We don’t need to prove our faith by taking action. However, when we truly believe something, our faith does provoke us to act. In The Violent Take It By Force Part 4, Ashley and Carlie explain how we receive everything from God through faith.
You can purchase this series in your favorite format:
Ashley: Hello, and welcome to Abundant Life. We’re so glad you’ve joined us today in the lounge, praise God. We’ve got a great program for you. We’re actually talking about practical ways we can walk out our faith. In fact, we started this little series in Matthew 11:11, where Jesus talks about how the violent take it by force. God has provided everything you need, praise God. He’s already provided grace, he’s provided it. Whether it’s righteousness, whether it’s healing, whether it’s provision, whether it’s peace, all those things have been provided for you by grace. Now it’s our part by faith to take it. To actually reach out and receive what God’s already given us, amen? It’s powerful.
That’s what we’ve been talking about. And we actually switched over to Timothy, his advice that Paul gave him. Second Timothy, Chapter Two. This is Paul, the Apostle Paul, giving Timothy some advice about how to walk out his life by faith. In Second Corinthians five and seven, it says we walk by faith and not by sight. Basically the way we walk out the Christian life is by faith. It takes faith to receive salvation. It takes faith to receive healing, to receive provision. All the things of God, it’s by faith we receive them.
Carlie: Right. And just to be clear with people, we’re not saying that we need to perform an action in order to prove our faith.
Ashley: That’s good.
Carlie: But when we really believe something, it provokes us to action. There’s a difference.
Ashley: Sometimes people make the mistake and they actually think if they act a certain way, if they do something, it’ll produce faith. There’s only one thing that produces faith in your life and that’s the word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Faith comes by hearing?
Ashley: And hearing by the word of God.
Carlie: It does.
Ashley: Romans 10, right?
Carlie: That sounded good, didn’t it?
Ashley: I know, I was like, “That sounds like a scripture.”
Carlie: Romans 10:17.
Ashley: 10:17, thank you. That’s how we build our faith is by reading the word of God and actually receiving that for ourselves. We actually hear the stories of what God’s done in the past, hear the promises, and till we understand what God’s made available to us, how do we know what’s ours anyway?
Ashley: So we have to read the word and actually find out what’s already been provided for us by grace. Jesus, some people say Jesus was grace personified, came down and during his death, burial, and resurrection, he provided everything we need to walk out the life, praise God. The victorious life. He calls us more than conquerors. He actually leads us in victory, praise God. He’s made a way for us, praise God. We’re joint heirs with him. So we walk this out by faith.
Now here’s the thing, it’s not automatic. Some people think we just sit around and it’s automatic. And sometimes people go so far into grace and I hate to use these terminologies, [inaudible] grace camp, faith camp. Now we’re not going to go there, but sometimes people go so far into grace they say, “Well, everything is just going to happen. Que sera sera. God’s already provided for me, it’s automatically going to happen.” But we have our part to play don’t we?
Ashley: We have to do our part.
Carlie: We have to do something.
Ashley: We have to receive it. One of the ways I look at it is a little bit like at Christmas time. We give our children presents and I might buy one of my kids a present. Say it was, I don’t know, a game system or something. We would wrap it up and put it under the tree. We would pay for it. We’d go out to the store, fight the long lines in the store.
Carlie: Or we’d order on Amazon.
Ashley: That’s the better way actually, order on Amazon. Actually, we allowed to say Amazon on television?
Ashley: Edit that out. We order it on an online fulfillment service.
Carlie: Shopping service.
Ashley: Shopping service. Unless Amazon wants to sponsor this show, Jeff Bezos if you’re listening. Anyways-
Carlie: Be open to it. Saying.
Ashley: We go on Amazon, order the presents, we pay for it with our money and then we get that present and we wrap it and we put it under the tree. Then we say to our kids, “Hey, there’s a present under the tree with your name on it.” Now, if our son went to get that present and picked it up and unwrapped it and said to his friends the next day, “Oh, my dad made me work for my present. I had to pick it up from under the tree. I had to unwrap it and he made me work for it.”
Carlie: What a brat.
Ashley: That’s right. [inaudible] That’s not true, right? We didn’t make him work for it. It was already provided, but he had to take it and unwrap it and actually receive it. So even though God’s provided everything for us by grace, we have our part to play in unwrapping what is already provided for us. God’s given us free will and he’s not going to force anything on us. We have to choose to receive it. That’s why he said in Deuteronomy 30, I believe, I set before you life and death. Choose life.
Carlie: Because life is better.
Ashley: [crosstalk] Life is a bit better than death.
Carlie: Faced with life or death, what would you pick?
Ashley: So life or death, I’m going to [inaudible] life, that’s right. Life or death. God’s given us a choice and we have to choose. It’s that choice, it’s not works. It’s actually a corresponding action to what we already believe. In James one, James says that if we hear the word, but don’t do it, then we deceive ourselves. If you hear the promises of God, but then don’t actually partake in them, you’re deceiving yourself. And then James Chapter Two says, if you have faith, but don’t have action, if you don’t have works to your faith, then you don’t really have faith. Basically is what he’s saying. Faith without works is dead. So what we’re looking at is how do we actually walk out our faith?
We started this series with Matthew 11 and verse 11 and 12, talking about how the violent take it by force. The violent meaning those are the ones that press in, that pursue it, that push in, that crowd themselves into it. We talked a little bit about the woman with the issue of blood. She had violent faith. She went out and pursued and took it by faith, praise God. She pressed into the crowd. Literally she crawled on her hands and knees, pressed through, pushed through [inaudible] herself and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment so she could be healed. That was the violent taking it by force, praise God. We’re called as born again believers, to take the promises of God by force. Not in a mean way, in a way that’s not going to listen to our feelings if they’re contrary. Not going to look at our circumstances, if they’re contrary. No, we’re going to look at the promises of God. We’re going to magnify the Lord and we’re going to receive everything God has for us, praise God. And he only has good things for us, so it’s a great deal.
The Apostle Paul here gives Timothy, his spiritual son, some practical insights on how to walk out this life of faith. We like to keep things practical here. In fact, in Terradez Ministries, our main goal, if you like, is to empower believers in the promises of God. So as you watch these Abundant Life programs, or maybe you’ll come to one of our events or maybe you’ll visit us when we preach at churches all around the world, we want to empower you. We want to empower believers in the promises of God. So you should walk away feeling empowered, feeling like you can walk out this life of faith.
Ashley: Praise God. The apostle Paul gives Timothy three examples here of how to walk these things out. If you’ve got your Bibles, this is Second Timothy, Chapter Two. Second Timothy, Chapter Two. This is Paul talking to Timothy, his spiritual son. And we’ve already read the first few verses, so we’re going to jump right in here. He talks about a soldier first. This is Second Timothy Chapter Two, verse four. It says, “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself in the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” He gives the example of a soldier. We looked at that last time, a soldier isn’t concentrated, isn’t self-focused. A soldier is part of the bigger picture. A soldier submits to authority. It’s godly to submit to good authority. A soldier doesn’t complain. A soldier doesn’t care about, or doesn’t air his feelings. Well, I don’t really want to do that, I don’t feel like it. A soldier endures hardships.
The second example Paul gives here is he says, verse five, this is Second Timothy Chapter Two, verse five. He said, “And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” So the second example here Paul gives, is an athlete. He compares walking by faith or fighting the good fight of faith as an athlete. This is fascinating because this brings out some different things. Different than a soldier and different than a farmer, is the third thing he talks about. He talks about a farmer. This is actually talking about an athlete and there’s some things that athletes do to be able to receive the prize. If you’d like to receive the crown, praise God. I think the apostle Paul even talks more about this in, is it Second Corinthians you got there?
Carlie: This is First Corinthians nine, verse 24. It says, “Do you not know that all of those who run in a race, but one receives the prize? So run then, that you may obtain it. Everyone who strives for the prize exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we are all incorruptible. Therefore, I run not with uncertainty. So I fight not as one who beats the air, but I bring and keep my body under subjection, lest when preaching to others, I find myself should be disqualified.”
Ashley: Well, that’s the Apostle Paul. This is the Apostle Paul, the person who taught grace, wrote a third of the New Testament. He’s telling us we got to beat the air and make our body submit and things like this. Wow, this is pretty cool. This is awesome. Well, I guess it’s not that cool if you don’t want to do it, but this is a choice we have to make, right? An athlete has to make a choice to make some sacrifices in order to get the crown.
Carlie: The thing that really strikes me here is that Paul runs the race to win it. That’s not real popular in today’s society because we feel like everyone should get a prize for everything. Everyone should graduate from everything. Everyone should get a prize for everything.
Ashley: Everyone gets a medal, all winners.
Carlie: [crosstalk] You may have noticed, but the Bible isn’t particularly politically correct.
Ashley: Okay, it’s not very PC.
Carlie: It’s not very PC it’s [crosstalk].
Ashley: The KJV isn’t PC.
Carlie: It isn’t. But he says we are running a race. Only one person’s going to get a prize here, okay? We are running that we may obtain it. Everyone who strives for the prize exercises self-control in all things. Now, obviously we all, we are running a race. Paul often compares faith to running a race, to running a race where there’s plenty of distractions. There’s all kinds of things going on, but he’s running to win. And there’s a certain amount of perseverance in faith that’s not very popular either. People don’t necessarily in our modern world, we are all about our creature comforts, aren’t we? We’re all about being comfortable. We don’t really want to be stretched too far. We don’t want to be out of our comfort zone. But running the race of faith and running to complete the race involves a certain amount of endurance, of pushing through, of going beyond times that feel uncomfortable. Even times of pain, even discomfort. It means running to win.
The Lord showed me this one time. When we’re running our race of faith, we’re running our race, sometimes there are people that are running alongside us and they join us for part of the race, like a relay race. They pass the batons and they’re running in their own lane, but they’re running alongside us. Sometimes we’re part of a running team and we’re all running in the same direction. Other times people will come and they’ll join us for part of the race. They’ll be in our life a season. There’ll be people in our life that encourage us, come alongside us and encourage us to run.
We’ve all seen pictures of marathon runners, where they get almost to the end and they were about to give up and then somebody comes out and they run alongside them and encourage them. I think there are people in our life, in seasons of our life, that God will bring alongside you. When you’re feeling weary, when you’re feeling uncomfortable, when you’re feeling in pain, when you feel like quitting and giving up, that come alongside you and encourage you. The word of God, it does that, our church does that, our Christian brothers and sisters do that. If you need encouragement, you can call our ministry and we can help you run your race. That’s why we make these television programs.
But ultimately the race is yours to run and no one can run your race for you. We run to win. In order to win the race, we have to have our eyes on the finish line. We can’t run our race all the time looking over our shoulder, wondering if anyone’s running behind us.
Ashley: Or getting distracted by the people in the stands.
Carlie: If every time that somebody started shouting at us, some people aren’t with you to run your race, they’re there to distract you. These are the people, maybe they’re in the stands and they’re maybe not agreeing with your run, with your fight of faith.
Ashley: I always think it’s amusing that spectators, when they’re watching a race or maybe it’s sports, I’ve been to soccer games or football games, as you say in England. I’ll be up there in the stands watching the game and these are professional athletes that have trained for years. They’re on strict diets that are absolutely awesome. Then you’ve got a big overweight guy eating his chips and [crosstalk] big soda, Big Gulp. But he says things like, “Oh, you’re useless, I could have made that pass.” I’m like, “Really?”
Carlie: I don’t think you could.
Ashley: But spectators, they’re not actually running the race, but yet they’ve got their opinions and it’s amazing how many people want to give you their opinion on things, even though they’re not even in the race. They haven’t done anything. A quick example, I had a friend and she inherited a large amount of money from her uncle. She said to me, “I’ve had all these people give me advice on how to invest this money,” and it was a large sum of money. I said to her, “Go back and ask every one of these people how much money they’ve invested. Have they invested this amount of money?” Turns out half of the people that gave her advice on investing had never invested any money, zero dollars. And the other half hadn’t invested anywhere near-
Carlie: They weren’t qualified to comment.
Ashley: They shouldn’t have commented. They’re the spectators. You need to find people that are running the race. You need to find people that are actually going for it with you and fighting the good fight of faith and listen to those people who are with you. Not the people that are on the stands. We’re not being mean or anything, we’re not being ugly. You can be born again and sit in the stands all your life, if you want to. It’s fine. God loves you, you’re going to heaven, it’s all going to be fine. But why would you want to miss out on running the race? Why would you not want to get everything God’s paid for? Why would you not want to take everything Jesus died for? Why would you not want to live this life abundantly? Why would you not want to live the abundant life? And that means getting down on the running track, doesn’t it, and going for it?
Carlie: It does. And be in the race. Some people aren’t winning because they’re just not in the race. We need to be in the race. If healing is your race, if you’re running to receive healing, if that’s the prize at the end, if that’s the crown for you, get around people that have won a race in that area. Get around people that want to believe with you. Because if you’re running a race for healing, but you’re surrounded by spectators in your life and every five minutes you’re running off into the stand to argue with them, guess what? You’re not going to win the race. You’re going to get distracted.
If you’re running a race and your race is believing God for finances, find people that have won a race in that area before. It’s super important because as we’re running, we need people around us so that when we get weary, those long races. It’s fine, some races are more like a sprint, where it’s intense, but it’s a short period of time and it’s a challenge, it’s over with. But the marathon type races, you’re going to need people around you to encourage you, because you’re going to get weary.
Ashley: I like the short races. I like the [crosstalk].
Carlie: You like the instant result races.
Ashley: Ten yard race. That’s it, over. But no, you’re right. And what happens is often we’ll get distracted from our race, from running that race by arguing with spectators that aren’t even with us. Either way, if you’re a spectator, you might be the fastest person around. But if you’re just sat in the stands, you’re not going to win anyway. And if you’re running and you get distracted, you could still be the fastest person, but because you’ve been distracted and you’re arguing and debating with people that are in the stands, you’re not going to win the race as well.
I very rarely debate anyone, by the way. I’ll just take a little rabbit trail here, because I don’t believe in trying to convince people. If they’ve got genuine questions, I’m going to answer their questions and I want to convince them that Jesus is Lord. I want to convince them that they need to give their life to Jesus and things like that, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not going to debate people and intellectually argue with people because usually there’s no fruit in that. [inaudible] People have opinions in the stands, they’re not even running. They have opinions and they’re going to try and distract you from your race.
Carlie: Yeah, yeah. A couple other things here is keep your eyes on the finish line. When I was in high school, I’d run hurdle races. I know it’s really funny because I’m not very tall, actually.
Ashley: I’ve got an impression of Carlie running a hurdle race.
Carlie: Thank you. I think our crew are laughing at you. Anyway, here’s the thing with hurdles.
Ashley: I’m making myself laugh with that one. I just made it up. I just made it up. Carlie is vertically challenged, okay? It’s amazing, we have live events-
Carlie: No, I just grew to perfection quicker than most people.
Ashley: God lets things grow and when they reach perfection, they stop. Some people reach perfection quicker. Carlie reached perfection very quickly. We travel the world, we go to events and people come to Carlie, they say in every different language and they say in every different place. They say, “You’re much shorter in real life then on television.”
Carlie: One day I’ll stand up on set.
Ashley: Anyway, yeah. Anyway, Carlie is petite, praise the Lord. So it’s very amusing for me that they chose such a petite lady to run a hurdle race.
Carlie: I know. Anyway, I’m running hurdle races and when you hit a hurdle they hurt.
Ashley: Especially in the forehead. Sorry, carry on.
Carlie: Never work with animals or children. My coach told me, “Listen, if you want to get over the hurdle, you got to stop focusing on the hurdle and you got to keep your eyes on the finish line. You need to see yourself crossing the finish line.” I believe this is a word for somebody day. You’ve been in a challenge so long, you’ve forgotten what it’s like to win. But you need to see yourself winning. You need to see yourself completing the thing that you started.
Ashley: That’s good.
Carlie: God asked you to start so that you could finish. He’s not a quitter and you’re not a quitter, amen. See yourself winning, see yourself crossing the finish line, rather than focusing on the hurdle that’s right in front of your face.
Ashley: That’s so good. We’re looking here at Second Timothy, Chapter Two, and we’re at verse five, talking about an athlete. Paul is talking about a comparison between an athlete and someone running their race of faith or fighting the good fight of faith. That’s so good Carlie, it ties into what I’m thinking. An athlete has to train, an athlete has to make some sacrifices.
Carlie: You can’t just the night before a race, stuff down a McDonald’s burger and chips and then get out and do a few stretches and win.
Ashley: No, you can’t just practice the day before. It’s going to take time. Now, I know people that train for marathons and long… I was going to say long haul races, I’m thinking of flights.
Carlie: Well, that’s a marathon.
Ashley: Long races, but they train for weeks, months, years for that one. Even the 100 meter dash or 100 yard dash, they’ll train for years. I mean, just for that one dash in the Olympics, like that. What that does, you’re going to have to look at the prize. You’re going to have to focus on the prize that the Apostle Paul’s saying here in First Corinthians. You have to focus on the prize. Otherwise, you’re not going to endure the hardships or you’re not going to train yourself. Well, how does this translate in our life of faith? Well, think about this. What’s your diet like? An athlete has to be very careful about what he intakes.
Carlie: Yeah, well, it says here-
Ashley: What he takes on.
Carlie: It says here, and this is verse 25, “Everyone who strives for the prize exercises self-control in all things.” That means denying the flesh sometimes.
Ashley: Denying the flesh. Now we could be talking literally about food. I’m not going to go there. I’m not going to step on anyone’s toes. I’m thinking here about what’s your thought life? What are you watching?
Carlie: What are you feeding on?
Ashley: Yeah, what are you feeding? King David said, “I set nothing evil before my eyes,” in Psalms. We need to make sure that we’re feeding on good things. Jesus said, “Be careful how you hear.” What are we listening to? What things are we letting enter into us? What are our thoughts? What are we watching? Well, I’m not beating anyone up, but I’m telling you if you just sit there and watch junk on television or watch the negative news and things like that and then want to be in faith, that’s going to be tough. That’s the equivalent of an athlete eating a double quarter pounder every day and fries and milkshakes, and then expecting to be able to win the race.
Carlie: For example, maybe you’re dealing with a lot of fear and anxiety, but you’ve been watching a lot of scary movies and things that are motivated by fear.
Ashley: Feeding the fear.
Carlie: It’s feeding the fear. What we feed upon spiritually, emotionally and intellectually, it’s feeding, it’s making a deposit in our soul and eventually that’s going to come out somewhere.
Ashley: Yeah, it really is. An athlete, he’s focused on the prize. He’s running his own race. He’s making some personal sacrifices because he’s concentrating on winning the race. I’ll have you know, as a born again believer, we can all win, praise God. I’ve read the book, we win. If you don’t quit, you can keep running. You can win, praise God, you can keep going by faith. You can keep fighting the good fight of faith. A good fight is the one we win and you’re going to win this fight of faith, praise God. An athlete stays focused on the finish line. He doesn’t get distracted by the spectators. He doesn’t get distracted on the circumstance. He stays focused. He makes personal sacrifices. He makes sure that he’s not just listening to things that he shouldn’t be. He’s not just watching things that he shouldn’t be. He’s only letting things in that line up with the word of God. He’s taking his own thought life carefully.
I went out with an amateur bodybuilder one time for lunch. You know what he did, he laid out the green beans and he was almost counting the green beans and what he could eat because he was on such a strict diet.
Carlie: I’m glad that’s not my calling.
Ashley: I know, that’s not my calling either. As I sat there eating my steak, I felt a bit bad as he’s counting his green beans.
Carlie: Feel that bad though.
Ashley: He was an amateur bodybuilder, he had to watch his diet. We have to watch our thought life. You can’t just let your thought life. Jesus says, “Take every thought captive and bring it under obedience.” Paul said, “Bring it unto obedience.” John 10:10 says, “The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy.” If you’re letting thoughts in that are to do with killing, stealing, destroying things, that’s not a way to walk in faith. Paul says in Philippians 4:8, he says, “Meditate on these things.” He gives us a list of things to meditate on. If you’re meditating on things that aren’t good, that haven’t got virtue, they’re not praiseworthy or these things, then you’re basically taking on junk food like an athlete.
Your thought life. These are things that an athlete does and he has to compete by the rules. There’s certain things in scripture, there’s certain principles in scripture that if we want to fight the good fight of faith, we’re going to have to line up with. We have to line up with what the scripture says. The kingdom of God has rules, if you like, or principles that we can line up with and get the benefits of. So there’s things that an athlete does, he makes personal sacrifices. He does these things and he’s going to run and win the prize, praise God. I’m telling you, you are called to run the race, praise God. You are called, you’re already in it, praise God. If you’re born again, you are called to fight the good fight or faith and you’re going to win.
Have the attitude like an athlete, praise God, and make those personal sacrifices. What’s it? Making short-term sacrifices for long-term delayed gratification. That’s what an athlete does, praise God. The Apostle Paul is using the examples of an athlete. Hopefully that helps you when it comes to walking your life, praise God, by faith. Because that’s what we’re called to do. We’re called to fight the good fight of faith.
Ashley: Amen. You got a testimony, Carlie?
Carlie: I do. This is from one of our recent events, at our Real Life event in Little Rock, Arkansas. Alyssa experienced a wonderful healing. For years, she had experienced difficulty breathing due to her left nostril being pushed to one side. She had told us, “During prayer for healing, Carlie called out deviated septum and moved on so quickly to something else. However, it was not before I reached out and grabbed it. It happened after I got home, but now I can breathe out of both sides with no more snoring.”
Ashley: Praise God. I remember that event in Arkansas and I remember you calling out deviated septum. That’s a very specific word, praise God. And it was just for Alyssa.
Carlie: I like the way she said, “I reached out and grabbed it.” This is the violent taking it by force right here. She heard the word of God and she said, “That’s for me, I’m having it. It’s mine.” She took it and grabbed it and took it into her heart.
Ashley: Amen. She went for it, praise God.
Carlie: She went for it.
Ashley: She went for it by faith. Amen, praise God. Well, we’re nearly out of time. I want to encourage you. We’re going to come back and finish off this teaching, praise God. The Apostle Paul here’s using a soldier, he’s using an athlete and he’s using a farmer as examples of how you can walk by faith and how you can walk out this journey of faith. To fight the good fight of faith, praise God. Next time we’re going to come back, we’re going to look at the farmer and some of the attributes of a farmer and how that relates to our fight of faith, praise God.
We want to pray for you, amen. We just want to encourage you, praise God. We want you to be empowered and God only has good for you. So let me pray for you now, before we let you go. Father God, I thank you for everyone listening and watching today. I thank you, Lord, that you love them. I thank you, Lord, that you only have good for them. I thank you, Lord, that you encourage them. You’re our greatest encourager, Lord. You our greatest coach, you’re the one who’s encouraging and leading us on. You lead us into triumph. You only have good things for us, Lord. I thank you, Lord, that whatever our battle is, wherever our race is, wherever our fight is, I thank you, Lord, you have made us victorious. You’ve paid the price, Lord. I thank you, Lord. We are reaching out and taking what is already ours in Jesus’ name.
Carlie: Amen. Holy Spirit, I just ask you to help us to see ourselves crossing the finish line, to see ourselves winning, to see ourselves healed, to see ourselves whole, delivered and prosperous. Thank you, Lord. Develop that picture on the inside of us, that we might start to see ourselves how you see us.
Ashley: Amen. That’s awesome.
Carlie: Do you know you were built to win? You might not have won in a very long time, but you can start winning today. It’s by faith and patience, we inherit promises. Take the word of God, stick it way down in your heart and just don’t move off of it.
Ashley: Amen. God sees you as a winner, praise God. How can two walk together unless they agree? So start agreeing with how God sees you. That’s going to be a fight of faith. That’s going to be a race to run by agreeing about what the word says. But the word says that you are awesome, praise God. In fact, Carlie has a confession card. We’re going to make it available to you. You read this confession card. It’s all scriptures, and it’s going to show you who you are in Christ, praise God. It’s going to help you see yourself crossing the finish line. It’s going to help you see yourself a winner, praise God, because that’s how God sees you. He sees you in Christ and in Christ, you’re a winner, praise God.
Thanks for joining us today on the Abundant Life. We’re going to be back real soon. Until next time remember, don’t just settle for living the normal life when you could be living the abundant life. We’ll see you next time.