S196P5 – Growth spurts: faith

Heb. 3:12-14

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end…

I used to think that faith was a black-and-white issue.  Either one had it or one lacked it.  When I got saved, I went from believing in nothing to believing in the truth of Jesus Christ and his saving power.  I saw the mighty work that God had done in me even in that first instant, and I knew that He was powerful.  I certainly had been transformed with regard to faith, but the change was not this singular moment I thought it would be.  As I studied the scriptures, I had to learn so many new things.  I trusted my teachers, but there was much that I had to come to believe for myself.  This process of changing, which has been ongoing for over a decade now, has challenged me to believe more and more.  What I realized is that faith must grow in order for us to grow in the Spirit.

We can look at the increase in our faith in two ways.  One way that faith can increase is when we believe in more than we previously believed.  For example, reading through the scriptures, learning new concepts, and adding them to our belief system is an increase in faith.  We can call that an increase in the quantity of our faith because we can enumerate the things in which we believe.  Another way faith can grow is in magnitude.  I believe that God is powerful, and his word says that his power has no end, but I still might not have the faith to believe that I will see that measure of power manifest before me.  I might believe that God can heal a splinter yet not believe that He can raise someone from the dead.  In that respect, I believe God heals but only to a certain extent.  Growth in my faith in that area would make me believe in a greater measure of God’s power to heal.

If we are advancing with the kingdom of God, then our faith will be growing in both of these ways.  Meditating on the word and fellowshipping with God in prayer will give us insight into new things we had not known and will expose us more to the things we know already.  First, we come to know that God is good.  Then, we experience over time just how good He is.  We have faith that He is good, but we must grow in our belief in the full magnitude of that goodness.  This is a progression of faith.  If we were to believe only what we believed on that first day and only in the measure we believed on that first day, our faith would be stunted from the start and lose its effectiveness.  Father, thank You for not only giving us the free gift of faith which allows us to believe in your Son, but also for working to increase that faith in us as we live for You.