It says, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
To fully understand this verse, you need to know that if you are saved, faith has already been deposited in your heart. It is part of your spiritual DNA.
Romans 12:3 says that, God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Faith is something He has already given. It is up to you to develop that faith. It is up to you to do something with it. How do you develop it?
You develop it first by hearing the Word of God. The Bible God's Word is the food. As you feed upon it, your faith will be strengthened.
You know those body builders, men and women who are constantly pumping weights?
Well, if you talk to any serious body builder, one of the first things they will refer to is diet. You have to eat the right kind of diet if you are going to build muscle mass. Usually, their diet is protein-rich. They faithfully drink their protein shakes and eat their tuna fish sandwiches, which, when they are consumed and digested, become the raw materials that build muscle mass.
As you feed upon and digest God's Word, that truth becomes the raw material that will build faith. It is faith food.
Most people who struggle with their faith are feeding on the wrong things. Faith comes unconsciously when you feed upon God's Word. So today, if you feel like you are struggling in your faith, then change your diet. Start feeding more on God's Word!
Understanding Faith - The natural question is, "What is faith?"
Most Christians probably know the technical definition for faith from Hebrews 11:1,
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The New International Version says, Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. That is pretty clear. But it becomes even more clear when you plug that definition into 1 Timothy 6:12, Fight the good fight of [the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Fight the good fight of being sure of what you hope for and being convinced of what you do not see.]
When the answer to your prayers is not on the horizon, when you don't feel differently, you need to fight the good fight and say, "You know what? God's Word says it and that's all the evidence I need. It is the evidence of things not seen, and I'm going to stand on that truth. I don't care what the world says, I don't care what circumstances say, I am going to fight the good fight of the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of what I do not see."
And you stay with it until, as they say, "Faith turns to sight."
What are you struggling with today? What challenge is testing your faith? Stand firm on the truth of God's Word. Trust Him, no matter what others may say. Real faith is standing firm in the midst of the storm. So stand firm!
As we continue to look at faith, I want you to read Hebrews 12:1-2,
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 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.
What this passage teaches about faith is vital for you to understand if you are to progress in your faith.
That truth is simply this: Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He not only authors it, He is the One who is the developer of our faith.
Remember the analogy of the body builder from the last two devotionals? Well, if your faith is like a body builder, Jesus is your weight trainer. Many of the people who are seriously into body building have a professional trainer who will work with them to be more effective in building muscle mass and sculpting their body.
Just like the professional weight trainer for a body builder, Jesus is your professional faith trainer. No one knows more about faith than Jesus. If you want to learn about faith, you need to listen to Jesus. You need to follow His guidance on how to build your faith.
The first of these levels is found in Mark 4:37-40,
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?"
Perhaps you are in a storm today; and, to you, it seems like God is asleep and that He doesn't even care. That He is aloof, disinterested, and disconnected from you. That you are going through hell and He doesn't care.
Do not believe that lie. If you buy into the lie that God does not care, it robs you of faith. And you cannot get any lower than that.
Do not believe the lie that God is detached and unconcerned. Don't think, "If God cares about me, why would this have happened? Why am I going through this storm? Why is this happening in my life? God doesn't care about me. He doesn't even know my name."
My friend, God does care. He is not going to let you perish. He is interested in even the smallest details of your life. 1 Peter 5:7 says, He cares for you!
Little Faith Today we are going to look at the second level of faith.
It is found in what Jesus says in Matthew 6:30-34, "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
This second level of faith is little faith. As we see in this passage, little faith is a worried faith, worried about tomorrow and occupied with lack instead of being occupied with God. While people with little faith believe God cares, their focus is wrong. They are concentrating on, "What am I going to eat? What am I going to wear? How am I going to get by?"
Now, those are all legitimate things; and your Father knows you have need of those things. So rather than focusing on your lack and being worried about tomorrow, pulling tomorrow's clouds over today's sunshine, let your focus be on God and His sufficiency, His care, and His abundant love. Do not live a life of little faith.
Great Faith I want to look at the third level of faith.
It is found in Matthew 8:5-10,
Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented." And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!"
We saw in previous devotionals that the first level of faith is no faith, the second is little faith, and now the third is great faith.
Great faith says, "Lord, Your word is enough." The centurion said, "Only speak a word." He understood the authority of Jesus' words. He said, "Jesus, all You have to do is say it. You don't even have to come into my house. I don't have to see anything. Your word is all the evidence I need."
That is what great faith says, "Lord, Your Word is all the evidence I need. Things don't have to look differently and I don't have to feel differently. Your Word is it. I don't need any other kind of confirmation. It doesn't matter what the circumstances say. Lord, Your Word settles the issue for me."
That is great faith, and that is what we should be pursuing.
Source: Bayless Conley - From Answers For Each Day - http://www.answersbc.org/