Sunday, August 20, 2017
In Hebrews 11:1 the Bible tells us that "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Sounds a bit confusing, doesn't it? But in truth, faith is feeling confident of what we hope for--be it less anxiety in our life or confident that we can be a stronger person. I think before you and I have faith, we have to truly believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. If we don't believe that Jesus did what he did--especially when he rose from the dead, returned for many to see Him and that He will come again to judge the quick and the dead, then there is no strong foundation for faith. In addition, when you really think about it, faith is necessary, even critical, to get through the day. Without faith, we can't please God and that is so important. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, body and strength and when we do that and then believe that God will give us the faith and strength to meet and exceed the day's needs, then we will have pleased Him and given Him glory.
So, how do we strengthen our faith? Here are some suggestions that will help. These suggestions come from the Reverend Billy Graham:
First, love God and love one another. These are the first and second commandments.
Then, rejoice in the Lord. Billy Graham said something wonderful long ago, ""Only the forward-looking Christian remains sincerely optimistic and joyful, knowing that Christ will win in the end." What could be more joyful than knowing that at the end of our lives and the end of the world, Christ wins!?
Then, live a peaceful life. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." Another way to strengthen your faith is to be patient; be patient with the world, yourself and others. Always remember how patient God is with you and me.
Still another way is to be kind. Perhaps one of the best passages in the Bible is Philippians 2: 3-4 "count others more significant than yourselves" and look to the interest of others." Kindness can bring about so much good!
Practice goodness. God wants us to have true, right and pure thoughts. God calls us to love everyone, even our enemies. And, always do the right thing for the right reason. Most importantly, be faithful to God and not put other things above Him. This could include idols or anything you may put above God. God is a jealous God and wants you entire attention.
Being gentle and not overly critical or angry with others, is another way to grow your faith. In other words, build other up and don't tear them down. And, keep away from gossip; gossip is destructive to those who speak the words and especially for how those words impact on others. Self-control is also so important in building your faith. Everyone is tempted but we don't have to give in. There are times when we should distance ourselves from whatever is tempting us--such as food, an attractive person or watching a program that is indecent. Keep in mind; "God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
Faith "is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Because this is true, you and I can be faithful and with our faith lead lives that are positive, godly, fruitful and joyous! With faith and love in our hearts, we can look to each day like this photo--joyful, happy and with hope in our hearts!
Copyright Toni Star 2017