Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Feed Your Faith

“The just shall live by faith.” (Gal. 3:11)

According to this verse (and others like it), faith is a matter of life and death. Not only is it the catalyst for justification (“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith…” Rom.3: 28); it is the criteria for sanctification (“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2Cor.5: 7). Our Christian life is no stronger than the faith that sustains it, nor can faith ever be stronger than its object. But there’s no worry there. Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:12, we can be “bold” and “confident,” because our faith rests firmly on Deity—Jesus Christ. So then, if our faith is anemic, the weakness is ours, not His. And anybody knows, the best way to strengthen anything or anyone that is weak is to provide nourishment. Here then, are some suggestions on how to “feed your faith.”

1. Drown your doubts in the honey pot of God’s Word. There is a direct line between the Word of God and faith in the life of the believer. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom.10: 17). “Thy words were found, and I did eat them,” says Jeremiah, “and they were the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jer.15: 16). The Bible holds us up when all the props are knocked down in our lives. “Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction” (Psl.119:92).

2. Keep company with faith-builders. People who don’t have faith are unreasonable, and sometimes, down right wicked, according the Apostle. “Finally, brethren, pray for us…that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith” (2Thess.3: 1-2). If Paul found it so unbearable to be around people who are faithless, why should we think we would fare any better with them? Instead, we should rub shoulders with believers who, like Abraham, “against hope [believe] in hope” (Rom.4:18). We should follow Oswald Chamber’s counsel: “If you know a man [or woman] who has a good spiritual bank account, borrow from him for all you are worth, because he will give you all you want and never look to be repaid.”

3. Store up memories to treasure during hard times. “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old” (Psalm 77:11). There is something about recounting the mercies of God in our lives that fans the flames of faith that have become embers of smoldering doubt. Are there any among us who have been saved any amount of time and have not seen the hand of God in our lives? In my own case, I can never forget those dark days when our older daughter, Leah, faced the very real possibility of losing her three precious little boys through a court system brought to bear against her. During that time, by faith, I laid claim to Isaiah 54:13-17, and two years later, that faith was rewarded. Those three young men today are monuments to faith.

Nor will I forget the morning nearly fifty years ago when our young first born, Andrew, looked at my husband and me, questioningly, when we told him he couldn’t have any more cereal and milk, because there was no more—in fact, no more anything. And then the blessed memory of the knock that came at the door as the three of us were on our knees praying, and the woman from church who was standing there with bags of groceries in her hand that she said God had, for some reason, laid it upon her heart to bring to us. “Could you use them?” she asked, hesitantly. And, yes, there was cereal and milk in those bags!

If my faith—or yours—is anemic today, it is not for lack of food to nourish it. God has given us His Word that is sure and steadfast and filled with promises to fill all the cupboards of need in our lives. We have examples of faith through history and around us, if we will expose ourselves to their influence. And we have memories to draw from if we will take the time to dust them off and let them work their wonder and thrill as they did so long ago. God has given each of us the “measure of faith” (Rom.12: 3). We must decide whether or not we will feed it.

The opposite of joy is not sorrow; it is unbelief.  – Leslie Weatherhead

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