“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
I recently read an article in which I saw the statement “Trees don’t grow to the sky” for which some
economists are sometimes said to say. This expression suggests that things in life only reach a maximum rate of return, above which they’re not able to achieve any greater height or potential output. All you can do at that point is maintain, and try to keep it from falling ….
Faith, however, is not one of those things. So I’ve got good news for you if you’re eager to fully invest in your faith, and you’ve seen the futility of putting stock in other stuff. Faith in God doesn’t peak. Even the sky is not the limit. Your faith can just keep on going, getting stronger, and growing deeper; as long as you’re planting it in certain types of soil ….
The places where faith grows include:
The Bible. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Your pastor may inspire you by proclaiming the Scripture from the pulpit. That’s great. But his sermon is not meant to be the sum total of your spiritual diet. It is meant to be an inducement for a whole-week, with every-day encounter with the Word. If you’re struggling in your faith today; take a break from all of your social media scrolling to get alone with your Bible. Open it. Read it. Jot down some notes from it. The Word says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8). Get into agreement with God in prayer that you are going to live out its truth today. The Word is one of the key places where faith comes from. Let’s look at that ….
Faith also grows from time spent with other believers; perhaps in a small group or some other kind of regular gathering where your faith can be challenged and stirred up by being in close proximity with fellow Christ followers. When Paul talked about going to Rome to meet with the brothers there, his expectation was “that is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith, both of you and me” (Romans 1:12). This can still be our expectation today, for as it is written:
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised; and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” (Hebrews 10:23-24).
God’s house ~
Too many believers treat the church as if they only need it every so often and only sporadically attend.
But your faith when coming “out of church” will be much more vibrant and alive than when you were going “in to church”….
God has designed His house to be a place where we gather every week for renewal and refreshment, as we were instructed “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner (habit) of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
So you see, we are to be meeting and gathering together as a body to encourage one another and gain strength through our fellowship, and it is even more important the closer we get to our Lord’s return, because the battle will become more fierce and more intense as the world grows more perverse and wickedness increases …
If you’re frustrated because your faith isn’t stronger; as strong as others’ seems to be, and yet you’re too seldom in the places where faith is built, you’re like someone complaining about the darkness while sitting in the basement under a blanket with the lights off ….
Don’t look at faith as if it’s something that only belongs to other people, or that requires knowing a mysterious secret you can’t quite figure out. You can have faith that stands strong amid trials; that enables you to trust God when it’s hard; and that helps you overcome sin; yes, even that sin that you think no one knows about, again and again and again. But not if you’re forsaking the places where faith is built …..
As the apostle Paul warned us in (1 Timothy 4:1-2), “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”
That’s pretty clear. That’s the Word of God. He goes on to say, “if thou put the brethren in remembrance if these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.” (v. 6).
And how do we attain that which will nourished us up in faith? Simple …
With the Word of God …. With the people of God …. In the house of God. And most importantly, by the power of the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:8) ….
In summary, what kind of obstacles do you find cropping up when you plan to open the Word, get to church, or engage in Christian fellowship? How do you think can you proactively guard against getting derailed from engaging in these essential disciplines? Our adversary is very sly and cunning, and will devise schemes to come up that will tempt, entice, and even persuade you that it’s okay to stay home, whispering that it’s alright to miss or make excuses. Remember we discussed yesterday how his only agenda is to discourage you and defeat you in any way ….
Be mindful of the Word and write it on your hearts that it may strengthen you.
“Refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach.
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4:7-16).
Let us pray ~
Father, thank You not only for giving me faith as a gracious act of Your love, but for also giving me places where You continue to develop and strengthen that faith within me. Thank You for the good and perfect gifts of Your Word, your church, and Your people. I am hungry for that kind of faith that’s greater than any and every challenge that I face, whereby I can be a witness and living testimony to Your strength working through my human weaknesses. Keep me committed to increasing belief, and enable me to continue coming back to those people and places that You have designed and provided to nuture and grow my faith. All this I ask in Jesus steadfast name, Amen . ..