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"Lord, Increase Our Faith"

But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a of them that diligently seek Him," (Heb. 11:6 KJV). That profound text gives two reasons why faith is necessary to please God. Number one, no one can come TO God unless they first believe IN God. Paul explained this with his question "how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?" (Rom. 10:14). The second part of that faith description casts a bigger shadow. It says God rewards those who follow diligently and who know that's what God expects of them. In other words, they expect scrutiny from God and live accordingly.


The fact that "we walk by faith and not sight," (2 Cor. 5:7) does not diminish the need for obedience. No one can successfully argue they "diligently seek" God and then refuse to obey God (Lk. 6:46). Simply put, the one who does not "diligently seek" God does not have the kind of faith described here. James says the real-world proof of our faith is not in our claimed convictions but rather in our demonstrated actions (Js. 2:14-26). God says not to murder, practice idolatry, practice witchcraft (Gal. 5:20-21). We say, "No problem." But God also says that hatred, envy, strife and such are wrong and must be avoided (Gal. 5:20-21).


With those things, many of us DO have a problem. Which is why we can so readily relate to the following conversation: "Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, "I repent," you shall forgive him." And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." (Lk. 17:3-5). They didn't have trouble believing, but they knew they were going to have trouble obeying! The reality of forgiving, under such conditions, was beyond their grasp.


Sometimes we also need help with our faith. We are not always quite ready to follow God's ways. Maybe we believe the goals are too high, or perhaps our pride is too strong, or the temptations is just too... well, tempting! Rather than excusing our human failures, we bar-lowering words like "well, everybody makes mistakes," perhaps what we need to do is to is to make the same request as the disciples did and say, "Lord, increase our faith!"


-Tim Orbison

#MaysvilleMessenger

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