Faith (Part 2)
In our first lesson we began to look at how truly important it is to have faith in our life. I talked about how debilitating it would be if we had no faith what so ever.
- You would never believe anything would work out for your benefit, leaving us to live a hopeless life.
- We would never be able to trust anyone.
- We’d never be able to step out on faith and try anything new, because courage and faith go hand in hand.
- We’d never be able to believe in anything we couldn’t prove, see, or touch with our own hands.
- We wouldn’t be able accept many of those historical and scientific facts that we’ve learned over the years. - And especially sad is the fact that we could not believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, angels, heaven or anything spiritual. And so we would not only be condemned to a hell on earth, we would also be condemned to an eternal hell. Why? Because we are saved by our faith in God, in the saving work of Jesus, and what He has said to us in His word.
The ability to have Faith is such a blessing and so very important to each and every one of us. I also showed you from scripture that our faith is something that can protect us from the many temptations and negative emotions that we can be bombarded with.
The Apostle Paul instructed us in Eph. 6:16 to “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
When people put us down or try to discourage us it is our faith that says, ”Wait just a minute, I am a child of God and I know He loves me, so I don’t care what you think about me or what I can or cannot do… I can do all things through Christ who give me strength.”
During unfortunate times of tragedy, it is our faith that says, “I know God loves and cares for me and that He will work out all thing for the good of those who love Him. I believe He is in control and somehow everything will be all right.”
When people say, “I can’t believe that you really believe in all that religious mumbo jumbo.” Faith is what enables us to see God, accept that He is, and accept that within the pages of the Bible we see His eternal purpose and plan unfolding throughout history. Faith is what protects us from the devastation flaming arrows of discouragement, doubt, and unbelief.
I believe that when we are born we all begin with the same amount of faith, but for some reason
some take more advantage of it and use it more than others. For some their faith remains small.
Why? Because I believe our faith is very much like a muscle. The more you use it, the more your
exercise it, the stronger it becomes.
If you rarely use a muscle in your body it doesn’t mean that it is not there, it just remains small and weak. But the more we use it and press it to its limit the bigger and stronger it becomes. . And likewise faith grows as we use it. Even as it’s pressed to its breaking point, it grows stronger and stronger.
Some people talk about their faith; how much they love God and Jesus, how much they believe that the church and loving people is important, and then there are those who actually exercise that faith. (Consider James 2:18)
I read where someone said, “All of us have faith but it must be released, we can’t keep it locked up inside us. It has to be pulled out and expressed and used and that is done by Praying, Saying, and Taking action.”
PRAYING carries our faith filled request before the throne of God. And if it’s His will He will answer that prayer in His time. Your request may seem absolutely ridiculous to everyone else but He hears and cares about what’s important to you. And remember He is able to do more than we can ever ask or imagine.
“16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. - First of all here Paul says I pray that you all will come to understand how much God really, really, loves you. Why? So that you will be filled up with God. Then he says… 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
Paul lets us know here that God can do more than we can ever imagine .. thru His power that is in us. Prayer helps us to tap into that power and helps strengthen our faith even more
In Heb. 4:14-16 it says, “14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
We begin to exercise our faith first of all when we chose to approach God and talk to Him about what’s on our mind, believing that He is able to do some amazing things; because He loves and understands how hard life can be.
Then there’s Speaking: The there is something special, even powerful, about our words. What is in your heart will eventually come out of our mouth. In Matt. 15:18 Jesus said, “the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart.” That’s why it’s important to pay attention to pay attention to what you say. Why? Because it helps you discover how much faith you really have.
A person may listen to a hundred Bible teachings on faith, but you can tell whether or not that person truly has faith or not by listening to what they say. If a person can still speak positively, with words of faith even in a tough situation, that shows what kind of faith they have. But if all you hear from that person is complaining, and whining about their situation, or that saying something is impossible or can’t be done, or worked out, then that also tells you how little their faith is. That person is in danger.
Even if you are a little unsure about something verbalizing words out loud (the right words) in agreement with God’s Word will release faith and allow it to go to work in the Spiritual realm.
Words like; ‘I believe that if this is God’s will He is going to work this problem out for me because I love Him.’ Or, ‘If doing this is God’s will I believe He is going to help me through this situation, this problem, or He is going to help me with this new adventure, because I know that He loves me.’ I believe speaking words of faith over and over can push aside fear and doubts.
Those positive words of faith not only express your faith, they also re-fortify and build up your faith.
And then there are actually some Specific Actions we need to take to release our faith. When we begin to act on what we want to believe, God shows up.
When Peter literally stood up and stepped out of the boat into the water, His action showed that he had faith in God’s word when Jesus said, “Come.” It was at that point that God allowed the unimaginable to occur.
Most of the time faith requires that we step out. Peter was the only one who asked about and had the faith to walk out on the water, he was the only one who trusted God enough to take the first step.
Can you just imagine how great that story would have been if they all got out of the boat and walked to Jesus.
If what we want to do something, like Peter sometimes we just have to trust God and have the faith to take that first step. He will never fail to help us finish if we keep our eyes on Him as we walk in faith step by step, day after day.
I believe that God wants our faith to keep growing and growing. But that’s not going to happen if you just shrink back in the corner and whine and complain, and do nothing to exercise that faith muscle because you know that it may be uncomfortable at times.
Just remember, the smaller one’s faith, the smaller the shield you have to protect yourself from those evil attacks when they come your way. The more you believe in God, and in your position in His love, and the more you keep praying and the more you keep stepping out on faith, the stronger you will become. You will have more confidence. You will complain less. You will do more and you will get things done without worrying all the time.
But I’m going to be honest with you’re here, just like there is a price to pay to build up your muscles in your body, there is a price to pay when it comes to building our faith.
I’m sure you’ve heard that saying, ‘No pain, no gain.’ In order to have a strong faith many times we have to step out of our comfort zone and step into the unknown ; like doing or trying something we have never done before. Maybe God puts something in your heart to go some place to do something you have never done before, knowing that you will be a blessing to another and it will help you grow as a more faith filled person enabling you to do even greater things despite the anxiety you may have at first.
We just have to trust God and step out of the boat.
Some people do amazing things you can never imagine yourself doing. Let me tell you something that you probably already know, that doesn’t just happen overnight or right away. That person’s faith grew from faith to faith. In other words it grew with each new step of faith they took.
You are amazed and admire what these people are doing with their life never having seen all little steps it took them to get where they are.
If you go to a gym and ask a trainer to help you build up your arm muscles he is not going to start you off with the heaviest weights to lift. He will probably start you off with something small, something he knows you can handle. And even using those small weights will cause your arms to become a bit sore. But the more you exercise and the stronger you become the more weight he will add.
Likewise, God is not going to give you any more than you can handle (even though many feel like He is pushing you to hard at times). As you move from task to task, or from one trial to another from one adventure to another, from one challenge to another, from faith to faith, you will grow stronger and you will eventually be the one amazing others.
This can have an effect on every part of your life; your walk with Christ, steps you will take to advance yourself in your career or business, even how far you will go to maintain and grow your relationship with others, even how you handle trials and troubles in life.
My Challenge for you this week is to trust Jesus and take those steps of faith. If you do so you will find yourself growing from faith to faith.
Present your request to God. Talk to Him knowing and believing that He can do amazing things with you and thru you.
Proclaim words of faith burying those word of fear, doubt or complaints.
Trust God and take that first step. You just may be pleasantly surprised what you may find yourself doing.
Next week I hope to bring this lesson on faith down home on an every day level.
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