The Word For Wednesday: Faith

Starting today, I've decided to participate (for the first time) in Jean's meme, The Word For Wednesday. Whereas I realize that some may argue that this doesn't have anything to do with apologetics, I also maintain that this is my blog, so I shall proceed... A recurring theme in my church the last few months has been faith in God. Sometimes the concept of faith can seem hard to us, Christians, to understand, so I wanted to share some things that have helped me to understand it better. Many of these Scriptures are probably all too familar to most... My quest to understand faith better began with Mark 4:30-32 :
Then He said, "To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? "It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; "but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade."
I have always read about faith and wondered what it truly meant; it seemed to be so out of my grasp, like I would be trying to works something up that wasn't there. Now, I've never doubted God, but it just seemed to me personally to be impossible. However, the first thing that I noticed from this Scripture was that a tree has roots, which grow down deep, hence, my question became, "How can I get my faith to grow down deep?" I recognized a parallel between the mustard seed becoming a tree, and Jesus words in Matthew 17:20 :
So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
Still, the question loomed: "How do I get faith like this?" The illustration entered my mind of a flower (or any plant, for that matter): in order to get it to grow, with deep roots, we need to water it. So, how do we water our faith? Psalm 1 answers this question perfectly:
1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Interstingly, the cross reference for verse 3 is Jeremiah 17:7:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
From these Scriptures, we see that faith is watered by meditating on God's word, just as it says in Romans 10:17:
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
One other thing to note is that the ungodly man was likened to "chaff which the wind drives away." Interestingly, chaff is dry, not having received any water, and it is blown about by the wind. This seems to suggest that they doubt, because James likens the one who doubts as "a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind." In short, we need to hear God's Word and keep it ever in our minds and hearts, so that our faith can grow -- We need to keep our focus on God and His Word, and then do what He is telling us to do. Colossians 2:6-7 says,
As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.


  1. Great post! Thanks for bringing out the cross-referencing Scriptures, especially the one from Jeremiah. It's special to me right now because here, God promises that the one who trusts in the Lord "will not fear when heat comes, but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit." Reminds me of the parable of the sower's seed, where those whose roots were not deep were overcome by heat.

    I was examining the Lord's Prayer the other day, and wondering why Jesus said to pray "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." God doesn't tempt us with sin; what then does Jesus mean when He says to pray "lead us not into temptation"? I did some further study, and discovered, that first, the Greek word can also be translated "trial," "tribulation," and "adversity." This "temptation" is when we are under pressure, because of hard times, and tempted to give in. The same Greek word is used when Jesus says that the seeds which sprouted among rocky soil, and had shallow roots, were overcome by the heat of 'persecution' ('temptation') and withered away.

    What Jesus is talking about when he says "lead us not" seems to be then, to pray that we would not be lead into and stranded and given up for lost in the midst of our trials, but that God would deliver us from the evil one. You see all kinds of prayers like this in the Psalms. So, when we pray "lead us not" and have the confident expectation that God will hear and answer us, we are trusting in Him.

    Now how neat is that when it all ties together like that? :)

    Thanks again for posting.

    Happy WFW!

  2. Hi Herkey! Great to see you here again!

    Thank you so much for commenting... you really got me thinking (and that is when I usually end up learning something new ;) )...

    "This "temptation" is when we are under pressure, because of hard times, and tempted to give in."

    It's interesting that you mention pressure... the other day, I was reading in Romans and Paul was talking about being children and heirs of God, "if indeed we suffer with Him" (verse 8:17). This led me to study out suffering further, and I eventually came to the word, "tribulation" in Acts 14:22. One of its Greek root words means "pressure." Other meanings are "trouble, narrow, a rut or worn track/path, to gnaw/chew." Putting this all together, I gathered that suffering isn't limited to the cruel beatings and mockeries which many persecuted Christians experience; it could also mean the pressures of everyday life that narrow you down and eat at you to try to get you into some sort of rut. (And, of course, this could apply to the persecuted Christians in many ways, also.) That would sound like temptation to me, and it definitely would fit in with the parable of the seeds which sprouted on rocky soil because their roots were shallow.

    So, yes, I agree that this is what Jesus meant. And it all makes perfect sense when we remember that Jesus told His disciples to "pray that you enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak," because if our roots are not grounded in Him, when that heat of persecution (no matter what the form) beats down on us we will wither away, just like those shallow roots in the parable.

    Also, remember how I was saying that the chaff was dry? Well, I am reminded of John 15 where Jesus is talking about True Vine -- Jesus said,” Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.... Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned." Of course, we can tell that Jesus is talking about bearing fruit, and if we have faith in God, we will bear good fruit, because we are abiding in Him and continually meditating on His word. However, I also noticed that Jesus says that those who don't bear fruit, are "cast out as a branch and they throw them into the fire and they are burned." A branch doesn't burn unless it is dry; if it is moist or still full of life, the fire will try to consume it, but will not be entirely successful. Therefore, it appears that the one who is cast off as a branch is not watering his faith. Instead he is withering up till he can be snapped right off of the tree and thrown into the fire for kindling. It's also great to know that if we abide in Christ, we will not be cast off as that dry branch, because we are safe in Him and we are full of life, watering our "trees" and strengthening our roots in His Word.

    "Now how neat is that when it all ties together like that? :)" ;)

  3. What an excellent post! I'm so glad that you've joined us. And even though this is an apologetics blog, I think the best defense of our faith is sharing our faith, so you're right on track. :)

    We do so need to meditate on God's Word, instead of just reading it. I know many people who "know" their scripture and can quote verses for any occasion, but it's just in their head, not in their heart.

    And this got me thinking about the living water, so I'll just add another passage to the discussion:

    Jesus answered and said to her, "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."
    (John 4:10-14)

  4. What a great blog! :) Happy to have found you, Miss Syzmanski.

    Your post and all these excellent comments get me stirred up! I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 4, particularly verses 8-15. It speaks of being "hard-pressed" and "persecuted," but not crushed nor forsaken; moreover that we should not lose heart, but rather keep our eyes on Him and the eternal weight of glory. Meditating on that scripture always makes my heart leap for joy! I think it's REALLY neat how all these scriptures interconnect, and on so many levels: being connected to the Vine, the Lord's Prayer, never thirsting again.... WOW! God is just so amazing.

  5. Welcome to Word for Wednesday! Cannot wait to see your post for today!


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