Exercise Faith Daily

“If you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you” (Matthew 17:20).

We can never say that we do not have enough faith. Everyone expresses faith a thousand times each day. When we sit in a chair we express faith in the chair; when we eat food or have a drink we have faith that it will satiate a need without poisoning us. We turn on a tap having faith it will produce water and we flip a light switch in faith that it will bring light. In these and thousands of other daily activities we act in faith. In every case whether we get what we expect or not does not depend on the amount of faith. It is found in whether we are willing to act on what we know to be true.

No matter the need, even the smallest amount of faith is sufficient – because it is entirely the reliability of the object of faith that matters. Is the object of our faith trustworthy? The object of faith for the Christian is always Jesus Christ. It is He who does the impossible, not our faith. Our part is not in having much faith, but being willing to step out in faith trusting Him to act in accordance with His word. Vance Havner writes, “There is no real faith until it gets into the will and we undertake the very thing we know we cannot do, but undertake it in the name of and at the command of another.”

Faith will grow as it is exercised. Years of turning on a tap has given us great faith that we will get water when we turn it on. As we live and abide with Jesus exercising our faith in Him daily it will grow to the extent that we exercise it. However, we must never forget that even the smallest amount of faith placed in a reliable and trustworthy object will be rewarded equally as will the greatest amount of faith.

While the amount of faith does not affect the outcome it can affect our enjoyment of the journey. A person with little faith in a plane will have an anxious flight but a person with great faith will have a much more enjoyable flight. Both will arrive at the same destination and at the same time.

The reward for acting in faith is greater faith and hence a more enjoyable experience in the future. This is true in all aspects of life and especially in our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that the one who comes to God, even out of little faith, will be rewarded with greater faith, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Without some faith that God exists a person will not come to God but when they do they will discover that their faith is placed in One worthy of it. The consequence of that will be stronger faith.

You wish you had greater faith in God? Then exercise that which you have.

Heavenly Minded

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Whenever we meet someone who is really living for Jesus in the way Jesus spoke and Paul writes we are inclined to think they are a bit fanatical, maybe a lot fanatical. The Christian of the twenty first century has little opportunity to observe such people. We find them in the biographies of past times. We have generally succumbed to insipid mediocrity being more concerned that a truly spiritual life might offend others in the church and would isolate us. We find it easier to please people than to please Jesus. Paul wrote, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men … for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23, 24). Each of us must ask ourselves whether we really do serve Jesus or just ourselves.

If we live as Paul exhorts we will find others who also live that way with whom we can have a more vital friendship and kinship. Also, if we walk in the manner he describes we may be a means of encouraging others to do the same.

Earlier in his letter Paul had given two instructions that if any Christian will follow would set them on a path walking with Jesus Christ. The way he presents it is that it is the reasonable way of life for a person who is a Christian: “If then (since) you were raised with Christ” (3:1).

The two overriding instructions guide us as to the general activity and attitude of our lives if we are walking with Jesus.

The preoccupying activity of a spiritual Christian is, “seek(ing) those things which are above” (v1). The reason for this Paul writes is that Jesus is there with the Father. It is for us to assess our own lives as to whether we are seeking things above or below.

Secondly, Paul writes that we would do well to set our minds on things above (v 2). While we do live in this world temporarily, the things above are eternal. “The things of earth will grow strangely dim” the song writer reminds us so why not start now?

An inevitable future experience for a Christian is motivation for us to live this way. Jesus who is our life will appear and we shall appear with Him in glory (v 3). Paul wants us to be ready for the day Jesus comes to receive us to Himself. Seeking heavenly things and having our mind on things above will guide us into wisdom for living and affect how we live today.

Jesus and Paul both exhort us to be heavenly minded and not earthly minded, to have our minds set on things eternal and to seek things above. Does that sound fanatical or is it the normal Christian life as Paul sees it?

This is indeed the normal Christian life but it does not appear to be very common. We will never be as heavenly minded as Jesus and may not match Paul for heavenly mindedness either but that is no reason not to set our minds and hearts to live this normal Christian life. It is a path that finds its goal in Jesus “Christ who is our life.” Amen.