicked people who want to stop Christianity. Countries like China, Pakistan, and parts of Africa where wicked and violent men do everything they can to stop the Word of God. We should continue to pray for these areas so that those who live in them will have access to an unhindered Word. However, that is not the point of this article. I would like to talk about the hindrances that occur within the church community. Notice the very last statement in the verses I have posted. Paul makes a very profound statement in that he said, "for all men have not faith."
When we consider the hindrances to the Word of God within the Christian community we have to remember what faith is capable of. Jesus said, "If thou canst believe all things are possible." In this statement Jesus removed any limitation from what the Word of God can accomplish. Therefore, any time we dumb down the Word of God by saying "that doesn't happen today" or "be realistic" then we are not giving the Word of God free course.
Let's consider a few other scriptures for just a moment. We will start by a very familiar scripture that most can quote which is found in John 3:16:
."For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
Most would agree that having faith in Jesus, according to this verse, brings eternal life. The term "whosoever" means whoever will believe. This promise is made to everyone that will believe in Jesus. Pretty simple, right? Now let's look at another writing of John found in 1 John 5:1:
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God..."
It is easy to see that this verse starts out in the same context as John 3:16, however as we focus on the words "is born of God" let's jump down to verse four and see what John also says about this person who believes:
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
According to John, the person who believes on Jesus is an overcomer! This simple faith of believing moves us into a victorious position of being able to over come the world. Let me just make a couple of points about these verses so that our thinking doesn't stray. First of all the word "whatsoever" in verse four is translated from the same Greek word as "whosoever" in verse one. Of course this is also referring to the same whosoever John talked about in John 3:16. Therefore, this reference is simply to anyone who will believe. Next the word "victory" comes from a word that means "conquer" or "means of success." Therefore we could translate this verse this way:
"Whoever is born of God over comes the world: and this is the means of our conquering or how we obtain success, through our faith." (authors paraphrase)
Remember that what we are talking about is the "free course" of the Word of God. Romans 10:17 tells us that our faith comes by hearing the Word of God. The faith referred to in Romans 10:17 is the same faith referred to in 1 John 5 and in John 3:16. When we become a believer we become an overcomer! The same faith that brought us eternal life is the same faith that guarantees our victory over circumstances. Understanding this let me say something really important:
Just because you are not overcoming does not mean that you are not an overcomer!
According to the Word of God we have been made overcomers. However, if we don't exercise our faith, which is the means of our success, then we won't over come even though we are an overcomer.
Our faith has within it the ability to change any circumstance that we face. That is what overcoming is all about. We over come the difficulty facing us and change it into victory. This is what faith has been designed to do. However, this is not a promise that we will never face difficulties.
What typically happens is that the Word of God is not given free course in our lives to produce what it was designed to accomplish. We allow other "words" to dominate the Word of God. Any time the Word of God (which our faith comes from) is not given free course then we have diminished our ability to walk as an overcomer.
We are living in difficult times where the news is constantly reporting about violence, bad economic conditions, the flu, and other obstacles that will war against who God created us to be. Therefore, we are living in a time where it is so important that we have our eyes on the Word of God and it alone. We have got to give the Word free course in our lives if we are going to live victoriously in these end times.