7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit
A. WHAT IT IS NOT
1. NOT SIMPLY CONFIDENCEB. WHAT IT IS
It is not natural courage or confidence. It is not ambition or natural business ability. These are very important and they keep people going, but they should not be confused with the gift of faith. Even those who deny the Spirit of God may possess courage and confidence. There are many things that a person can do in the natural to build one's confidence, but the gift of faith is not built up by natural means. It is a manifestation of the Spirit of God (1Cor.12:7).
2. NOT SAVING FAITH
It is not saving faith, which every Christian must have in order to truly be a Christian. The gift of faith is a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit to help someone who is already a Christian.
3. NOT SIMPLY HOPING SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN
The gift of faith is not simply trying to have faith. It doesn't come from gesturing, screaming, yelling, jumping, or supposing. It is not guess-work, predicting, or positive confession. Simply hoping something will happen may keep a person working towards a goal, but it is not a manifestation of the Spirit of God. A person doesn't necessarily need the Holy Spirit to hope something good will happen.
4. NOT ONE'S THEOLOGY
It is not a doctrine, a theory, a dogma, a theological principle, a disciplined prayer life, a conviction, a creed, or any man-made policy. It is a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
5. NOT A PLEA FOR MONEY
It is not someone up before an audience at a church, or speaking over the radio begging for money, and claiming they have a "faithwork." It is not someone who claims the call of God to go but demands a certain amount of money before he goes. That is not the Holy Spirit manifesting a gift of faith, that is a man manifesting a demand for cash.
The Spiritual gift of faith is the supernatural manifestation of the Spirit of God that miraculously drops the assurance of the answer to one's prayers into his heart, even BEFORE he sees it come to pass with his natural eyes. It is believing you have it WHEN you pray (Mark 11:24). It is knowing the roots are cursed before you see the tree die. It ceases to be faith the minute you see it come to pass.
2. OLD TESTAMENT EXAMPLES
It was the gift of faith that caused Abraham to claim that God had given him a son even before he saw any natural evidence. He understood that God "...calleth those things which be not as though they were." Through the gift of faith, the children of Israel marched around the city of Jericho claiming that God had given them the city (past tense) before the walls ever fell. Elijah had the assurance that there would be no rain for three and a half years. By the gift of faith, he had assurance that it would rain when he asked for rain, even though he couldn't see the rain. By the gift of faith, Elisha had the assurance that the victory would be won in the camp the day before the natural eyes saw it come to pass. No wonder he could tell the man so (II Kings 7:1). He had already won the victory for them! He had it in his soul!
3. NEW TESTAMENT EXAMPLES
By the gift of faith Jesus rested his head on the pillow DURING the storm. He already had the assurance they. were going over to the other side (Mk.4:35). Ananias had the assurance, even before he went to see Paul, that Paul would receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 9). Paul knew by a divine revelation that no man would lay hands on him to do him harm. He acted accordingly. (Faith is an act, faith without works is dead). Real faith is trust. You will walk out on it. Since that was an answer to prayer it must have been faith before he saw it. It is usually best not to tell your assurance to others before you see the answer and have natural evidence that natural man can understand.