Everything I do is a product of what I believe. My faith, then, exists whether or not I can or will acknowledge the object of it.
If I cruise through an intersection, then I have faith that the people coming from left or right will stop at the stoplights. And I have faith that the oncoming traffic will stay in the proper lane. I rarely acknowledge this faith in the traffic laws of my state, but I operate in it daily.
If I didn’t understand the traffic laws, then it would be hard for me to operate in them, wouldn’t it?
When I was teaching my daughter how to drive, sometimes she had trouble acting on the traffic laws I was directing her to utilize. She hadn’t known them for very long and certainly had not had experience enough to develop a trust in them. She would respond, “Are you sure?” when I said something like “If it’s clear, you can go right on this red.”
Hindsight being what it is, I can see times in my past where my actions were a product of a lack of faith. Or what I believed, which was something I didn’t even acknowledge at the time, was either misdirected or misguided. I was wandering around my life asking “Am I sure?”
But over the past couple of years, especially since I quit trying to hide my depression in a bottle of Corona, I have grown to understand how indispensable faith is, and how I can grow it.
One of Websters’ definitions of faith is “complete trust.” The Bible says that without faith, it is impossible to please God. It also says that our faith in Him saves us and it directs us to live by faith and not by sight. This is not the easiest thing to walk out…this complete trust. But I believe the longer we strive for it, the more complete it becomes.
The biggest revelation to me was when I realized that time tests all my objects of faith. Some of them, over the years, proved unreliable. I think how my relationships, in particular, provided many unreliable objects of faith. And as time tested them, they deteriorated. But how’s this: God’s reliability has been tested and proven since before the beginning of time. I don’t know about you, but that’s a long enough test period for me to have complete trust in Him. Doubts disappeared as I came to understand that. Over and over again my faith is stretched and then God proves Himself faith-worthy. Over and over again I am grown by this back and forth dance of my faith.
Just as time proves our objects of faith, knowledge of them increases our capacity for faith. When I knew little of God, I had a little faith. But Paul writes, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” So the answer to how to have more faith is to have more Word. More knowledge of Him…and by knowledge I don’t just mean heady/bookish knowledge of Him. I mean a heart knowledge as well. Knowing His word is one thing, moving it from head to heart is another. So as my head knowledge of Him increases, I ask that my heart knowledge of Him do the same.
So, I allow time to test and my knowledge to increase my faith. What then?
I wrote: Everything I do is a product of what I believe. I will go one step further with everything I won’t do is also a product of what I believe. Sooner or later, our actions will tell EXACTLY where our faith lies. Let’s say I talk about generosity and giving. Let’s say I spout off for hours talking about how I believe God calls us who have more to give to those who have less. Let’s say that I incorporate appropriate scriptures into what I was saying. Let’s say I encourage others to not only tithe, but also give over and above that based on my faith in how God rewards a cheerful giver. But then, if I never give…do I really believe all of that? Do I believe God will reward me if I never actually set myself up for the reward? Do I REALLY believe God has called me to teach if I never stand up in front of a group of people to do so? Do I REALLY believe that God has the power to help me recover if I never bring Him into my recovery?
Do I really believe that God can mature me, if I am constantly rejecting the very things He brings into my life to facilitate that growth?
I know that my actions either display or betray where my faith lies. I know this and wow, I stand convicted in many ways. I think one of the most awesome things about how much my faith has grown over the past couple of years is that the more it’s done so, the more I see room for further growth. The possibilities for growth in Him are limited only by His infinite and eternal nature. Which means, Lord willing that I have a long life, I will always be finding ways I am immature. Is that ok? I think so. God wants this dance of ours to continue for all time. If I ever “arrive” wouldn’t that mean our dance is done?