Why is it that some people have great faith while others don’t?
Why is it that we can have strong faith in a particular area of our lives, like finances, but not in another area, like protection or healing?
There are many men and women in the Bible who were great examples of faith. One example is the difference between a courageous man like Joshua who believed that God would follow through with His promise with the land He was giving to the Israelites, and the cowardice men who brought a bad report back about the Promised Land.
When we read Hebrews 11, we see a list of faith-filled servants of the Lord who fulfilled their mission by relying completely on the providence and sovereignty of God. Even though we see that Abraham and Sarah are mentioned as being among those of faith, we look back to the Old Testament Scriptures and see that they both had moments where they lacked faith.
So what are a few key points to consider when desiring to build our faith for 2020 and beyond?
Firstly, those of faith must be born again (John 3:5).
There are many professing believers today who attend church, read their Bibles or devotionals and do some charitable deeds but they do not know Messiah Jesus. We must seek God with all of our hearts, believing that the Son of God, Jesus, died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. True repentance before the throne of our merciful God will lead to being filled with the Holy Spirit. We cannot come with a prideful, boastful spirit. It cannot be on our own terms but on His and His alone.
We must draw close to Him.
Every man and woman of God from the Old Testament through to the New, drew close to God by prayer, fasting, reading Scripture and worshipping Him. A close and intimate relationship with God helps to develop faith. We cannot expect to believe and trust in His promises if we do not know the One who makes the promises. Faith comes from knowing the One who is faithful – our Lord.
Bad theology or a wrong spirit hinders our faith.
Whether it’s bad doctrine or a wrong spirit, when something in your spiritual life is off, it will certainly have an impact on your faith. 1 Timothy 4:1 warns of ‘deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons’ in the church, and sadly today, we see that this has come to pass in our time. This has a huge impact on the faith of genuine believers as much as it does on those who are in the early stages of seeking the Lord. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, not a false word, but only the truth (Romans 10:17). Another aspect we should remember is that we can often place limitations on God and what He can do in our lives. We should never place God in a box and limit what He can do, in us, through us and/or in our circumstances.
Unrepentant sin has a disastrous impact on our faith.
As believers, we cannot expect to walk in close communion with God and still be walking in unrepentant sin. Sin places a stumbling block in our walk of faith, leaving us feeling isolated from God and the fruit of peace and joy. While we may have confidence that we are a child of God, it’s impossible to continue to live in habitual sin and feel confident about our position. A strong conviction and/or discipline will come to a believer to correct the heart/behaviour, and in the meantime, faith will wither like a fig tree until it’s resolved.
Throw off past experiences.
Past experiences come to hinder our faith. Perhaps we prayed and our prayers didn't get answered, not understanding that our prayers are always answered, just not the way we expect. Sometimes God answers our prayers with a ‘no’. This is still an answer to prayer, just not the one we were hoping for. A right way to understanding prayer is that we are petitioning God to grant us our prayer according to His will. We ought to have an attitude like Christ, ‘not my will Father, but yours’.
Pray and act according to the Word.
God gave His Word to the Israelites that He would give them the Promised Land. He didn’t break His promise. Moses, Joshua and Caleb had to pray and act according to the Word that was given. They could not expect to pray and act in opposition to God’s Word because He is sovereign and the Lord’s will must come to pass. We have the Bible today, which provides a very clear guide on how we ought to pray and we also have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We must be in line with God’s Word or we will not see our prayers answered. Faith-filled men and women pray and act according to God’s Word and when they see an answer to prayer, it builds even greater faith. Once you have prayed and made your request known, you can rest in faith, trusting that God has it all in hand.
...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Circumstances will train you for strong faith.
During the journey on this narrow and hard-pressed road, the Lord will allow us to go through the fire to refine us. God desires to mould and shape His people into vessels of honour that will bring glory to Him. It’s often the case that the more challenges we go through and overcome, the stronger our faith grows.
Faith-filled fellowship breeds faith.
Meeting together with like-minded believers who have infectious faith breeds more faith. Why is this important? As I discussed earlier, Joshua and Caleb were faith-filled men. They were the complete opposite to those who were grumbling against God in the camp. If you are surrounded by grumbling, it will hinder your faith in a negative way but if you surround yourself by faith-filled men and women of God, your faith will be elevated. You will be able to knock down giants, build an ark and even believe for the sun to stand still. Speak faith to others and yourself and see faith arise. It's encouraging!
We are only just hitting the surface of what it means to have elevated faith but I pray that you will seek the Lord during the year ahead and become the man or woman that He has designed you to be. If you are struggling, ask for God's help today. He is so Faithful that He will forgive and restore you to where you need to be.
May God richly bless you who are His beloved.