What is your opinion about the concept of faith?
Do you believe that all you need in life is hard work?
Do you think that your faith in God is a no-brainer?
Are you so confused about it, that you are sitting on the fence?
Whatever your stance, this message might just bring more light to your understanding.
So what is faith?
According to the Collins English dictionary definition,
Faith is a “strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence”.
The wording in the different bible versions may vary slightly, but the meanings are generally the same.
Hebrew 11:1 taken from the New King James Version which says:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (NKJV)
Now let us look at the word “substance”.
A substance can be generally regarded, as something that has a definable property, important, something of value, context, or worth.
It can be a physical thing or a phenomenon. It can also be something that is essential, in one form or the other.
This means that a person who has faith in God must at least see some worth in whatever they are looking forward to or whatever they are engaged in.
So the key element of faith in God is unwavering belief.
No matter how ambitious you are, there are going to be times when your intentions are met with difficulties, and only God can help you out.
There was a certain event that took place around the 6th century BC.
It was about a man called Zerubbabel. He was born at a time when the Jewish people were under Babylonian captivity.
Jewish exiles were held captive until the Persians managed to defeat the Babylonians.
Then some of the Jewish people were able to return to their homeland.
Zerubbabel found favour in the eyes of the Persian King, and he was sent to Jerusalem to become governor of Judah.
Then the temple of God in Jerusalem had been was left in ruins after the devastating attack on the city by the Babylonians.
Zerubbabel set a mission to rebuild the temple, but he was meant by resistance from the people that he wanted to help.
They didn’t trust him for one reason or the other.
But then God assured him by sending a message through prophet Zechariah.
A message was passed to the prophet Zechariah by an angel of God.
Below Zechariah was referring to the angel.
Zechariah 4:6 says “So he said to me, This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (NIV)
The temple was eventually rebuilt and it is clear that God provided the empowerment to make sure that the temple was rebuilt successfully.
It goes to show that God sometimes has to intervene for us to be successful in certain missions.
In the kingdom of God, miracles and expectations are ascribed to God.
I am sure Zerubbabel’s faith was made stronger as a result.
So what must we do to improve our faith in God?
1. We must see God as a friend. See God as a companion. It starts with believing in God wholeheartedly, regardless of your current situation.
A good friend is someone you can talk to on a regular basis.
A good friend is someone you can share your secrets with.
A good friend is someone that should not betray you.
A good friend will want to know how you are fairing.
A good friend supports your endeavours and advises you when they see that you might be going on the wrong path.
A good friend is someone you can trust.
Someone who will not disappoint you without any good reason.
Trust is the key here. But with God, it has to be wholehearted.
An example of someone who was called a friend of God was Abraham.
James 2:23 says: “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.” (NIV)
The requirement to become God’s friend is as simple as having a wholehearted trust in Him.
2. Allow God room to guide you.
The Holy Spirit knows the desire of our hearts, so we can rest assured that God hears us when we are faithful. If you fear God, He will direct you.
Psalm 25:12 “Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.” (NIV)
If you are human, then you are bound to make mistakes. When you practice the fear for God, God will
intervene when you stray out of touch.
Let God take the driving seat. Even though we can assume that God is in the driving seat, it is still honourable to let God know that you want Him to take the driving seat. Do it through a simple prayer like the one I am going to give you now:
‘Oh Lord God Almighty, let your will be done in my life.
I surrender everything into your hands.
Put your fear in my heart so that your Word can be fulfilled in my life in Jesus name Amen’
3. Read the Word regularly.
After the death of Moses, Joshua was to take over the command to lead the people of Israel to the promised
land, but he needed some encouragement from God.
In Joshua 1:8 God said to Joshua:
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.
Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (NIV)
The word ‘careful’ could mean that we need to be observant of the Word
It could mean that we need to refer to the Word
Or it could mean that we need to be guided by the Word.
Everyone will falter at some point, but the more you read the more guided you become.
Isn’t it very canny to know that the great people of God such as Moses, David who committed adultery, Abraham who lied
about his relationship with Sarah, Paul who initially persecuted Christians,
Peter who denied Jesus and more all made mistakes at some point in their walk?
The key reasons they were successful in my opinion is the total trust and obedience towards God.
The mistakes they made were probably a result of irrational human thinking which can happen to anyone.
God knows your heart and if you made a genuine mistake He will still work with you.
Have you ever watched tight rope walkers?
If you have, you will notice how sometimes they almost fall off, but then, they decide to stand still, and once they regain balance, the walk continues.
This is similar to how the Word of God should be used.
Your faith will be made stronger when you read the word regularly.
4. Forgive those who offend yourself.
This one is self-evident because God is a forgiver.
If you are working hand in hand with God, then it would make sense also to forgive others.
I have always said that forgiveness is not the same as condoning.
I don’t expect you to employ someone as your new accountant if that person duped you in the past, and you were kind enough to forgive.
Forgiveness means you remove bitterness and hatred from your heart.
God is the God of love.
If you wanted to resume a new relationship with the person you have forgiven then that would depend on many factors.
So that is for your personal consideration.
There is no one standard for everyone.
5. Do not be selfish with your desires.
Think more about how you can use your gains to help others.
God must support any agenda that is intended to help others in a positive way.
Even when you look at the Lord’s prayer that Jesus recommended for those who do not know how to pray, you will notice something very important.
Matthew 6:9-11 says:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.'”
I don’t think it is by coincidence that Jesus emphasized the Will of God before other things.
After lifting up the name of God, the next thing was to plead for the Will of God to take pre-eminence.
It is good to put the will of God first when you pray for anything.
That way you can practice being faithful.
Remember that faith in God is not just about what you get from Him, but the necessary co-operation over His will
for your life and for His kingdom business.
6. Pray a prayer of thanks and reverence.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
So don’t let your circumstance prevent you from giving thanks.
Your faith will dwindle if you measure your reverence by how much you have received.
God knows what you really want. So whilst God wants us to ask so we can receive, we need to also show some respect for God’s will.
Remember the simple prayer that Jesus gave.
7. Understand that faith is always tested.
There are many bible verses that talk about faith.
One that comes to mind is:
James 1:2-4 says “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (NIV)
8. Feel worthy.
Ephesian 2:10 says “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (NIV)
Why would God see you as His workmanship, a special person, and then you see yourself as a worthless person?
It is good enough to be worth something in the eyes of God.
That should give you enough confidence to also feel special in the physical world that you live in.
Your faith will be made stronger if you know how God sees you in the first place.
9. Do some work.
Prove your faith by taking steps towards your goals. Your goals can be a spiritual journey or even your daily living.
The Bible says that Faith comes when we hear the Word of God or when we read the Word, but it doesn’t just stop there.
Hearing the Word of God is the stimulus.
You see, faith without works is vanity.
Some of us think that ‘works’ are based only on our physical input.
Remember that unbelievers can put in physical work too and make good success of their sweat.
Faith in God is about letting God take the steering wheel.
We must put our ego in the back seat.
When you put in the physical work, it is with the belief that God still has the final answer.
Keep telling God that He is in control. Always do that. That is one way to build your faith.
So let us take heart to know that God can give answers to our heart desires.
And trust in Him.