core studies : faith and works
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15
Faith and Works
Faith is defined in scripture as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), because faith is what allows us to believe in something for which there is no evidence (John 20:19-20, 24-29). As we walk in faith, and exercise it, we can then pass faith on to others (Romans 1:17). The scripture teach us that works are the evidence of our faith (Matthew 5:16, Ephesians 2:10). An example of faith is having a victory over a battle from the very start of it (Jude 3, Romans 10:17, Romans 4:20-21, Romans 8:38-39).
To walk (one step at a time) by faith is to be able to take each step of your life with Christ (one victory after another), according to his word and Spirit, no matter what the circumstances may be (2 Corinthians 5:7, 2 Corinthians 4:18, Proverbs 3:5-7, Luke 5:5-6). You may hear people talk about "releasing their faith," but what is holding their faith back that it needs to be released? What is hindering them from doing the work of God completely (Hebrews 12:1-2, Judges 6:36-40). Our faith must always be "released" so that it can be active. It is one thing to talk about walking by faith, but it is a totally different thing to do it (there is a difference between intentions and actions) (Matthew 14:28-31, Proverbs 3:5-7, Mark 11:20-23, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Matthew 21:21-22). Walking in faith must have a manifestation of works (or deeds). Faith without works makes faith meaningless and dead (James 2:14-26, Matthew 5:14-16, 1 Timothy 5:9-10, Titus 2:7, 3:8). Having faith is more than having knowledge of what could happen, it means having self-motivation to act on that knowledge (Mark 11:20-23, Mark 9:19-24). It also means having belief that, with God's help, your action will ensure the best possible outcome (John 4:34, Hebrews 6:10, Mark 9:19-24, Romans 12:1-2, Philippians 2:12, 1 Corinthians 3:13).
God will "increase" our faith, when we are faithful to do the things that we know we should do for God, not when we just say that we believe and do nothing (Luke 16:10-13, Mark 12:30-31, Ecclesiastes 9:10, 1 Samuel 17:34-36). Faith is not best measured by the amount that we have but by how we use what we have (Luke 17:5-10). When we learn to exercise our faith more, it will bring an increase of victories over harder battles (James 1:2-4).
God is well pleased when we grow or increase in our faith in him. When situations cause us to trust in God by faith, they provide an opportunity for God to prove his power to us (2 Chronicles 16:9). The testimony of our faith is also a judgment toward those around us that go through the same things we do but do not stay faithful (for we are just as human as they are) (Hebrews 11:1-6, Hebrews 11:13-16, Hebrews 4:2, Matthew 24:45-51, Luke 12:31-32, Colossians 1:10, Hebrews 13:21).