God is always looking for the sacrifice of the heart, for it is the yielded heart that believes. Faith comes from the heart, not the mind. Living a life of surrender to God can only result in ever-increasing faith. This place of surrender is an expression of dependence on God.
Such dependence comes from humility, which basically means "to see ourselves as He does." Dependence is surrender made manifest. It is what true humility looks like. So then, faith and humility are related.
Faith is not a product of human intelligence or endeavor. It is not the product of our labors, or it would be of human origin. Faith is otherworldly, firmly anchored in the nature, presence and promises of God. Learning to come before Him in awe, knowing we are accepted by Him, is vital to great faith. Faith is not a product separate from Him, but is instead because of Him. Faith is the result of His nature having an impact on the heart of the believer.
The priests of the Old Testament could not wear wool in God's presence as wool might have made them sweat. They were instructed to wear linen. The picture is fairly clear—we cannot come before God through our own labors (sweat). We must come before Him through His labors, which were designed to make us acceptable before Him.
Faith is called both a fruit and a gift of the Spirit. You have never heard a fruit tree groan and travail to produce fruit. Growing fruit is the evidence that the tree is holding its place (abiding) in the soil in order to receive nutrients, sunlight and moisture correctly. In the same way, those who abide in Christ cannot help but grow in faith as the result of being continually exposed to His nature through His Word and His manifest presence. It is as natural a result as it is for an apple tree to produce apples.
When I find that I am anxious, I ask myself the all-important question, Where did I lose my peace? If I can answer that one, I am usually able to spot the lie I believed that brought about such conflict in my soul. Confession and forsaking sin follow, which is what God uses to restore peace. And that place of peace is the place where faith matures.
Father, I acknowledge that Jesus made it possible for me to come before You. This privilege was not something I could have earned. So I rest in the accomplishments of Jesus on my behalf. I also recognize that in my surrender to You, Your heart becomes manifest through me. And that is my great desire. Be glorified in and through me this day!
I choose to live a surrendered life today, believing that God will be glorified in who I am and all I do. I live this way because I am highly favored of the Lord. His peace—the atmosphere of heaven—is my portion.
Bill Johnson is the senior pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California. A fifth-generation pastor with a rich heritage in the power of the Spirit, he is the best-selling author of several books including Experience the Impossible—from which this article is adapted—and When Heaven Invades Earth. Bill and his wife, Beni, serve a growing number of churches through an apostolic network that has crossed denominational lines, partnering for revival.