My thought today has been on "Faith", particularly in how we all measure up to Godís standard of how strong our faith should be. In a nut shell, we all fall terribly short! Some may say, "Now hold on there a minute!, I know some very strong Christians who have exceptional faith." I donít doubt that, but what standard do we often use to measure where we are with God? Not only in faith, but in so many other things, we often donít look to Godís word for the standard, but have a tendency to compare ourselves with one another.
If we were to put a rating scale on faith of from 1 to 10 with 10 representing Godís standard, many of us may have a faith value of only 1 or 2. Those few who may have a faith value of lets say 4 would certainly seem to have great faith in the eyes of their Christian brothers and sisters because they have twice or more the faith of most everyone else. Yet on Godís scale they donít even reach the half way mark.
Why do I think we are often so far off the standard since we donít have a "faith meter" mounted on us? Well there are two things that cause me to think this way,
1. The way we behave
2. Comparing the faith I see in Godís word that the saints had in those days with what I see in us now.
Let me say right now that I am not judging anyone. I include myself when I say that most of the time our faith is short of what it ought to be. Just because I write on what I believe is correct or good or righteous, it is by no means suggestive that I believe that I measure up any more than the person that reads what I have written. In fact I believe in many ways I am weaker than many of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
On the way we behave: Here is an illustration of what I mean when I refer to our behavior revealing our level of faith Ė We often will get on our knees and pray for a loved oneís healing, salvation, etcÖ and we get up with the "hope" that our prayer will be answered. If at a later time that person gets healed or saved we will rejoice and praise God for answering our prayers.
However, I believe that perfect faith would cause us to rejoice and praise God the second we got off our knees, "before" the prayer was answered because we "knew" that although the prayer may not be answered yet, it will be answered in Godís own time.
You see, Godís word tells us plainly that He will give us the desires of our hearts. His word tells us that we can ask anything in His name and it will be given to us. These are promises given to us by Almighty God who can not lie. If we truly believed those promises with perfect faith we could rejoice the minute we asked God for something. We would not have to wait to see if God would answer.
But what about those times when our faith is not perfect as described here and yet our prayers are answered? Well, you may not be the only one praying. Perhaps someone who truly does have the faith to have power with God and has that perfect faith has had "their" prayers answered. You see I am not saying that no one in this day has absolute faith. I believe some do. I am writing here on the faith that I believe most of us have, or donít have I should say. Even those who may have this perfect faith to have power with God may not have it on a consistent basis. I believe this is why we are told in Godís word to bare one anotherís burdens and pray for one another. Out of a group of people praying, there may be one or two who have the faith which is strong enough for God to move on.
If we had perfect faith I believe we could rejoice in the moment we asked and then when the prayer was answered our joy would then be solemn and we would not act as though we had just received a wonderful big surprise. With perfect faith, we would be expecting the prayer to be answered so the joy would be like getting your paycheck at the end of the week which is different than receiving an unexpected bonus. You can start appreciating the blessing of a paycheck while you are laboring because you expect that paycheck at the end of the week. We donít labor and then hope to be paid and when that paycheck comes rejoice because our employer chose to pay us for this week. We expect that our employer will be faithful and just, so we donít worry during the week if we will be paid for our work. If we can have this much faith in our employer, shouldnít we have even greater faith in our Lord?
On the old Saints of the bible: Peter slept sound the night before he was scheduled to be executed. Would we have the faith to do that? David had the faith to fight a giant armed with a sword and armor though he had no armor and was armed only with a sling shot. Would we have the faith to do that? Abraham was ready to plunge a dagger into his son whom he dearly loved believing that God would have to raise him up again since this was the promised son through which a mighty nation would be born. Would we have the faith to do that? Three Hebrew children willingly entered a fiery furnace believing there Lord was able to deliver them. Would we do that? Caleb was promised a mountain in his youth and then in old age was ready to war with a mighty army to take that mountain believing he could do it because God had made him that promise. Would we be willing to do the same?
I could write on and on of great examples of faith given in the bible, none of which is comparable to the watered down faith most of us have today.
Praise the Lord we do see exceptions even in this day! I have known of people being cured from terminal diseases. I have seen the most unlikely people receive Christ as their savior. If all of us could get a grasp on real, true, absolute faith and quit hoping and start knowing, we could be a mighty force by and for the glory of God in this spiritual warfare.