We find our strength in God when we dip ourselves in Him. A ‘dip’ does not consist of church services without Christ at its center, or giving oneself over to a dynamic charismatic personality at the pulpit who is more concerned with wowing his congregation with his delivery, rather than his content.
Our strength is derived from our faith in the word of God. With faith, we establish the connection; and then the ‘author and perfecter’ of our faith (Heb. 12:2), Jesus Christ, fortifies the seeds of our conviction. It is our faith in God’s unrestricted love for us first, that opens the doors for us to love Him back, and thus be nurtured as well.
We dip ourselves in God when we read the scriptures and we do the same when we hear them:
So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ. Rm. 10:17 AMP
You can also take those words and examine them in contemplative prayer, asking God to reveal further depth to your understanding, which brings you closer to Him. The more you give yourself to God, the more you will gain further understanding of Him, yourself and your place in His plan, which facilitates greater faith.
Taking part in the ‘sacraments’ (i.e. baptism and Lord’s Supper) also call to play your visual sense, to supplement your faith. They are the words of God – acted out. You are partaking in the grace of God, not performing some ‘work,’ to earn your salvation. It is an act of faith. In the taking of the Lord’s Supper for example, you focus not on the sacrament itself, but on the promise of forgiveness of your sins through His blood that they represent.
After all, what was Jesus (in His carnal manifestation), if not a ‘living sacrament,’ to show us the true nature of God – to build our faith?
When you are evangelizing, it is not the hearer’s faith in you the speaker, but in the words of the gospel you deliver that is the faith-builder for the recipient. It’s not about the evangelist. It’s about honoring God for His merciful gift of salvation, and learning to love others as God loves us (and how we should love ourselves) that motivates us to yearn for their company in heaven. We know that the sacred light of salvation is put out in sin, and thus we know that our efforts take on a life-or-death significance towards the one we are pouring out our godly love upon.
And guess what? When you see someone’s life transform because they accepted Christ as their Savior, isn’t that a faith-builder for you?
Likewise, when you are out doing good works, it isn’t for your own salvation, but because your ‘saved’ heart is motivating you to do godly things. We plant the seeds; Christ grows them. More faith.
When God tests you, it is not to see if you have the mettle to be a Christian, it is to get you to know Him better and cling to Him in total dependency, i.e. in greater faith. Our dependency motivates our obedience, which in itself builds faith because right actions produce right outcomes, and right outcomes bring glory to the Father. It is the fruits of our faith that lift up our God.
Salvation sets the ‘old sinners’ free. The true remaining sinners are then those who willfully continue to rebel and offend because they’d rather cling to the ways of the world. It’s not the sin, but the attitude of the willful sinner that casts out the grace of God and places the will of the devil in its place. It’s our faith in grace that keeps us on the battlefield, fighting the fight for their lives.
Faith is also built when we worship because we are focused on the goodness of God and His promises. We have faith because of HIs justification – not through our faith, but from Christ’s deliverance, which we lock onto through our faith. Only Christ justifies. Our faith is what accepts His salvation.
It’s not about what you can do. It’s about surrendering yourself to be used by God.
Faith-building is also a product of honoring God for the fruits of our relationship with Him. An attitude of gratitude recognizes God as the source of all things. And the witnessing of His promises fulfilled, shore up the faith you already had in the belief that He would deliver.
Faith is built by remembering the ‘old man,’ that you put off, before you were regenerated as the ‘new man in Christ (Eph. 4:17 – 24.) After all, to acquire faith, you must gain a full knowledge of your old sinful ways and the agony associated with them. Only then, can you appreciate the magnitude of what Christ accomplished in you, because you started out with a little faith. Jesus took you in just as you were and freed you from the guilt, shame and sorrow.
Once you became sorry and remorseful, Jesus was already at work.
When you’re living a life in God, you are reminded in every moment of His grace, regardless of how the rest of the world may look, and you can’t help but feel your faith muscles building…
Goodnight and God bless.