Sunday, June 20, 2010

Growing in faith

How on earth did Abraham keep believing God for promises that took 25 years to be fulfilled?  Abraham had no written Scriptures to read and be encouraged by.  There were no biographies written about saints who had gone before him to read and be inspired by. He was surrounded by a pagan culture with no faith community to support him through those 25 years of waiting (Genesis 12:1-4; 21:1-5).  And the longer things took, the more impossible it must have seemed that that promise would ever come to pass.  In fact, all those years of waiting would have given Abraham plenty of opportunities to second-guess God and to wonder, "Did God really say...?"

And yet, Romans 4:20 says "with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief" (NASB) or "no distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God" (ESV).  How did he do that?!  Or perhaps I should be asking about how -- with the myriad of spiritual supports and encouragements that I'm surrounded by -- can I so easily fall prey to struggles with unbelief or a lack of trust in God?  Obviously I have something to learn from Abraham.

Paul tells us in Romans 4:20 how Abraham kept believing amidst so many obstacles:  "he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God" (ESV).  It was glorifying God that cultivated his convictions and strengthened his faith.  In other words, he firmly focused more on God than on the obstacles.

This means I've got to be ready to praise God amidst any circumstances, thereby declaring that I don't believe any circumstances can trump God.  Praise is the language of faith.  This means exalting and worshiping God regardless of delays or disappointments. And as I do all that from a sincere heart, this verse is proof to me that God will then grow in my perceptions and my faith in Him will rise.  That is the way to grow in faith so that no distrust will make me waver concerning the promise of God!  Praise and worship of God regardless of what's going on around me. That's a choice we face daily, and it's a choice with a certain outcome: increased faith.  Not to mention, wonderful promises fulfilled!

© 2010 by Ken Peters

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