In a few of our past studies, I’ve alluded to the fact that faith is information. And I have received some messages from people since those studies, with questions regarding exactly what this means and how to apply it.
In those messages which people sent to me, it became immediately clear that they were not understanding the difference between world information and spiritual information. Indeed, those two things are very different. Not all information is faith. Faith is a very specific type of information; information that deals specifically with Christ, what He has accomplished, and who we are in Him today.
So today in this study, I would like to share with you, the very important difference between world information (information that comes from worldly circumstances and what the world presents to us) versus Spiritual information (information about Jesus Christ, what He has accomplished on the cross, and our identity in Him today) – that is the information which is properly identified as faith.
This is what we will be looking at today.
As we begin today, I want to share with you one of the foundations of this which will help you to see this distinction more clearly… it is the account of the disciples in the boat with Jesus, found in Matthew 8:23-26:
“And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, so that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
And 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.”
Take notice of the details here in this account. The disciples here saw the storm. They felt the wind, and saw the waves. They were focused on the circumstances and they had worldly information. They saw how bad things looked.
And they went and woke Jesus, begging Him to save them. Of course Jesus really didn’t need to do anything. But notice the first thing that Jesus said to them before He commanded the storm to cease: He said, Why are you so afraid, O you of little faith?
Do you see it? They had worldly information. They saw how bad the situation looked, but that is not faith! Remember, not all information is faith – but only information of Jesus, what He has accomplished and who we are in Him.
And here Jesus is actually pointing this fact out to them, and refocusing them on Himself.
Also notice that He says that they have little faith… their little faith is evidenced by the fact that at least they understood that Jesus could possibly save them, which is why they cried out for Him to help – but at the same time, they were still fearful and panicking and proclaiming their imminent death. So they weren’t really solid on it, but they did have something; they had a little bit.
But Jesus wanted to focus them on the fact that there really was no reason for them to be fearful at all. Because the true faith of Christ is that they were never in any danger. Jesus was sleeping, He wasn’t afraid, and He was in the back portion of the boat! The same boat as them, mind you. (Mark 4:38) He was giving them more faith, more information about Himself, and the care that He has for them. He’s basically showing them and teaching them that “Listen guys, you have no reason to fear, this storm is subject to Me, like everything else. You are in My hands – and you could be safe and sound asleep during this storm, just as I was – without any fear. But I love you so much, that I will silence this storm for your sake.” – and that’s exactly what Jesus did.
Do you see His love? Do you see His amazing compassion and care?
There are many places in scripture that this distinction between worldly information and spiritual information is demonstrated. And an interesting side-note is that information of the world, and circumstances and the reports of men, will very often lead to worry and fear, and breed doubt and despair. But only the faith information, that is, information of Christ, what He has accomplished and our identity in Him, will bring peace, and strengthen and build-up or resolve and holy boldness in Christ.
Probably one of the best places to see this in scripture besides what we have just read, is when the Israelites were on the doorstep of the Promised Land, and the twelve spies were sent to scout the land, and came back with their reports. This is found in Numbers 13:26-32:
“And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, to the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word to them, and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land
And they told him, and said, We came to the land where you sent us, and surely it flows with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.
Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.
The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.
And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched to the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eats up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
My friend, take notice of the immense negativity that ten of the twelve spies bring back. They basically say “Yeah, it sure is a nice land flowing with milk and honey alright. But we could never possess it! The giants are way too big and the walls are way too thick! We might as well just turn back.”
Now keep in-mind that they already had the promise of God that they can take the land! (That’s why it’s called the Promised Land, to begin with – because God promised it to them!)
So they are bringing this negative report back, in the face of and against the very promise of God!
And we can see in verse 30, that this already doesn’t sit well with Caleb. Who as one of the trwelve spies, went out into the land like all the rest, and saw the same things – however he saw it from a different perspective. Unlike the others, Caleb says let’s go up to the land at once! For we are well able to take it!
Too bad the people didn’t listen – in-fact this continues in chapter 14, verses 1-10, where both Joshua and Caleb (two of the twelve spies) continue to argue with the people, in favor of taking the land; but the other ten spies and the rest of the congregation continue to moan and cry and complain… all the while letting their worldly information, and the circumstances of what they see, override their spiritual information, their faith information regarding the promise that God has given them.
Are you listening…? Do you see it…?
Our promise land today is Christ Jesus Himself.
We have the same scenario as they did back then, only on a much broader scope.
Notice that in Numbers 13:32, that as the spies reported falsely that they could not take the land (even though God promised it to them) that it is called an evil report.
Do not make light of this detail here, because make no mistake about it. Any report that tries to set itself up against the report of faith, is not just misguided, it is flat-out evil!
The report of faith in Christ, is always a report of victory, of assurance and of peace. And in Christ you have all of those things in abundance.
So I encourage you today, focus your eyes squarely on the promise which you have possession of today: Christ has accomplished everything. The work is completed. The debt is paid. You are free.
Let no worldly, evil report, sway you from that fact. Let no fear shake you. You are in His hands, and you can be at total peace and rest in Christ Jesus.