TWFW: Faith Part 2
Yes, I have the same theme for The Word for Wednesday this week... there is just sooo much in the Bible about faith, that it's impossible to miss it. I enjoyed myself so much last week that I decided to continue the topic. (And by the way, thanks to all who participated!)
To recap, we've been talking about meditating on the Word of God to keep our faith cultivated. Jean commented on how John 4 goes along with this topic...
"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." She *said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? "You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."
I love this passage, because I picture the Word of God just bubbling up within and pouring out of a faith-filled person! And that is just what we need to sustain us, especially when the tough times come; if faith isn't there to begin with, you're in trouble, because fear is about to come out! But if you meditate on the Word, when a problem arises, the faith that you have is what comes out of your heart, because it has become a part of your nature.(See Mrs. Mecomber's WFW. What a great analogy she gave to illustrate this!) Some people might say, "But I don't have enough faith." However, the key is to act on the faith that you do have; don't focus on the faith that isn't there or you'll lose all faith. I once heard someone say, "It is better to steer a car that's moving." Keep going! Do what you do know, and then God can help you; He can steer you in the right direction so that you can grow in Him, because you are moving in the right direction, closer to Him (Remember, "Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.") Proverbs 3:5-6, a verse which we are all familar with, has something to say about that:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.Just keep meditating on the Scriptures, keep focusing on God, and your faith will continue to grow as you apply it, because God sees that you are trying and He will direct your steps. Faith is a living thing -- His Word is "living and active...," so just at we would feed and water a plant, we need to feed and water this faith with spiritual food from the Bible. We can't just assume that because we have done our duty and read the Bible today or gone to church that we are all set for the rest of the week. A plant would die if it wasn't watered for weeks or months at a time. What would happen if you watered it today and then sat back and said, "Well, I watered it today. I drenched it really good, so I don't think I need to water it again till the end of the summer!"? Of course, the plant would wilt and die. It hasn't born any fruit because it's life was shortened by drought, and we already saw that in this case, Jesus will snap it off and throw it into the fire. Luke 13:6-9 helps to illustrate the point further:
6 ¶ He also spoke this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 "Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' 8 "But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 'And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'"God is always looking for our tree to bear fruit by the continual watering of meditation on His Word and the resulting actions of faith. However, there are some who won't bear any fruit and their tree will be cut down soon or later. We don't want to be those trees! The answer is "repentance from dead work and of faith toward God," because the verse right before this parable talks about how the Jews where no better than others who had died in the then recent past by tragic events: "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." (vs 5) But we also see the good news: that God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:9). The point is further emphasized by Paul in Romans 11:16-23:
16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.Here, we see that if the root is not holy then the branches will not be either. Compare this to Luke 6:43-44 where Jesus said, "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit; for every tree is known by its fruit." If our roots are not kept holy by meditating on God's Word, our branches -- and for that matter the whole tree -- will not be holy either. Paul then clarifies that it is by faith that we are grafted into this olive tree (remember, Jesus is the True Vine), and unbelief is what causes us to be broken off. Paul also makes the point that God isn't willing that any should perish, when he says that if the branches do not continue in unbelief, God is able to graft them in again. God is just waiting for us to be grafted into Him by faith in His Word; it is then and only then that we will bear fruit, because Jesus said in John 15, "As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the Vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." You will also notice that the root is what supports the rest of the tree. If the branches are rotting, because they are not watered or because the plant has sprung up in the wrong place, the rest of the tree will eventually rot, too. This is why Paul says that if the root is holy so are the branches. If our roots are planted in the "springs of the water of life," our roots will be holy, which will cause our branches to be holy and, in effect, the whole tree will be holy!
Proverbs 4:20 ¶ My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. 24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.Happy WFW, everyone!