Friday, August 8, 2014

Fortify Your Faith Part II

For a little while you have had to suffer great and all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

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.

Four Ways God Fortifies Our Faith:
·      By Testing Our Obedience – Sometimes it feels like God asks us to do things that are seemingly impossible or illogical to our way of thinking.  But our ways are not His ways. Faith is often a risk.  When it's a risk it means you can't understand it all in advance.  We begin to doubt or question when we think God should or should not have done something or question the way He should do it.  We cling to what we've got, because we are fearful of losing it.  God wants us to let go so He can bless us.  He desires to take us to a new place with a greater blessing.

·      By Providing for our Problems - Nothing ever happens by accident in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ.  Everything is Father-filtered.  Nothing comes into your life if you're a child of God, without God's permission.  It can’t happen except God allow it.  But, God's permission also brings God's protection, provision and purpose.  God may even negotiate our failure for our overall success (or His success).  

When you think about it, the real tests of our faith are internal (doubt, depression, despair), not circumstantial.  God uses these kinds of things to test our faith.  If life were easy then it wouldn't require any faith.  If you could feel God all the time then you'd just go by your feelings.  Sometimes the feelings of His presence seem to abandon us and we have to trust His promise in the difficulties.  We may learn something about how strong we are in the fire, but what God really desires is for us to learn about Him.

·      By Using Our Resources - Few people understand how God uses our material possessions as a test of character and a test of faith.  For many people finances are the greatest test of all.  There is a direct relationship between how we handle money and the spiritual depth of our lives.  In fact, Jesus says if I'm not faithful in handling material wealth He will not trust me with spiritual wealth.  God determines how much He can bless my life by how faithful I am with what He's put in my hands.  Consider the Parable of the Servants in Matthew 25.  When I'm willing, ready and able to generously give to the Lord, knowing that this money could be spent for other things, I have met the test.

·      By Making us Wait - If every prayer was immediately answered, we wouldn't need faith and our faith wouldn't need to be increased. But it is not that way. We have to wait on things. Do you ever find yourself in situations where you feel like you're in a hurry and you get the definite idea that God is not in a hurry.  Why does that happen?  Because God is more interested in growing our faith than anything else.  It pays to be patient.  Just remember this:  While you are waiting, God is working.  You're not waiting alone.  When we are waiting in faith, God is doing things behind the scenes, in your heart and other people's hearts that you cannot even see.

So what’s the lesson on this one…the faith lesson?  If I really want to learn to live by faith, I’ve got to learn to rejoice continually, to obey immediately, to give generously. and to wait patiently.  Is that easy to do?  Absolutely not for Satan will fight us every step of the way.  But God’s encouragement to us again and again in His Word is, “Trust in the Lord!”  Look to God and realize that He is with you. As you and I wait on Him He not only increases our faith but He works out His plan.  So pray, Lord, help me to wait patiently.

Scripture to Claim:
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. Psalms 27:13-14

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