“There are three kinds of faith in Christ:
1. Struggling faith, like a man in deep water desperately swimming.
2. Clinging faith, like a man hanging to the side of a boat.
3. Resting faith, like a man safely within the boat (and able to reach out with a hand to help someone else get in).”
-- Dwight L. Moody
Hello again, and welcome back! If you recall, we previously discovered how asking God for stronger faith and getting into the Word will both strengthen your faith. These are logical, practical steps to transitioning from that place of struggling faith that we're all so familiar with to a resting faith, where we're firmly grounded in the Lord and able to help encourage and strengthen others. Yes, you CAN get to that place in your relationship with God!
In this last segment of the Resting Faith series, I want to share another way that you can strengthen your faith -- maybe a way that you wouldn't expect. What is it?
Be encouraged by others!!
That's right! Be encouraged by others! Stick with me. You'll see what I mean.
If you're like me, you tend to withdraw when you're struggling. Things aren't going the way you hoped they would; everywhere you turn, plans seem to fail. You've tried to get into the Word but feel like it's not making sense. You've been asking God for more faith but feel like He hasn't heard you... You feel alone, desperately swimming, and your faith is slipping. Questions begin to swirl in your mind:
"Is God real?"
"What is this all for?"
"How does that person seem on fire for God?"
"What if all of this is a lie?"
Of course, the fact that you've pulled away from others, not wanting them to know what's going on or see you feeling like this, doesn't help!
It's in these moments of struggling faith that we NEED to surround ourselves with brothers and sisters in Christ who can encourage us, pray for us, and build us up. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that people are a replacement for God or that you should turn to people instead of Him. I'm simply pointing out that surrounding yourself with other believers is a crucial step to growing in your faith. When you're around other believers, you see God work in their lives, and God uses them to speak into your life. They can often answer your questions, and they can help you get out of the brain fog that you've become trapped in.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says:
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (NKJV)
Let's break this down...
"Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works" -- The Greek word for "consider" is katanoéō, which means to perceive, consider attentively, or fix one's eyes or mind upon something. It's really a simple concept. When we turn our focus to others, love and good works naturally follow and our faith is strengthened. Don't believe me? I challenge you to serve God sacrificially. Do something outside of your comfort zone to serve someone else, and watch how your faith follows.
Verse 25 goes on to say, "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another..." It's really pretty clear -- "not forsaking the assembly" quite literally means not to abandon the assembly of people together (and this verse isn't talking about people in general; it's speaking about the followers of Christ).
It turns out, people back in the early church struggled with many of the same things we do today, and withdrawing from the church was (and still is) an issue. I don't know how many times I've seen people who are struggling with their faith, really having a hard time figuring out who God is and what He wants from them, and through the confusion they decide to stop communicating with other believers. They stop going to church, stop calling or texting their believer friends, all the while using the excuse that they "just need time" to figure things out.
Oh, my heart breaks for these brothers and sisters! The writer of Hebrews gave us this exhortation because he knew the positive impact that being around other believers would have on our faith!
When we're struggling, the last thing we should do is isolate ourselves.
We're family, brothers and sisters in Christ, and we need to help each other as we walk through this thing called life and as we grow in our faith. If we isolate ourselves, we'll soon begin to spiral into destruction.
If you've found that you're in the "struggling faith" category, draw close to other believers. You'll soon find that they will encourage and strengthen you as you walk through this life.
So there you have it -- three things you can do to strengthen your faith. Ask God for it, get in the Word, and be encouraged by others! No matter where you find yourself in the spectrum of faith, whether you're barely treading water or boldly standing in your faith and helping others out, these three principles should be in the front of your mind, and if they are, you'll find that your faith will be strengthened day by day!
God Bless! I'll see you next time!