“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Hebrews 11:1 [New King James Version]
If you believe God for something e.g. a new job, how do you know that you have faith for that job? The job is what is hoped for in your heart. The substance and evidence for the hope is the truth of God’s word. How do you determine God’s word in your circumstance? By studying the Bible and founding/establishing the hope in your heart on a Scripture. It is also possible that God may say something to you directly (i.e. put that hope in your heart) through the Holy Spirit (in some rare cases, even audibly). In both instances, you are relying on God’s word for the hope that is in your heart. Now you know that you are in faith! Caution: if your hope is not founded on the written word of God (i.e. the Bible), make sure that what you have heard is from God! Check if it does not conflict with the written word.
How do you exercise faith?
1. Find the Scripture that addresses your problem (or that you wish to rely on for what you are believing for i.e., the hope in your heart).
2. Read it over and over until you feel that it has sunk into your heart (and it is not just something you read and understand only with your mind). You will know when it is in your heart – you will feel your belief in it rising.
3. Believe that God will make what is promised in that Scripture happen for you personally in your circumstances.
4. Pray to God, respectfully asking Him to do what it is that you request Him to do for you (expressly quoting the Scripture you are relying on), asking in the name of Jesus. Then thank Him (i.e. praise and worship Him) for whatever it is you are thankful for in your life and specifically for granting your request. “Do not be anxious about anything; but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 [New International Version]
5. When you pray make your requests to God the Father, asking in the name of Jesus. Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, was given all authority in heaven and on earth [Matthew 28:18]. Jesus Himself said: “ And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. “ John 16:23-24 [New King James Version] The condition is that you must live your life closely attached to Jesus and His words must live in your heart (i.e. obey His commandments) – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7 [New King James Version] “This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:17 [New Living Translation]
6. When you pray, believe that you have received what you asked for. Jesus said: “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and cast into the sea’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask for when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:23-24 [New King James Version]. Thank Him for granting your request, believing that He has granted your request.
7. After your prayer, continually declare (i.e. say it with your mouth) either to yourself or to others that you wish to confide in, exactly (in specifics) what it is that you believe you have received through your prayer (no matter the circumstances). The reason why you need to expressly say what you believe is that in the spiritual world, words have creative power. Notice that Jesus Himself in Mark 11:23-24 said that “…whoever says to this mountain…” i.e. you need to speak and declare your faith over the issue that you are dealing with. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it shall eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 [New King James Version] Even salvation itself is achieved by confessing with your mouth: “For it is with the heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:10 [New International Version] God demonstrated this principle of confessing what you stand for in faith when he changed Abram’s name (at the age of ninety-nine) to Abraham (“father of a multitude”) [Genesis 17:5-6]. Whenever Abraham had to say his name, he was declaring with his mouth the promise God had given him twenty-four years earlier that he would be the father of many nations. Within a year, Sarah gave birth to Isaac [Genesis 17:21; 21:1-2]. Abraham was a hundred years old. His body and Sarah’s body were already past childbearing age. [Romans 4:19] Abraham received what he confessed in faith, even though it appeared impossible.
Having done the above, hold on to your faith (it will be tested by circumstances that appear contrary to what you believe, negative thoughts, etc.). This is the good fight of faith! This is the time to hold on to your faith until what you are believing for manifests. “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22 [New King James Version] This means you must be prepared that time may pass before what you are believing for manifests. Praying and declaring your faith over your circumstances is the seed you plant. Your harvest comes in the manifestation of what you have been believing for. During the period of waiting for the manifestation, continually thank God for answering your prayer (because of the certainty in your heart, by faith) that He has granted your request. Be patient. [Hebrews 6:12]
The question is, are you prepared to wait or will you give up? It’s your choice – God’s word remains true! “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 [New King James Version] “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38 [New King James Version]