How Do You Get Strong Faith?

Preachers have told parents whose child lay sick, “If you have enough faith, he can be made well.”
What happens if the child dies? Did they not have enough faith?
Yet Jesus said, it wasn’t the amount of faith, for if you had the faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could remove mountains (Matthew 17:20).

Abraham is called a man of faith.
How did he get such strong faith?
By his obedience?
Paul refutes this belief in Romans 4. 
Abraham was told to be circumcised. But Abraham had his faith before he was circumcised. It was not a condition of his faith. 
He had his faith first.
His faith was not based on anything he did.

Abraham didn’t consider his or Sarah’s age, when he considered the promise God gave to him of a son.
Because he knew God would have to do it.

How did he get such strong faith?
Read Romans 4:20-21.
… he grew strong in his faith (how?) as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.

Abraham gave God glory.

Want your faith to grow?
It’s not some magical potion you wish for and it happens, 
Or that you just try harder.
It is by giving God glory.
Isn’t that what we’ve been talking about this past year?
We’ve been created to do that.

How did Abraham give God glory?
Abraham believed what God said He would do.
God told him He would give him a son.
Abraham believed God’s Word.
And gave God glory.
And his faith grew.

What promises have God given you?
Maybe that’s the problem, you don’t even know.
His Word is full of them.
He’s promised He will supply our needs (Philippians 4:13).
Are you trusting Him?
Or do you trust your credit card. 
You use your credit card for what you do not have, rather than ask God and trust Him to provide. 
Sometimes that means you go without. And wait.
Because God isn’t answering when you ask.
Or are you even asking?

When God supplies our needs, He does it in ways only He can do.
There is nothing left but to praise Him.

Let me give you an example.
My husband has the gift of faith. He takes God at His Word.
When we read that wives were to be keepers at home (Titus 2:5), my husband worked harder to make sure I stayed home.
People say, "It's easy for you. Your income can support your family."
Not so.
When Joey was in school, I did not work. Nor did he.
But God provided.
All our bills were paid on time.
People gave.
Not the same ones, and not those who had a lot to give.
But God took care of us.
We did get a school loan for the school payment and his books.
Joey looks back on that as a mistake. 
He said, "If we would have trusted God for that, He would have provided that too."
"Everything that we trusted God for, He provided."

We choose to believe God when He said, "be keepers at home," even when it was hard.
We had only one car until our sixth son was born (that was one car for 10 years of marriage).
When Joey went to army drill, we stayed home.
And every time he left, something happened—the well pump went out, the dog killed a pig and I butchered it (between nursing babies and watching the others), you get the message.
I'd go with Joey to work (1 hr away), shop for groceries with five young sons and wait until he was finished with work.
It was hard.

But God rewarded our obedience.
I was there when each son said their first words, took their first steps, learned to read....
People ask what we did to train our sons, we took God at His Word.
All His Word.
And God blessed.

Consider the opposite—what having credit does.
Having credit cards eliminates our need to look to God, even our churches take out loans. 
We don't have to ask God, or wait, or even wonder if we need the item we are getting, we just get it.
We no longer need someone from church to help fix our car or our plumbing— we can use our card to pay for our emergency.
We no longer see the church as an outreaching arm of God. 
We don't even know what the church people do.
No one needs to help us.

By using credit, we've become more independent from God and slaves to the one who holds our debt. 
 Owe no man anything.... (Romans 13:8) The borrower is servant to the lender (Proverbs 22:7).
We don't even realize its weight.
Those "rewards" suck away our life—because we must work more to pay them off,
yet are more enticing than God's rewards. 
And we wonder why our faith doesn't grow!

Maybe it’s not material needs, maybe it’s a ministry—a good ministry.
When we assume this good deed is what God wants us to do,
without asking and waiting for His answer,
We push our ways on God.

God does not provide.
And our faith does not grow.
But our self-righteousness grows.
We can look at all the things we’ve done for God.
(That God didn’t even want us to do.)
We're like the child who insists on doing his own way, but gives his mom flowers.
As if that ministry will please God.

Or, like our example at the beginning, we promise healing
when God didn't say He would heal.
But He did say, He would be with them through the shadow of death.
There's a big difference.

Do you think it was easy for Abraham to wait?
His name means, “father of many.”
Know how many children he had?
Not many. 
Not even one, for 20-some years.
But he gave God glory.
Because Abraham believed God’s Word.
And God gave Abraham a son in his old age.

Do we believe God’s Word?
When we do things, even good things, without seeking God,
We are earning our faith—like following the law
—like the Pharisees, looking at what we do.

But when we seek God for everything, we won’t be understood, even by Christians.
You'll also find you aren't rushed into a decision.
Look at the prophets. Many prayed for months before an answer came.
Some prayed for years.
We can't hurry God for an answer.
Sometimes God tells us to wait. 
Or not do it at all.

As we wait, we glory in Him.
Because our faith rests on what He has said.
And our praise belongs to Him.
When He supplies, we will know it was Him.

Want strong faith?
Then believe God at His Word and give Him glory.

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I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Articles on Suffering can be found  here, 
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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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