Every true-born child of God longs to have faith, more faith, much faith.. so that they too will produce fruit, more fruit much fruit. For without Faith it is impossible to please God. Heb.11:6. For Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit. John 15:8. Most of us have prayed for more faith, desiring to be like a spiritual giant in the faith.. often aspiring to spiritual ‘success’ – without embracing its aggressive pain. Often skipping to the last chapter of the book, without reading the long life-journey.
Yet the truth is that real faith is always increased by opposition and trials. But opposition means deep pain, deep despair, deep loss and deep aloneness.. and trials mean deep disappointments and a deep refining of all that relies on self. Oh ‘false’ confidence may damage, discourage of even destroy dishonest ‘faith’.. but real faith in the One Who can be trusted – will be sharpened and honed– but it takes time… and it takes pain. Much time and too often deep deep pain.
Every great man of God in scripture or church history finally saw Peter’s truth. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto the praise and honour and glory at the Appearing of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet.1:7
Saving Faith is instantaneous and praise God it is finished at the time of rebirth. Sanctifying Faith is the slow long-term build-up of trust over an entire lifetime.. and little by little; line by line, God slowly delights to increase His children’s faith. Ironically trials, obstacles, difficulties and even defeats are the food of faith. Paradoxically the building blocks of trust are what we would prefer to avoid.
But faith is absolute and unconditional dependence upon God – believing His Word. Faith is accepting unquestioningly His Word as fact.. depending upon Him alone. Faith is dependence.. utter complete and total dependence upon God… and God alone. And God in His wisdom needs to demolish all self-dependence in order to build real faith, as one by one He removes every particle of support on which we’ve come to rely..whether it be a person or a place; a creed or a reputation– whether it be through bereavement; ill-health; poverty; pain or disappointment.
One great saint describes it this way:- “Faith is dependence upon God. And this God-dependence only begins when self-dependence ends. And self-dependence only comes to its end, with some of us….. when sorrow, suffering, affliction, broken plans and lost hope bring us to that place of self-helplessness and defeat. And only then do we find that we have learned the lesson of faith; to find our tiny craft of life rushing onward to a blessed victory of life …. a victory of life and power and service undreamt of….. victory in the days of our past, fleshly strength and self-reliance.”
Every true born child of God longs to have faith, much faith, more faith.. so that they too will produce fruit, more fruit much fruit. But everything of self-dependence has to go. So that full dependence on Christ becomes all in all.
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