God’s truth will overthrow all of our established systems and methods. It meant in my case the abolition of certain manifestations which for years I have been needlessly associated with the exercise of faith. It meant that, having arrived at the end of the road of honest endeavor without the thing for which I had prayed and tried and tried to receive, I was forced to come to the conclusion that there was something wrong in my attitude of soul and mind, or else the victory would have been won.
Wherein have we been wrong? Why are there so many who stand bewildered and perplexed in the midst of their own misgivings, until perhaps doubt has entered and the gates have quietly closed to the trysting place with Jesus, in the garden of the heart.
This is the journey that I have discovered in my own heart, that I have discovered to be wrong. I can see now where so many missed the way. The only thing to do is to ask the Spirit to lead us back to the fork in the road where, because of our blindness, we left the trail. Then once again can we walk on the King’s Highway of grace and prove in and experience that the Book is true and that our Jesus never fails. If there have been disappointments and failure, it has been on our part; and not the failure of Him who today is our advocate before the Father’s throne.
All I want us to see is that we cannot generate faith; we cannot work it up; we cannot manufacture it. It is imparted and infused by God Himself. We cannot sit in our homes and struggle to have faith, and affirm that something is; nor can we turn our hope and desire into faith by our own power. The only place we can get it is from the Lord, for the Word clearly and distinctly states that faith is one of two things. It is either a gift of God, or it is a fruit of the Spirit.
We are told in Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians, “Now abides faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.” While love might be the greatest, it certainly is not the first. It must be preceded by faith. Look out the window and look at a tree. What a thing of symmetry and loveliness it is!
Only God can make a tree, and I always like the analogies and parables that can be used to show HIS majesty. There is beauty in its twisted branches. There is loveliness in its trembling leaves. Every leaf is a little world unto itself, with its tiny veins carrying the life that God supplies, which gives it all it possesses in its native realm. Yet there is something back of the tree. Beneath the surface of the ground there is a great system of roots hidden away. You never behold them; yet without them the tree would die.
It would have no life at all. This is metaphorically what happens with us, humanity is kept alive by a artificial life machine, growing up in a synthetic green house, but He wants us to connect to HIM, so he can become the reality and pump back the life we are so in need of. The roots are ugly and hard in comparison to the beautiful greenery above the ground. Yet the greenery is there partly because of those roots. Now, let us call the top of the tree “Love.” You can see it. You can contact it. You can enjoy its fragrance. You behold its beauty.
It is there because of something which is back of it—something hidden away that causes it. That something is the roots. Now you expect me to say that those roots are the roots of faith. No! Faith is the life that flows into the roots. It is that mystical quality that only God can produce and give. There are roots you could plant which will never, never grow.
We, our self, and our inner nature are those roots. Our senses, our avenues of approach to the expressions of life itself are buried below the surface where people cannot see them. All the world beholds is what we produce and not us ourselves. What did Jesus mean when He said, “By their fruit ye shall know them?” Ye shall know them. The fruit produced is an index to what the tree really is.
Let me repeat. The roots of the tree are not faith. The roots do not produce the life, but the life produces the roots. It is the life that is faith. It is that wonderful and glorious quality which is a gift of the divine heart, and which sustains us. This life, or faith, will be manifest to the world by the fruit we bear; by the arms of love outstretched; by the things of grace and beauty which through God are manifested day by day on the tree of our lives.
How foolish it would be for that tree to struggle in an attempt to create the life which flows into it. It need not struggle. All it needs to do is to function in obedience to the laws divine. As the life is there, it simply manifests that life in the fruit it bears, and the beauty with which it endows the world.
So it is with faith. Love may be the greatest thing in the world, but faith must of necessity be the first. Without faith it is impossible to please God. But you tell me that you have faith. I ask you where you got it. I pick a rosy apple from a tree. I hear it testify from the core of its little apple heart. It tells me it has rosy cheeks. It whispers in my ear that it is so very good to the taste. It invites me to taste its flavor. It testifies that it has so many noble and beautiful qualities. Then I ask it where it got them all.
From the branch? The shelter of the leaves, the rain and the sun? Yes, all true; but I knew that way down in the hidden system, which you cannot see, the roots were receiving something from God that no tree on the face of the earth has ever been able to produce of itself!
So, when will we stop our foolish and needless struggles and begin to believe? When will we put an end to our unscriptural mental and intellectual turnings in our attempt to find a faith we do not possess; for unless we get it from God, never will we possess that Faith! We are capable of belief and at the same time absolutely incapable of the exercise of Bible faith. Thousands have wandered into the error of thinking that belief is faith. It is not. There is belief in faith, without a doubt; but” the devils also believe.” Belief is cold—intellectual. It operates as far as the human goes in the realms of intellect. Many sinful men believe the Bible, but such belief does not save them.
Do we need all the faith in the world? No! We need only as much as a grain of mustard seed, if it is God’s faith! Then mountains will be removed. Our sin-sick soul will behold the glory of the Lord. But it must be God’s faith. It must come from Him. HE must impart it. And HE will. That is the Gospel of Grace which I believe. The Jericho Road without Jesus is the Jericho Road. With Him it is the shining highway of salvation and healing. Its very rocks cry out His glory. Without Him its dust is sordid, its tears are real, and its blindness is so dark; but with Him its dust begins to grow the flowers of grace and glory; its tears are turned to pearls; its blindness and darkness is turned to light.
It takes the presence of Jesus to work the miracle of the transformation of the Jericho Road. The blind man did not sit in the sand and say to himself, “I am healed—I can see—I can see—now if only I can believe I am healed and can see, then I will be! No. He heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. He cried, “Jesus! Jesus! Help me! Please help me, for I cannot help myself!” Then do not forget the words of Jesus,” What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” Mark you, it was not” What wilt thou that you should do,” but” What do you want Me to do?”
He said. “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.” “Thy faith,” said Jesus. Where did the blind man get it? Who gave it to him? If it was his faith all the time, why was he not healed before Jesus came that way? If you give me a watch, it is my watch. But I got it from you. There is faith in my heart as I write, but I know where I got it. Not affirmation—not from will—not from belief—not from mental grasps or understandings—but from Jesus. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.