By Anne Marie Molster & Amie Rogers
Faith has always been considered our shield when we experience difficulty in this lifetime. In Ephesians 6:16, Paul instructs us to take up our shield of faith to protect ourselves from the ammunition the enemy uses against us. As believers, we can honestly say we have faith in God’s existence, establishing that we do in fact possess this shield of faith. When visualizing a shield based on our belief in God alone, it brings to mind that even in its entirety, it could not offer complete protection. To grow the size of our shield, we must grow in relationship with the Lord and know Him intimately – having faith in His power and ability to enable us to do all things through His strength. (Phil 4:13) Our dependence on God for this strength activates our faith, which in turn yields amazing results in our prayer life when seeking answers for protection and blessing. Imagine lifting a shield of massive proportion that not only gives you protection, but protection for those that you are praying for as well. Without question we would need strength beyond our own and would turn to someone for help. While friends and family can stand with us and offer us help in our time of need, we must turn to the Lord first and foremost, as He is the one that is able to offer us all that we need in every situation and circumstance.
HEZEKIAH, AN EXAMPLE OF UNWAVERING FAITH
In the story of Hezekiah we learn of such faith. Other than David, there was no other King that was as devoted to the Lord as Hezekiah. Because of his great devotion, Hezekiah grew in relationship with God and in his prayer life. He was true to the definition of dedication: having single-minded loyalty, remaining steadfast, firm, unwavering and faithful.
In 2 Chronicles 32:7, Hezekiah gathers the leaders of his troops together to stand against the Assyrian army. His words of encouragement reflect the measure of faith that brought about God’s victory in the attack against Judah.
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria or his mighty army, for there is a power far greater on our side! He may have a great army, but they are merely men. We have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles for us!”
God then sent an angel that destroyed the Assyrian army and all of its commanding officers. We must believe that He will also perform such magnificent deeds for those of us that also stand in unwavering faith.
Although we may profess our faith in Him, we often allow our emotions to guide our innermost thoughts. These thoughts and emotions can cause us to be double-minded in our faith. If we are believing that God’s hand will move on our behalf, we can not speak words of faith while entertaining doubt in our minds. The enemy thrives off our hidden fears and his attacks become focused on the opposite of what we are contending for in prayer. We must do all that we can to entrust our circumstances to God, knowing that He will provide a solution. We must be as determined in our thoughts, as much as we are in our outward actions and words. Hezekiah’s ability to do this, not only saved his kingdom, but also healed him of an illness that was sure to cause his death. This is reflected in his prayer to the Lord in 2 Kings 20:3, NLT. “Remember, O Lord, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” He was healed and the Lord promised peace and security for his lifetime.
As we contend for healing, favor and blessings from the Lord this year, we must remain faithful in the Lord’s promises, believing His word and standing against anyone or anything that tries to sway us in our belief. Hezekiah did exactly this, which also brought spiritual renewal to his people as they witnessed the Lord’s favor upon Him. When we begin to move in God’s will, he will not only answer our prayers, but will bring us into a place of abundant blessing that will overflow into the lives of others – just as it did for Hezekiah and His people. (2 Chron 31) When we are able to stand in faith, devoted to God, giving Him the glory, we too shall have all that we need and enough to fill our storehouses!
KEYS FOR BLESSING
It is no mistake that the Lord emphasized Hezekiah’s devoted prayer life at this time. He has a deep, abiding desire for us to be with Him. He is always there, waiting to reveal His heart to us. He wants us to get to know Him to the depths that He knows us. It is in the secret place that he waits to tell us His plans.
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)
Blessings are a side effect to our intimate relationship with the Lord. He wants us to draw nearer to Him in the coming days as He begins to align us for such blessings – giving us the keys to open doors we have yet to see! Recently, the number “22” has appeared everywhere. When seeing numbers repeatedly, we should always ask the Lord what He wants us to see and hear. On this occasion He highlighted Isaiah 22:22 (NIV) “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David, what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” The Lord is giving us directions and with those comes a refining and a fine-tuning within us. There is a refining being done to our thought process and how we speak out the promises, dreams and visions that He has given us. This is key to see the manifestation of them and the opening of doors to walk through!
God knows what our heart’s desire is. He also hears the battles with our faith in our minds. He listens as our thoughts take us to “worse case scenarios”. In the waiting for His plans to be revealed, He reminds us of our identity in Him and asks us to walk in it. As co-heirs of Heaven, we must have the mindset of Christ. (1 Cor 2:16) When we focus on this truth, we allow Him to perform a continual renewing of our mind, which allows us to remain single-minded in our faith. In this renewal, He continues to chisel us down, removing all our doubting flesh and prepares us for all He has purposed us for.
“Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17 (NIV)
When we focus on being heavenly-minded, we can rest in the hope of the dreams, visions and promises He has given us. God is not a man and He cannot lie. (Num 23:19) We must believe if He promised it; it will be! As we grow in faith, our words must reflect the truth of God’s word. Our words will bring life or death to everything we speak. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)
As we move forward into a year of new beginnings and unprecedented blessings, we need to have eyes and mouths of faith. Faith allows us to believe in what we have yet to see manifest as we trust in God’s perfect timing to bring it to fruition. With this assurance and with great anticipation we can expand our shield of faith and continue to contend for all our needs and deepest desires.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV).
Follow coauthor Anne Marie Molster here: annemariemolster.wordpress.com
Together, Anne Marie and Amie have started a ministry based on raw & real life conversations with Biblical perspectives.