Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bible Life Q and A - I believe in Jesus, but my faith is really weak. Is there anything I can do to increase my faith?

"And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith."  Luke 17:5

Faith is that invisible connection between God and man.  It can be built up and strengthened and it can become less and less until it is unrecognizable.  Your relationship with God works much like that of human relationships.  You do certain things for someone and others do something for you and you begin to show that others acna trust you and you learn to trust others.  The difference is that God cannot lie to you and will never let you down, where family, friends, co-workers and even best friends are capable of breaking your trust and often will.

There are several faith building exercises that I do that I think are helpful in increasing my faith.  None of these suggestions should be taken lightly as they are not only my own, but the many of faithful men and woman of God have made mention of these same recommendations in their writings.  The source for all these suggestions are also divinely placed in the Bible.

Comittment to something other than yourself - "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."  Psalm 37:5
Once you have been saved by faith in Christ, it is wise to make commitments that coincide with your faith. 
That might require a simple rearranging of your time so you can be with God more.
It might require some effort, in that, you will learn truths that you are not currently practicing that will require genuine discipline to make them a part of your new life in Christ.  Remember God is inviting you into all these precepts, but never causing you or forcing you to adhere to the precepts.  Like I said it will take personal effort, comittment to rise above yourself.  "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."  Matthew 26:41b

Prayer, two way communication with God - "Pray without ceasing."  1 Thesallonians 5:17
I have found that most people pray to God: most of the time in a hurry, most of the time for something they want, most of the time less than 30 seconds and even more seldom do they wait to hear what God has to say to them.  The secret to praying isn't learning how to pray to God, it is in learning how to hear from God.  Unless you make a way to get alone with God without your pager or cell phone on, without the TV blasting, without a superficial intent, you will not hear from god, ever.  God is not a genie in a bottle and you rub the bottle, the genie pops out and you quickly make a wish and then you tell the genie to get back in the bottle until you want something again.  God created you and designed you for quality time and quantity time to be spent with Him filling up your spirit for the tasks ahead. Until you are willing to start doing things God's way, it makes little difference how much you push the wind.

Worshipping God with the best of your mind and heart - "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."  John 4:23-24
Superficial worship makes superficial faith.  Get real with God.  Expose your true thinking to God.  Aks God to search you out, like David did, and then buck up when God dresses you down.  It's never to hurt you, but to make yo a better man or woman of faith; someone who can be trusted and someone that has higher thinking than just wanting personal satisfaction and fulfillment.  The Father seeketh such to worship Him.  

Reading the scriptures - "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  2 Timothy 2:15
This is the one most important truth of all.  You have a Bible, probably many of them.  Study the Word.  Pick it up and read it.  Your wife or your husband's faith will not go to your account.  Your pastor will not stand before God with you.  No one can take your place in finding and doing the will of God.  But it can be found in reading the scriptures for yourself.  Don't get me wrong.  I truly believe that you should continue to go to church and listen carefully to the man or woman of God that is expounding on the Word of God.  But you will find out if you haven't already that not everyone that teaches the Bible lives it and not every word taught from the pulpit is pure, but God's holy Word has not changed and it can be counted on forever.  Actually you make a far better pastor or parishioner if you read your Bible reguarly, without outside interpretation.  Learn to trust the Holy Spirit.

Fellowship with other believers - "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."  1 John 1:7
There is such a falling away for the church today.  People just aren't as interested in the things of God as years past.  The Bible is clear, if you are not part of a fellowship you should be.  It is good for the soul to share your thoughts and hear from others, to share testimonies and to hear how God is working in the lives of others.  I know that your church has faults, but so do they all and so do you.  Get over it.  What the church has to offer far outweighs it's foibles.

Following the precepts of God after you learn them"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."  James 1:22
The bottom line.  It really isn't any easier to live your lifestyle outside the will of God than it is to live inside the will of God.  You will hear arguments like, "I'm only human."  I love this one.  Because you are human you are the only creation ever created that has the ability to willingly live in the will of God.  It is a poor excuse.  You were designed to seek, find and live out the will of God for your life.  It's not nearly as complicated, as those who do not believe they can live in the will of God, make it seem.  Unfortunately seeker friendly churches don't even mention the need for obedience to God and thus the genuine seeker might be steered away from a relationship with God that promotes a sound spiritual life/lifestyle. 

Striving for excellence - "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."  Luke 13:24
I wish Christians would quit making fun of the straight and narrow.  Of course the world will make fun at us.  Of course the world will mock you for thinking that God has a way and you could actually find it.  Of course the world thinks that the straight and narrow makes us lemmings, fools, bigots, intollerant and even worse, but the world does not know, nor do they serve God.  The narrow path is a joke to them, but God knows that the only way to find your true self and to be truly fulfilled is if you turn around from the "all paths lead to God" pholosophy and start to walk in the other direction.  Strive for excellence in your job, your speech, your behavior, you everything.  You are able.  You are blessed.  You will receive the help you need to make it, directly from God. 
 Digging deeper into the gem mind of God - "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."   1 Corinthians 2:9-10
How deep do you want to go with God is the only question that can keep you from all that God has available.  The deeper you dig the better quality the gems.  I find that most people aren't real found of the concept of a deeper life.  No disrespect to those who aren't interested, but for those who are, there are depths of relationship that come with time and prayer, worship and prase, experience and perserverence, dedication and comittment, loyalty and faithfulness.  When I am discouraged because it looks like everything is just spinnig out of control and that God is just not that concerned with my situation, I go to God and thank Him for what I have.  God reveals to me new truths aobut my situation and I get to see it through my spiritual eyes and the troubles seem to fade compared to the greatness of God's bounty.  God helps me see it from His view, and Oh His view is better.  Dig deep.  You will not like everything God tells you but you will benefit from it. 
I hope that answers your question.

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