Factors concerning faith

 

Understanding that it is indispensable in the Christian life, meditate upon these two factors concerning faith. First, faith increases as you expose yourself to the Word of God.  Faith goes way beyond the power of positive thinking and isn’t something you can manufacture in your own strength. It originates with God and therefore flourishes as you feed upon His Word and engage in its teaching. As the Bible says, “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Notice in this verse, the:

Proclamation- Just prior to these words, Paul penned: “How then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14).  

Not only does this include sermons from the pulpit, but all types of presentations of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Just because you aren’t a preacher or Bible study teacher doesn’t mean you can’t pass along the Word of God and build up someone’s faith. Don’t assume they know the truth. False teaching abounds. People have many distorted ideas about how to receive abundant and eternal life. Also, don’t rely merely on “lifestyle evangelism.” People need to see and hear from you.

Participation- Communication is a two way street. It’s not only a matter of a message being delivered, but being heard as well. On more than one occasion, Jesus said, “He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15, 13:9,43). He compared His generation to children in the marketplace, calling out to others, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn” (Matthew 11:17).

Are things any different in today’s society? Truth is being proclaimed, yet people don’t want to hear it. Mention sports, money, entertainment, travel, etc, and their ears perk up. Talk about Jesus and it’s as if they symbolically cover up those same ears. An awkward silence often ensues.

If you’re a true follower of Christ, “You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). No one enters into the faith apart from the Word of God. You can’t grow in the faith without the Word either.

Next, faith pleases Jesus. My first book, The Compliments of Christ (2004), centers around these words from Paul: ‘Live as children of light . . . and find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8, 10). Searching through the Gospels, I found seven occasions where Jesus made a special effort to voice His approval of a follower (Matthew 8:10,15:28; Mark 12:43,14:6; Luke 7:28,10:42; John 1:47).

Further study revealed several common traits exhibited by the group, one of which was faith. You’ve already been introduced to one of these, the woman in Matthew 15 with the demon possessed daughter. On another occasion, Jesus encountered a high ranking military man who had a paralyzed servant suffering at his home, some distance away. When the Lord agreed to go to his house and heal the servant, the soldier humbly replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8). He went on to explain how those under his authority obeyed his orders. Impressed by the man’s spiritual insight, Jesus responded, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matthew 8:10).

In his book, Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, Chuck Swindoll tells about Blondin, the famous tightrope walker, crossing Niagara Falls one day in 1860. He went back and forth numerous times – a 1,000-foot trip, 160 feet above the raging waters.  Not only did he walk it, he pushed a wheelbarrow across it as well. After performing this amazing feat, he asked a little boy who stood by in amazement, “Do you believe I could take a person across in the wheelbarrow without falling?”
“Yes sir, I really do,” replied the lad.
“Well then, get in, son.”

“Get in” on the spiritual rewards that await those willing exercise faith, spending  time in the Word of God and seeking to please Jesus in the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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