KTTK 20, Growing Faith

Jesus was telling his disciples that they had to forgive their brothers every time they asked. This was a very hard saying to them, because unlimited forgiveness just does not fit neatly into the natural human psyche. They knew that forgiveness was extremely difficult, so they asked Jesus to increase their faith in order to give them the ability to fulfill His teaching and forgive others the way God forgives. Notice very closely what Jesus had to say to the disciples. If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you (Luke 17:6). Like the disciples, we all, at times, cry out to God to increase our faith.

We all want to do great works of faith. But is that to prove how much we love God, or perhaps, is it to prove how important we think we are? God has given us the ability to operate in, and “see” into, the spirit realm so that we might carry out His will for our lives. When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we are saying to God, “You know more and understand more than I do, and I want to do things Your way.” Faith is given to us so that we can participate with God in His great, eternal plan, not so we can run off and do things our way.

Since faith is absolute trust, we must understand that there is no way to increase absolute trust. Absolute is absolute. Faith is faith. However, we can expand our absolute trust in God to more and more areas of our lives. That’s what the disciples were asking Jesus to do for them. Not to somehow make absolute trust more absolute, but to help them apply their absolute trust to another area of their lives—forgiveness. That’s the way we “increase our faith.” When the father was imploring Jesus to help his son, who was having seizures, Jesus told him, You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes! (Mark 9:23). The father, then cries out with tears of joy and overwhelming conviction that Jesus can and will help him, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith! (Mark 9:24). The father was not asking Jesus to help in not believing. He was imploring the Lord to help him expand his faith to encompass the healing of his son. Do you think that Jesus did just that?

Step one on the road to increasing our faith, then is to very clearly understand where this ability to operate in the spirit realm comes from.

Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:1-2 NKJV). Our faith comes to us from Jesus. When we make the transition from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light, we do so because the Holy Spirit has convicted us of our rebellion against the King of kings (John 16:8). And when we act on that conviction, it is Jesus Himself that sponsors us, giving us the faith we need to make the move from darkness to Light. But there’s more. He is also the “finisher” of our faith, polishing it and extending it to every area of our lives. For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17). And this faith comes by direct contact with Jesus. Our faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the words that Jesus has given us (Rom. 10:17).

However, and this is the BIG however, we have to want to have our faith extended to every area of our lives, AND, we have to choose to work with Him to get this done (Deut. 30:19). We can apply faith to every area of our lives and remove even the largest strongholds that the Enemy has established in us. For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) (2Cor. 10:3-5). Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. For this reason I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (Mark 11:22-24).

Operating in faith and growing it into every area of our lives cannot be a haphazard process guided by a hit-and-miss approach that stumbles and falls at every other turn. It needs to be carefully orchestrated and applied so that we can carry out what God has made available for us to do. To do this we must keep our eyes on Jesus and not look away (Heb. 12:2). When we look away, when we take our focus off Jesus, when we allow thoughts other than those given us by God to invade our understanding, then we will not operate in absolute trust. Our faith will be tainted by doubt, by fear, by pride, by distrust, and other attitudes not from God.

Jairus had come to Jesus for healing for his daughter, but while he was talking to Jesus several came from his house and said that his daughter had died. Talk about introducing doubt in to a person’s mind! Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing (Mark 5:36). Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, and we need to keep our eyes focused on Him and not the things of the world. Faith is what inspires God and allows Him to work in our lives. Jesus, teaching in His hometown of Nazareth, was unable to do any miracles except heal a few of the sick because the people did not believe in Him (Matt. 13:58). What makes us think that God will somehow be able to do more for us if we don’t trust Him absolutely to do what He says He will do?

Step two in growing our faith is to turn our lives over to God, every day. “But, but, but…” you say, that requires serious discipline. Well, Jesus told us that if we remain in His Word then we would be His disciples (John 8:31). A disciple is one who is disciplined, one who is able to control his/her mind, will, and emotions, and do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. So, every day, as in every day, turn your life over to God and ask Him to put His thoughts into you so that you are doing His will (Prov. 16:3). Then truly believe He will.

Jesus told us most provocatively that He had overcome the world for us (John 16:33). That’s why John could write so convincingly. For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith. Who is it that is victorious over [that conquers] the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on that fact]? (1John 5:4-5). It is faith that makes us victorious.

Step three in growing one’s faith is to begin applying it. Start small and work outward to more and more things in your life until you encompass everything in your spirit, soul, body, finances, and social life. Study God’s Word daily and allow it to dwell in you. As it does, you will develop true Bible Hope, and begin to act on that Hope in true faith. For example, pray for a parking space, and really believe that God will give you one. Claim it on the promise in Deut. 28:6. When you get the space, praise God and thank Him for it from a sincere and honest heart, and ask Him to help you expand the faith that you used for the parking space into other areas of your life. Keep at it on a daily basis, and don’t allow the Evil One to dissuade you for pursuing God with full heart, mind, and spirit.

Key Verse: Heb. 12:1-2

Associated Keys: Mark 9:23-24, 1`1:22-24, Rom. 1:17, 1John 5:4-5

Using the Key: Loving Father, help me to extend my faith in Your Son, Jesus, into all areas of my life—spirit, soul, body, finances, and social life. Help me to walk hand in hand with You in all I do, so that my life of faithful dependence on You for all my needs will help others see Jesus in me, to Your honor and glory. In His precious name, so be it.

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