Ever increasing faith

The Verse of the Day for February 9, 2019, comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3 in the Amplified Bible:

3 We ought and indeed are obligated [as those in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as is fitting because your faith is growing exceedingly and the love of every one of you each toward the others is increasing and abounds.

This verse reminds us that faith is not static, but God wants our faith to grow, increase and abound. When the apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith,” he responded:

6 And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6 Amplified Bible)

As we plant and water the Word of faith in our lives, God will give the increase, as we grow from those of “little faith” to those who demonstrate “great faith.” That particular expression along with the Verse of the Day brings to mind my recently released book, Embracing Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs. Indeed, faith continues to be an essential component of my life, and I discuss its importance in Chapter 6: “The Faith Factor: Without faith it is impossible. . .” This excerpt serves as an appetizer to the full course meal offered in the book.

Throughout my encounter with prostate cancer, I was well aware of the importance of faith because the diagnosis challenged me to go to God and seek His guidance and direction as never before. During this time, I was asked to write an article sharing what faith means to me. This task helped me to articulate the importance of faith which I describe as the “bedrock of my life.” Defined as confident assurance, trust and conviction in God that I will prevail, faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

I recognized that the topic has been of interest to me since high school when I first taught a Bible study on faith at a youth camp. Focusing on Hebrews 11, verses 1 and 6, I shared what little I knew at the time, but I have since expanded my knowledge of the subject and personal application of the principles of learning to live by faith. Those two verses have contributed to the foundation upon which I have built my life as a teacher and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the years following my diagnosis, I expanded my knowledge of the subject of faith, examining the Word of God and pointing to essential illustrations of faith in Hebrews 11 and elsewhere in the Scriptures and in life. . . . The Gospels offer an account of an individual who impressed Jesus Christ with his “great faith.” The centurion in Matthew 8 comes to Jesus Christ with a request that he heal the man’s servant. In response, the Lord says that he will come and do as he asks. The centurion counters by saying that Jesus does not have to come to his house, but he has“. . . only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” In response, the Lord says, “I tell you truthfully, I have not found such great faith [as this] with
anyone in Israel. The centurion demonstrated “such great faith” and profoundly impressed the Lord.

A contemporary term corresponding to “great faith” is “crazy faith.” When believers encounter circumstances that seem utterly impossible and respond that they know the situation will turn out favorably, despite what appears to be a hopeless case. The world might respond to their positive expectations with, “That’s crazy!” We know, however, that we walk by faith and not by sight, and we counter with “That’s not crazy. . . That just means we have ‘crazy faith.’” Larry King says, “Crazy faith is when you simply refuse to let what you perceive –that is, your circumstances, your situations, your trials, tests, and obstacles – interfere with what you believe.”

Here is a poetic description:

Such Great Faith—Crazy Faith

When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed,
Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith,
not even in Israel!

Matthew 8:10 (KJV)

As servants of a king assess his vast treasure,
When the Lord returns, will he find faith on the earth?
When He appraises our faith, what will it be worth?
When all is said and done, may we add our measure,
Though small as the grain of a tiny mustard seed.
Should the Lord come during the Age of the Gentiles,
May our faith be found so pure that nothing defiles.
May we be living by faith in word and in deed,
For God is ever faithful and His Word is true.
May such great faith descend from the centurion
To the faithful ones who bear this criterion:
Whatever God shall speak, this shall He also do.
We will still be walking by faith, not by what we see,
While pressing toward the mark, reaching toward our destiny.

Here is John Waller offering a musical expression of “Crazy Faith”:

Embracing Your Life Sentence: How to Turn Life’s Greatest Tragedies into Your Greatest Triumphs is available wherever books are sold and online. For more details check out https://lonnelledwardjohnson.com.

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