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.