The Apostles asked our Lord, “Increase our Faith!” in Luke’s account in chapter 17:5, as Jesus was teaching on Forgiveness and faith.
The bible teaches that faith is assigned to us, it’s not something that we can credit ourselves with as we mature in our faith walk each day. This is evidenced in Romans 12:3 [RSV] Paul writes,
‘For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to measure of faith which God has assigned him.’
When a father with a demonic son came before Jesus for mercy to heal his son, our Lord spoke out, ‘all things are possible to him who believes,’ to which the father replied, “I believe, help my unbelief!”
At first glance this appears to be a contradiction of trust, but was it? One may wonder, was it more a question that Jesus could, or, that he would? We’ve all been at this point somewhere along our faith walk, probably many times more than we realize, especially for those of us who have walked a journey of faith for 30-40 years now.
We sing in our love offering to God, ‘Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way…’ All this is true, however, to do His good will there must come from us the petition to understand, we’re to do His will upon His resources and design. Yes, we all need from time to time call out, “Help my unbelief!” as the pleading father did for his son.
Knowing the truth
Learning to lean upon the best of God’s resource, ‘His Word,’ is paramount to increasing the measure of faith God gives us. I remember many years ago listening to a pastor speaking from the last portion of John chapter eight regarding the children of Abraham.
The confrontation arose when the Pharisees challenged the deity of Jesus being the ‘Son of God’ and how Jesus eloquently replied who were the ‘True children of Abraham,’ to the Jewish leaders boasting about their heritage.
John 8:31-32 Jesus replied, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Raising our five children how I would use these verses to instill in them wisdom to help them understand right and wrong choices, especially learning the character quality of intellectual honesty.
As we continue our faith walk of growing and learning, laying up God’s word in our heart does bring increase to give us a stronger grip of reaching out in taking risks. Building confidence more and more to attempt those things unseen, and letting go our fears.
A true life experience for me came when the rug was pulled out from under me many years ago, when I became a single parent raising three youngsters. At that time my oldest daughter was 7, my oldest son was 4, and a son of 17 months old.
Considering the obstacles before me, I had to learn how to surrender, in order for God to bring increase to my own faith, and remain steadfast to trust Him for the provisions I needed.
As I reflect back from then and see my faith today, as ‘living God’s word,’ to measure the faith given me along the way, I am blessed to walk stronger in my trust. John the Baptist said it so well, “I must decease in order for Him to increase.” For sure, the Truth will set you free, indeed.
How we measure our faith walk to be “In Christ Jesus” comes in large part by the measure of our surrender to want Jesus to control every little detail in all of our every day experiences.
Don’t come to Him in prayer only in moments of desperation when all else fails, but rather, come to Him now, right where you’re at today in you faith walk. Seek him first, before you make your decision for what ever is before you.
In John chapter six his apostles had much to question and understand when Jesus shared with them that He was the ‘Bread of Life.’
Living out life as being ‘in Him’ was a whole new concept to understand in their maturing, as it is with each one of us. In verse 63 Jesus spoke to them, “It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.”
How powerful the Spirit is, to transform hearts and change lives. The Spirit’s prompting helps us to discern God’s higher ways of understanding. God’s desire for us is, ‘not to lean on our own understanding and reason, but as we are going, learn more and more of ‘those things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father.’
When we learn more to die to ourselves daily and take up our own cross, to follow the narrow path of life He has laid out for us, we’ll better understand the measure of our faith given each of us. Remember, it’s all about Him.
Learning to die to ourselves daily, or surrender to the Spirit’s prompting, is truly the beginning of growing and stepping out to trust Him more. The Apostle Paul said it so well, ‘What we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.’
Learning to desire Him to be Lord and Controller of every detail of our walk by faith, is not always recognized immediately, and that’s why He puts us on what I call ‘time out’ occasionally, that we may hear him more clearly.
Consider Moses, and David, for each of them 40 years was God’s design for preparation. Moses before he led the people from Egypt. David too, though Samuel anointed David to be the next king of Israel, yet Saul reigned 40 years as David did a lot of hiding out in caves from Saul’s pursuit to destroy this young man from becoming Israel’s next king.
Life is a time of growing and learning experiences, as God, in His infinite love, evaluates the motives of our heart to move us upward closer to our Savior.
Faith is assigned to us, yet, we measure our faith from experiences of living through them.