Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ever Increasing Faith

I was thinking about faith this morning and how it should grow.  Our faith in the Lord and as a disciple should continually and systematically increase and build upon itself.  It is kind of like a tree.  Our faith is rooted in Christ and Scripture, which causes us to grow layer upon layer (like tree rings) and producing fruit that is both visible and usable.  This is true spiritual formation - discipleship!  Scripture backs this up.  The disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith in Luke 17:5.  Faith should grow, we see in the Scriptures, from a little speck in the illustration of a mustard seed of in Matthew 17:20 to a remarkable and powerful force removing mountains into the sea.

Jesus desires us to have great faith and praises those who do (Matthew 8:10).  He rebukes those who have little faith (Matthew 8:26).  I desire to have great faith and please the Lord.  After all, without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).  Do you have great faith?  When Jesus, the Son of Man returns, what kind of faith will he find on earth? (Luke 18:8) 

Believers should desire to grow in their faith.  Paul recognized this in the early believers as their faith "grew abundantly (2 Thessalonians 1:3).  This kept them (as well as it should us today) from being "children tossed about by every wind of doctrine and by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes" (Ephesians 4:13-14).  Here is a bold statement - if your faith fails to grow then your faith is doubtful.  Don't get mad at me.  Scripture says this.  Hebrews 10:39 says, "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls." 

Faith should increase, not decrease or remain constant.  We should increase in our faith just like the disciples did.  This faith should also spread from us to others as we portray (walk out through testimony) Christ in our daily lives. We must remember as the church that we are "the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10) that desire and grow as one body towards one common goal (the Gospel of Christ) as Paul suggested in Philippians 1:17 - "you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel."  As Paul said to Titus (1:4) we have a common faith that needs to be handed down to the next generation of believers (Jude 1:3).  After all, who wants to pass on a dying and tired faith?  We must pass on a vibrant expression of the wondrous realities existant in a life full of faith in Christ! 

I pray that "you will be like Him and see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2) because "Jesus is the source and perfecter of our faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross and despised shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God's throne" (Hebrews 12:2).  Faith begins in Christ, grows in Christ, and is ultimately perfected in Christ. Have (present progressive tense - not past or present inactive) faith in God!

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