Faith for a New Year
© 2014 Phil Spence
Every New Year seems to come with its new resolutions to be better, do better, or change in some way for the better. People all over the world are resolving to leave things behind, lay hold of better things, and hopefully have a good year ahead.
In the Kingdom of God, we are not just hoping for a good year. Nor are we trying or hoping to be better, and therefore have a better year. We are those who go forward by faith, prevail by faith, and inhabit our promises by faith.
The King of this Kingdom taught His disciples some valuable truths about faith in Mark 11:20-25. The following principles drawn from these verses will cause our faith to produce great Kingdom outcomes.
 The Focus of Our Faith
Jesus told His disciples to ‘Have faith in God’. He also said that they were to speak by faith to the issues before them, and they would receive their desired outcome. Jesus also told them they would receive what they requested by faith.
We live in a world where many people, even those who do not identify themselves as Christians, talk about having faith, and about praying for people and things. However, many people are not clear about who or what they believe in, or who or what they are praying to, if indeed they are praying to someone.
Jesus was very clear that the focus of our faith is God Himself. He is the ‘author and finisher of our faith’. Faith in Him is the faith that changes things. Faith in God brings His authority, power, might, and strength to bear in any and every situation.
Jesus' statement that we are to ‘Have faith in God’ tells us that who we have faith in is more important than what we are believing for. The mountain will not be thrown into the sea unless we have faith in God. We will not receive what we believe for if we do not have faith in God. However, if our faith is fixed on the Lord, we can be confident that what we believe Him for will come to pass.
 The Faith Formula
When Jesus told His disciples that they were to speak by faith to the issues before them, and that they should also request things by faith, it seems on the surface that He was giving them a formula for exercising faith. However, Jesus didn’t come to give us formulas, He gave His disciples power and authority.
Jesus taught the principles of faith found in this passage after exercising spiritual authority and power. He cursed a fruitless fig tree, and the next day it was dead. This outcome was produced not by formulae but by His authority and power.
Jesus’ method is to have our faith firmly fixed on God, and then by faith to exercise the authority and power He has given us. This why Jesus told His disciples to speak to the mountain and it would obey them. This is how He taught His disciples to exercise the authority and power He had given them.
If we know our authority, we will ask without doubting. We will ask with a belief that comes from faith in God, and in the authority and power He has given us. In His Kingdom, we expect to see the outcomes of faith because we know that the power and authority that we have been given will produce them, and we have no doubt regarding the effectiveness of His authority and power.
 Faith and Forgiveness
Jesus taught His disciples that doubt is an obstacle to the effectiveness of faith. He also taught that there are other things that can block the effective function of the power and authority we have been given. The biggest obstacle to effective faith is unforgiveness.
I believe that the biggest stumbling block regarding forgiveness is a sense of injustice regarding the hurt or offense that has been caused. There is a part of human nature that demands that justice be done. This is the thing that stops so many people from finding freedom through forgiveness.
The Bible tells us that justice and vengeance is God’s responsibility, not our right. If we have faith in God, we can then forgive those who have wronged us with a confidence that God will do justice according to His purposes. We then release ourselves from the bondage of unforgiveness which removes the obstacle to the effective working of the power and authority we have been given.
In this New Year, let us be those who focus our faith on the God we serve, by faith exercise the authority and power we have been given, and stay free of any obstacles to our faith no matter what may come. May the coming year be one of great fruitfulness and fulfillment
as you serve the King in the sphere that He has given you.