Faith is When Your Feet Touch the Bottom
Daddy! Help me! I’m Drowning!”
When my children were very young, we took them on a trip to the country. We set up camp near a stream so we could swim and play in the water. The deepest part of the stream was only about two feet deep. Rachael, one of our twins, was making her way across the stream when she lost her footing. Her head went under the water for a moment. When she emerged, her feet floated upward so she was no longer standing on the bottom. She was in a state of panic. Although I could see that she was still in only two feet of water and in no real danger, she believed the water was over her head and she was about to drown. In a way, she was being controlled by her lie-based belief and the fear it produced.
In a full state of panic and with lungs unsurpassed by none, Rachael screamed out, “DADDY! HELP ME! I’M DROWNING!” Like the disciples in the boat caught up in the midst of that terrible storm who cried out to Jesus, “Lord do you not know we are about to perish?” she too was believing a lie.
She continued to thrash around until I grabbed her arm and said to her, “Stand up!” When her feet touched the bottom, she realized the truth —the water was not as deep as she believed, and she was not going to die. This illustration is a good example of the power of deception. Deception is only as powerful as the degree to which it is believed. She believed that she was in over her head. This belief caused her to react as if it were true. Her emotions matched her beliefs. This is what occurs with all of us when our lie-based core belief is touched and our emotions are stirred. Any time we feel a negative emotion, we are operating in deception. The only exception would be when the emotion is flowing from the truth, which is a rarity. (Click here to learn more about truth-based pain.)
When we are deceived into believing lies, we will feel what we believe and will act as though the deception were true. However, as we learn to stand in the finished work of Christ (which we can only do when we know the truth in our hearts), the lies and deception lose their power. When we believe the truth in our heart, this truth becomes our shield of faith “…with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Eph. 6:16) The only reason any fiery missile finds its mark is because it touches a lies we already believe. Satan is not putting something new in us with his arrows, but rather targeting what is already there. He is targeting the holes in our armor —the lies we believe— because he knows that shooting at the truth will have no impact.
This may sound strange to hear, but it is God’s will that he shoot at the lies we believe so that we will know where we are vulnerable and possibly attend to what has been exposed within us. Satan is our enemy and only desires our destruction, but he is also a part of God’s creation that God uses as a “tool” to work “for the good” bringing about our freedom. (Rom. 8:28)
When our feet touch the bottom we are walking in faith.
Faith is not hoping that there is a bottom or wishing that we could stand up, but rather it is touching the bottom and knowing that we are safe. Faith is KNOWING the truth, not hoping that it is true. It is the “ASSURANCE and CONVICTION” of things, not wishful thinking. If we believe that we are drowning and going to die, we will feel what we believe. We can hope that we will not drown, hope that there is a bottom, hope that someone will save us, but none of this is faith. Faith is knowing that there is a bottom because our feet are planted there and we are standing up. When our feet touch the bottom, our fear is resolved and we will experience the feelings of peace and safety. When we know the truth experientially with our hearts, we have entered into the absolute certainty of faith.
Someone will surely say, “But it is impossible for us to ever know the truth in this fashion. Even if we try with all our might to believe, there will always be some measure of uncertainty.” This is absolutely correct. We can never reach this level of belief through anything that we might do. Faith is a gift bestowed upon us by God. Unless He “opens the eyes of our hearts” we will never see. Unless He gives us a “spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” we will never know it in faith (Eph. 1:17). This is why the Apostle Paul prayed, “…we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, [what God must do] so that [the outcome] you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. (Col. 1:9-12 Brackets are mine.) Unless God brings it about it will not be so.
This is what occurs in a TPM session when we offer up our lies to the Lord and He exchanges them for His truth. We receive the truth into our hearts. When the lies we believe no longer feel true, our emotions will change to match the truth. We will then feel what is true.
The disciples found themselves in that trying predicament when they were caught out in the storm and their boat was filling up with water. (Rachael too, believed she was about to perish.) However, Jesus held a different perspective than they held, so he was asleep in the stern of the boat. In their state of panic they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” (Matt. 8:25). They believed a lie—that they were going to die—and were feeling afraid. Jesus knew the truth and was taking a nap.
I am not comparing myself to Jesus, but I also knew the truth since I was standing in it right next to Rachael. It was only knee deep and she was safe. Even if she were to go under water, I was there to raise her up, She was never in any danger and she was certainly not going to perish. Nevertheless, she believed that she was about to die, and that is what felt true.
Knowing the Truth at the Heart Level Brings Instantaneous Victory.
Faith is standing in the truth while knowing it with absolute certainty. When we stand in faith with conviction and assurance (Heb. 11:1), no effort is required to live it out. Our struggle ensues when the truth we know is held at the intellectual level while our core belief (heart belief) is based upon a lie. This is a state of being double-minded. When we are double-minded, that is, holding two or more opposing beliefs at the same time, we will be “unstable in all our ways” (Jam. 1:6-8). We will be like my daughter, thrashing around in the stream, believing we are going to die, when all we need to do is stand.
Standing in the Truth is a State of “Being” and not a State of “Doing.” Sometimes we become confused as to what it means to stand in the truth. Standing in the truth is a state of being, the outcome of purified belief, not trying “to be.” Many Christians expend great energy trying “to be” something. Many view the fruit of the Spirit as a “to-do” or “to-be” list, as opposed to a state of being. We will spontaneously experience His fruit when we know the truth at the heart level with absolute certainty, conviction, and assurance. If we are having to work at standing in truth, our “trying” reveals that we believe something that is contrary to the truth, which is pulling us away from it. When we know the truth with absolute certainty, we do not have to try to stand; we will be standing. It will be the state of our being.
Satan wants to deceive us into believing that we are in water over our heads. If we believe his lies, we will feel the same panic as if we were, in fact, going to drown. His message to us is only as powerful as our belief in it. If we do not believe it, it fizzles out like the fiery arrow striking the shield of faith. Fighting with the devil is an endless loop. We are not to fight him because he is not our problem; rather, our lie-based core belief is the problem.
In Ephesians 6:10-17, Paul reminds us that we have already put on Christ, who is our armor, and we should stand in His finished work (see also Gal. 3:27). Some view the Ephesians passage as a call to battle; it is not. It is a call to stand in victory. We cannot battle and have victory at the same time; we either have one or the other.
There is a fundamental difference between standing in victory and fighting a battle. You cannot do both. Read the Ephesians passage and see what we are told to do. Paul points out that we are in a struggle (wrestling) with the enemy, but he does not say that this is what we need to do or even should be doing. The wrestling of the Ephesian church members was an outcome of them having been deceived by a scheme of the devil. They thought they were wrestling with each other (flesh and blood), when, in fact, they were being manipulated and deceived by the enemy.
There is no directive in the passage to send them into battle. Rather, they are called to stand in the finished work of Christ, as are we. At no place in this passage are we told to do anything in relation to engaging the evil one. The focus is on embracing the finished work of Christ and resisting the “schemes” or deceptions of the devil. We are told to “put on,” “take up,” “gird,” “be shod,” “resist,” and “stand.”
These things place us in a permanent position of victory. If our effort focuses on fighting the devil, it will be a never-ending struggle. Resisting the schemes (lies) of the devil is very different from engaging him personally. We already have victory, and being able to stand in this victory comes from a state of being that knows the truth of God experientially.