Monday, July 29, 2013

Building our faith

Without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6

The way we come to know God is through the exercise of faith.  The way we develop our spiritual strength and knowledge of God is the same.  The way we began is the way we continue.

For some, after receiving Christ by grace through faith, they begin the futile practice of trying to please God and grow through religion.  God is not pleased with religion in place of faith.  As the verse above says, God wants to see our faith, not just religion.  You can do the right thing and still not please God because you’re not doing it in faith…you are in control and not God.

Paul tells the Corinthians they should not be afraid to test their salvation faith. Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?  2 Corinthians 13:5

However, when we test ourselves, we tend to compare ourselves to others. What good does it do to test against a false standard – the standard of religion?  A danger is that I compare myself against that standard and I come out feeling o.k.  I feel good about myself in comparison to others.  It is the test of the Pharisee, “Thank you God that I am not like that other man.”

The real test of faith comes separate from religious duty, service or actions.
A faith test occurs when our concept of God and the reality of our lives conflict and we can’t understand why something isn’t happening.  If we had our way, our faith would never be tested…but God would never have the chance to prove that faith worked.  Our declarations of faith would ring hollow.  We would simply be echoing empty religious clich├ęs learned in church and Sunday School.
No skeptic is ever convinced or won over by that kind of faith.

In Luke 17:5 the apostles said to Jesus, "Lord increase our faith." How do we do that? Here’s the secret: God builds our faith by testing it.

·      Faith is like a muscle; when it’s stretched and it’s pulled then it develops. Our faith develops as it is tested.  We don't develop our faith just sitting on our blessed assurance in church!
·      Job says the same thing speaking from experience in Job 7:17-18 "What is man that You make so much of him and that You give him so much attention and that You examine him every morning and test him every moment."

So, here is an eye-opener…God tests us every moment of our lives!  The way we live our lives is under His watchful eye.  Why?  Job says it is because we are so important to Him
The testing of our faith is more about who God is than who we are.

God’s desire is that we know Him and experience His goodness in our lives.  The positive end of a test of faith may not be a change in circumstance, but a greater knowledge of God and His love and power in our lives.

Scripture to Claim:
And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God. "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. March 11:22-24

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