Friday, January 24, 2014

Growing Big Faith

Five tools that God uses to grow our faith.

Numbers 23:19  God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?

Galatians 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 John 5:4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.

We saw in the previous post, "The Man That Amazed Jesus," the  incredible faith of a Roman military commander. We saw that If you want to impress Jesus you won't do it with knowledge and it wasn't by obedience, the only thing that is recorded in the Bible that amazed Jesus was big faith.

The importance of faith can be seen in the Old Testament from the Garden of Eden to the entrance to the Promise Land we see God's people making a decision whether they will trust God. (Genesis 3:1-6, Joshua 24:14-15)

The importance of faith can be seen in the New Testament in the letters to the early church. The apostle Paul told the church in Galatia that his old life is dead and now he lives by faith. John tells us in his first letter that faith is essential in the battle with this evil world.

Faith has always been a big deal for God's people. There are incredible displays of faith recorded in the Bible that are much bigger than the faith that the average church member in the United States seems to have. In our world you don't see very many people trusting God and keeping their cool as they are being tossed into a furnace or put into a den of lions. (Daniel 3:18, Daniel 6:1-28)

We make choices that are unwise because we don't trust God's goodness and his promises. So many of us struggle with depression, fear and overcoming life's difficulties because we lack faith. Having complete trust in God is a challenge for all of us, it is difficult to put your life in the hand of somebody else and let them take control. 
Imagine how differently you would respond to difficulties, temptations, and even good things if you knew with certainty that God was in all of it and was planning to leverage it for good. In other words, imagine what it would be like to have perfect faith.
-Andy Stanley
Have you ever seen somebody step out in faith in a big way and you thought to yourself "are they crazy?" A lot of times people with incredible faith are viewed as clueless, people wonder if they have considered all of the information about their situation. We try and reason with them about what they are doing and give them more information in an attempt to make them have less faith.

God wants his people to trust him and have big faith, that's why he went out of his way to build a relationship with his people, he built a relationship with Israel before he gave them the ten commandments. After Israel had a relationship with God they declared that they trust him and chose him over foreign gods.

Five tools God uses to grow our faith:

1. Practical Teaching
2. Providential Relationships
3. Private Disciplines
4. Personal Ministry - Part 1, Part 2
5. Pivotal Circumstances
In order for us to grow and thrive in our spiritual lives, to have faith and to be fruitful, we need to be aware of these tools that challenge us and give us the opportunity to grow and become stronger in our Christian faith.

I am going to study through this Andy Stanley series for the next few weeks. Andy says that this is not a to do list that you check off to make faith happen. It is an observation in his ministry that God uses these things to help us grow closer to him and that we should put ourselves into environments where God can use these to work in our lives.

Help me Lord to grow to trust you more through this study.