Faith, Part 2 or The Garden of Faith

Did you know that everyone is granted a measure of faith (sinners and saints a like)? Romans 12:3 It’s true. Look at the things you do each day. You prepare your clothes at night for tomorrow’s interview, meeting or day job – it’s an act of faith. It’s the God-granted measure we’re all born with. How about when you sit down on a chair? You’re acting in faith. Your mind tells you, “This surface will hold me,” and so, you sit. Faith seems a given when put in these terms and yet when it comes to having faith on a source outside of ourselves, we stumble.

Faith is required to please God; Hebrews 11:6 says that it is impossible to please Him without faith. In fact, one must have faith to even believe that He is God. John 5:24 We come to Him by faith and can abide in Him only with faith. So the question remains how does one take a measure of faith and increase it? The word of God proclaims that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 The measure of faith we have is akin to a seed that has been planted in our hearts. It must be watered and constantly tended in order for it to mature and become healthy and strong and to produce fruit (works) of the spirit.

Hearing by the Word of God: Romans 10:17

Knowing God’s word is a key to faith building. What better way to encourage growth than to expose one’s self to an abundance of faith and where can you find more abundance than in the Word of God?  The Lord said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6 We must anchor ourselves in the Word of God lest the enemy comes and steals our faith away. A child of God whose faith is active is one who reads the Word of God daily (not only read but study). “Study to shew thyself approved.” 2 Tim 2:15 The Word of God is living water (John 4:7-13), water which nourishes the seed of faith God planted in our hearts. Further, knowing the Word is a commandment Joshua 1:8.

The spoken Word of God is just as essential. It is imperative for us to sit under sound doctrine (doctrine inspired purely by the Word of God and the Holy Ghost). Luke 6:39 How is one to know if doctrine is sound? Ask yourself these questions: What kind of fruit is being produced? Is faith in evidence? Are the fruits of the spirit manifest? Is your faith being fed or do you still doubt? Are you confused, adrift in a sea of uncertainty? One must know and be on guard against the tricks and wiles of the enemy, for if faith comes by hearing then it follows that doubt will too. If you are not growing spiritually in the house you’re in then it is your duty to your soul and to God to seek fertile ground – be led of the Spirit and pursue God’s fertile ground with all dedication and purpose.

Prayer and Fasting: Nourishing your measured seed 1 Corinthians 3:7

Study the Word, meditate on it and put it into action (be not hearers only but doers). James 1:22 Faith produces works (actions that precipitates God’s miraculous interception on our behalf). Two acts of faith that are essential components to spiritual maturation are fasting and prayer. They are not optional. A Christian who does not pray will not last – there are no exceptions. Luke 6:46-49 Jesus is our perfect example; we must fast and pray or we will be defeated in life and death (after the grave hell waits!).

For as much as God has given each of us a measure of faith we are also carnal creatures, doubt is as natural to us as faith. Fasting coupled with prayer helps us to stay dead to carnality; to crucify the flesh is to enlarge the Spirit in our lives (not our own spirit but God in us – the Holy Spirit). When the Holy Spirit holds sway in our lives He creates the right environment for our faith to flourish and ripen. He intercedes for us in our weakness and prays for us when we do not know what to pray. Romans 8:22-27 

Satan knows this – he knows and so he fights us at every turn. He does not want the children of God to fast, pray or to be filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost. He does not want us to embrace the fullness of the promises of God. Acts 2:37-39 These things produce power and faith and beloved, there’s nothing more frightening to the devil than a Holy Ghost filled, faith abounding child of God! Defy him and put him on the run – fast and pray! “Quench not the spirit.” I Thessalonians 5:19 and Ephesians 4:30

Suffering: taking up the cross Mark 8:34

So, we are praying, fasting, studying God’s Word, growing in faith and faithfulness, producing the fruits of the Spirit but we’re still lacking one critical ingredient:  suffering. It’s our source of strength and faith and results in securing our eternal reward! Romans 8:18

Suffering is a dirty word to many believers today. We have been bombarded with messages of acquiring material success, receiving victory over our enemies, healing and on and on. Yet there are many (millions upon millions) believers who are bound by addictions, childhood trauma, mind demons who beat them up with low self-esteem and yes, doubt and fear (ask me how I know). This should not be! This goes back to sitting under “sound doctrine” (not doctrine that sounds good). 2 Timothy 4:3 Sound doctrine tells you the truth and the truth is this, nothing grows faith more than suffering. It is in our tests and trials that we come to know God. Job 36:15 It is in our suffering that faith becomes knowledge!

You cannot come to know God better by any other means than by suffering. “We suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Romans 8:17 It’s a reality that many of us (this includes me) do not like or want to face. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to suffer! I spent years running from suffering, struggling with the need to suffer. The devil assisted me in my struggle by murmuring lies into my psyche like, “It’s not fair,” and “No one else has to go through what I do!” However, in the fullness of time, my love for God has come to outweigh my desire for my own comfort. I’m learning as I grow and hopefully I’m maturing to the point where the idea of suffering is not something for me to run from but instead, I am learning (ever so tentatively) to embrace it. I’ve come to know that if I run from suffering and trials I will not grow. Who wants to go through hell and come out with nothing to show for it? Not me! It’s much better (and more productive) to embrace our suffering with praises and thanksgiving. Acts 5:41

I have come to understand that prayer, fasting, the study of God’s word (all of these together) strengthens you for the struggle. These acts of faith and faithfulness are not only our Christian duty to our Lord but they’re also the tools by which we have the ability to endure suffering as good soldiers. 2 Timothy 2:3 It is actually possible to go through the storms of life with peace but only if we’ve made proper preparation (see the aforementioned tools). We are gifted with more faith, more strength and greater knowledge of God as a result!

In the natural we often perform our work duties with little to no reward, but look at God! He assigns us duties based on the foundation of love which in turn empowers us with strength and grace and ensures us a victorious outcome for this life and secures our reward in the next. What a loving God. What a kind and compassionate friend we have in Him! He is faithful to us and requires our faithfulness in return and as a reward we are granted everlasting fellowship with Him – oh how great a promise! What a joy divine!

And so beloved, in all thy getting, get understanding, grow in faith, secure the promise and reap the bounties of God’s great harvest. Abide in Him and let His Words abide in you right on into eternity.

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