Lesson 12 -- third quarter 1997
August 17, 1997
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications
How do faithfulness and faith relate?
Can we measure faith?
Which comes first: faithfulness or faith? Concerning human relations, I don't know; it probably varies. However, when we talk about our relationship to God, faithfulness comes first. God is faithful, always has been and always will be. Nobody ever had faith in unfaithful God, because "unfaithful God" is a contradictory and mutually exclusive arrangement of terms. Praise the Lord, we can always have faith in Him and can always rest 100% secure in that faith!
I believe that the depth and willingness of our faith are inextricably intertwined with our perception of the faithfulness of God. The more I "taste and see that the Lord is good," the greater will be my faith in the unbending goodness of the Lord. The more acquainted I become with the uncompromising faithfulness of the Faithful One, the quicker I will become to walk further with Him without relying on sight. One conclusion we can draw from this is that as humans, our practical faith is based at least in some degree on our experience with the object of our faith. Therefore, if I would increase in faith in God, one thing I should do is to test His faithfulness more.
I also believe that the greatness and readiness of our faith are also completely inseparable from our own faithfulness to God. As I walk in obedience to the Lord, my faith in Him grows. God plants faith in the obedient heart, and the devil plucks faith from the disobedient one. I dare say we too easily make faith merely a mystical sort of thing. Faith is practical! And this is where the prop really bites the water: "by works was faith made perfect" (James 2:22)!
Thus a weak or wavering faith could be a sign of inexperience or disobedience. Inexperience in that I don't give God more opportunities to manifest His great faithfulness to me. Disobedience in that I pass up the opportunities to live my faithfulness to Him.
Can we measure faith? Would it not be wonderful to be able to place faith on a scales, or beside a ruler, or next to a thermometer? Or perhaps we'd rather pour it out into measuring containers or hold it up to a Geiger counter. Well, maybe faith made that concrete would cease to be faith. However, I do believe we can measure faith.
Note again the memory selection: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him...." Can it possibly be that the degree of pleasing God is the degree of our faith? Looks like we are back to the obedience issue, eh! So guess what. We can pour faith into a measuring container...and that container is our body!
Let's approach the issue from another angle. Can you think of a New Testament verse that clearly says that our lives measure our faith? This verse makes no bones about how easy it is to demonstrate and measure faith. And it leaves me with the strong conviction that faithfulness is faith's ruler. "I will shew thee my faith by my works" (James 2:18).
Let me replant one more seed: obedience and faithfulness to God reaches into all your relationships to all your authorities! Now what is the measure of your faith in God?
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