Overcoming with the gift of faith and God’s rest

Marko Joensuu         No comments
Prophetic words over our lives often release an attack of the enemy, and you will need the gift of faith that releases God’s rest to overcome the onslaught, so that you will be able to sleep in the boat, like Jesus did.

The story in Matthew 8:23-27 about Jesus sleeping in a boat, whilst disciples feared for their lives, highlights the presence of God that is demanded for the gift of faith to operate.

"Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, 'Lord, save us! We are perishing!' But He said to them, 'Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?' Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, 'Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?'"

I used to wonder why Jesus said that the disciples had so little  faith. Hadn’t they approached Jesus to deal with the issue, just like we have been taught since Sunday school? Didn’t they possess faith in Jesus’s ability to deal with the situation?

Now, I believe that Jesus rebuked them, because they had faith in the power of His words, but not in the power of His presence. They hadn’t learnt yet that if Jesus was with them, that was enough.

The disciples had seen Jesus speak a word over sickness to bring healing. They had seen Jesus to speak a word to perform a miracle.

They fully understood the power of Jesus’ words. But now He was asleep. And because He was asleep, He was unable to speak a word, and hence they were in danger—or so it seemed.

Absence of prophetic revelation

Perhaps, Jesus could have told His disciples before they got on the boat: “A storm will arise. I will be asleep but it will all be well.” Maybe He knew about the storm coming. Maybe He didn't. I doubt He cared.

But had He said that the disciples would have probably been a lot less fearful. But now they operated in the absence of prophetic revelation—a word from God.

Jesus hadn’t told them what would happen next.

I entered the world of spiritual gifts through the gift of prophecy, and in many ways, I have developed a lifestyle where I have been able to receive revelatory knowledge about future from the Lord, nearly on a daily basis. Most of these words concern very little things, but they give me the confidence that God is still with me.

Obviously, although this prophetic knowledge has proved accurate, it is also partial. 
But it has been this ability to hear from the Lord that has given me an ability to have a restful mind.

If I was ever lacking something, I would go to the Lord, and pray, until I heard an answer. After that, I would simply approach the Lord I prayer, reminding Him of what He had told me and promised me, knowing that God’s promises are always reliable and 100% trustworthy.

Audio message "Overcoming through the Gift of Faith 
& God's Rest (YouTube, SoundCloud)

This would usually get me through life’s storms, as it would release enough faith for me to manage and overcome difficult situations. It would release patience when it was needed and breakthrough mentality when a breakthrough was needed.

And this is a perfectly valid method of overcoming. 

Paul says to Timothy,

“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare”. (1 Timothy 1:18)

The moment God speaks a word it is ye and amen; the moment something has been decreed in Heaven is the moment when it has become a reality; it only takes often a little time before we see the answer.

So, I learned to fight a good war through prophetic knowledge, often appealing to God with what I had received from Him through prophecy, until I got the answer. 

But sometime ago, something extraordinary happened. No matter, how much and long I prayed, the prophetic promises for particular situations—the promises that used to sustain me—ceased coming. My prophetic gift worked in the lives of other people, but it seemed to me, that God kept silent, when it came to the deepest questions of my heart—the storms that I was facing.

This was troubling to me. I had become so used to fighting with the prophetic word. What would I be fighting with now? 

The Bible has many great promises, but then, most of the apostles were martyred, so, in the absence of specific promises from God, how could I be certain of the outcome?

It seemed to me that God had deliberately stripped me of my weapons.

Instead of that, when I was interceding for a prophetic promise, I started getting the same answer: “Trust in me.” And then He would simply encapsulate me with His presence, but without giving any further answers.

Slowly, this led to a paradigm shift. Slowly, I learnt that my most powerful weapon was to “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

I learnt the power of God’s presence. I learnt that  I no more need to know the answer to every question. I learnt that if God is with me, I will be fine—even if felt that God was sleeping.

Psalm 91:1-7 says, "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.' Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you."

It seems clear to me that the psalm writer had learnt the secret power of God's presence.

And this is the place from where the gift of faith operates. Faith doesn’t need to know every answer. All faith needs to know is that God is with you.

The emphasis on the presence of God is often missing from our faith teaching that often only focuses on proclaiming God’s Word.

It is good to remember that the spiritual gifts have two dimensions—the word of God and the presence of God.  And the gift of faith operates from the place of rest—the presence of God.

Entering God's rest

Hebrews 4:1-2 says, 

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.”

So, we need the gift of faith to be able to enter God’s rest. And it might sounds paradoxical, but we need to work and fight to enter God’s rest. 

Hebrews 4:9-12 says,

“There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

So, we need the Word of God to release the gift of faith, so that we can enter and stay in the rest of God—in His presence.

You see, your central spiritual battle is not to calm the storm but to enter and remain in the rest of God. And you can’t stay in that rest of God if you need an answer to every question before your mind can rest. There are simply far too many questions to be answered, too many storms, too many worries.

But you can enter and remain in that rest, if it is enough for you to know that God is with you. You don’t need a prophetic word for every situation—what you need to know is that God is with you.

Your words of faith have spiritual authority only when you live in the presence of God.
The gift of faith needs both the Word of Faith and the Spirit of Faith to operate. 

And this is the place of submission to the Word and fullness of the Spirit. 

But it is also a place of rest, as in that place, your faith is fully God’s work—a gift from Him.

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at facebook.com/marko.joensuu or by visiting markojoensuu.com.

Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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