March 25, 2010
Strengthening Your Faith
"Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops" (James 5:17-18 NIV).
Friend To Friend
I remember sitting in embryology and anatomy classes in college and being amazed at the intricacies of the human body. It still boggles my mind to imagine that a microscopic strand of molecules called DNA determines every part of our physical body. It is also a wonder that every muscle you and I will ever have is present when we are born. (So is every fat cell!) Every little trapezious, tricep, bicep, quadracep, and glutteous maximus - from the top or our heads to the tip of our toes is present and accounted for when we breathe our first breath. That means that you and Arnold Swarzenegger came with the same basic muscular equipment, but because of exercise, His muscles grew bigger!
Just as a baby has all the muscles she will ever have at birth, as a new, born-again believer, you received all the faith you will ever need. We are each given a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). However, some have a larger faith (not necessarily more) because they have exercised, stretched, and strengthened what they were given. When the disciples failed to cast out a demon and asked Jesus the reason for their failure, He answered, "Because you have so little faith." This was not the quantity of their faith but the quality - their faith needed more exercise. Jesus went on to say, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Let's consider two Bible verses. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17) and "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness" (2 Peter 1:3). Do you have the faith to believe those two promises?
Hebrews chapter 11 is filled with men and women in the Bible who believed God, but perhaps my favorite New Testament walk down the Old Testament memory lane is in James 5:17-18. "Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops." What's so special about that passage? To me, it's not that he prayed about the rain. It's those three little words, "just like us." He was just like us! He didn't have more faith, but He had strong faith.
As we renew our minds with the Word of God and then put what we have learned into practice, our faith will grow stronger. James wrote, "Faith without works is useless" (James 2:20). In other words, if we simply say that we believe something in our minds, but do not appropriate or demonstrate it in our actions, it does not bring life to us or to those around us. As we exercise our faith, it grows stronger.
Exercise the faith you have been given. Find one promise in Scripture, confess it, believe it, and make it yours. Then pick another, then another and another. Soon that mustard seed of faith will take root, shoot toward the sky, sprout branches, and produce a bumper crop of fruit.
Dear LORD, thank You for the gift of faith. Help me to recognize the situations in my life where I have allowed doubt to creep in and weaken my faith. Today, I am exercising the faith that You have given me so that it will grow stronger and be more effective.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
My son loves lifting weights to build up his muscles. When he does a bench press and lifts a potential face-crushing barbell over his chest, (this is how I see it as a mother!) he has a "spotter" standing over him. The spotter's job is to catch the barbell and keep it from falling on Steven's head in case he should slip or pick up a weight he's not strong enough to lift. As we exercise our faith, Jesus is our spotter. If we are too weak to lift the weight of a heavy load, Jesus is standing as our spotter to keep us from being crushed. If we find ourselves too weak to lift the load, we don't give up, but continue pressing on and working those faith muscles until they are stronger.
God also gives us girlfriends in God who serves as spotters. When we see a friend's faith beginning to slip, we can help hold up the weight for her. Today, ask God if there is someone who needs your help through believing prayer.
Has there ever been a time when a friend has helped you strengthen your faith? I'd love to hear about it. Let's chat. Visit www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and share your Girlfriend in God faith building story.
More From The Girlfriends
I don't know about you, but sometimes I just need a "faith lift." If that's where you find yourself today, let's go to God's spa together. Join me on the journey of a lifetime in Becoming Spiritually Beautiful and discover the inner glow you've always longed for!
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Thursday, 25 March 2010.