I have heard many a believer say, “If only I had more faith.” This is usually said in the context of desire for healing or miracles.
But what about the faith it took to believe in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins? Yes, we received forgiveness by faith. So, is there a connection to the faith we need to receive healing or anything else God has promised in His word?
Is faith some mystery that is meted out to the few? Are superheroes of “the faith” the only ones that get to have it?
What does the scripture say about it? First of all, let’s look at the definition of faith found in the letter to the Hebrews 11:1
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for
is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.”
We also know further along in the chapter that faith is necessary if we are to please God.
“…it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to
come to Him must believe that there is a God and that
He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” NLT
As we read on in this great faith chapter we see that our Bible heroes believed God and obeyed Him. When God told them something, they may have stumbled for a season, but for the most part, they believed Him, even with life and death matters.
I believe that many problems in believers’ minds regarding faith come from looking around at everyone else. They may ask themselves, “Why can’t I do what I see someone else doing by faith?”
Here’s the thing: it is necessary to understand what is my place in the kingdom. What am I called to do? What spiritual gifts am I to operate in for the good of the body of Christ in my local church?
The apostle Paul urges everyone in Romans 12:3 as follows:
“As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning:
Be honest in your estimate of yourselves,
measuring your value by how much
faith God has given you.” NLT
Another version puts it this way,
“For I say, through the grace given to me,
to everyone who is among you,
not to think of himself (or herself) more highly
than he (or she) ought to think,
but to think soberly,
as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
This does not mean one gets a lot of faith and another gets cheated somehow with a smaller dose. What it does mean is that every believer has a destiny and place of fruitfulness in the body of Christ. God has measured out exactly what we need to function to our fullest extent.
If there is a problem in Christendom, it is underutilization of the measure of faith each of us has been given. This cannot be said, however, of the apostle Paul.
He wrote to the Corinthians about this very concept. Even he was aware of his boundaries.
“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves
with those who commend themselves.
But they, measuring themselves by themselves,
and comparing themselves among themselves,
are not wise.
We, however, will not boast beyond measure,
but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—
a sphere which especially includes you.”
II Corinthians 10:13
There is one catch, though. We must step out and explore the limits of our faith, sometimes through trial and error.
As we pursue listening to the Holy Spirit, maybe we get it wrong on occasion. The wonderful thing is that God can fix any mistake, and He will because He sees our hearts. He knows we are learning and growing.
At times, the apostle Paul pushed his boundaries. He was eager to reach the Gentiles, which was his calling. He was ready to go into the Roman province of Asia as recorded in Acts 16:6-10 (NKJV)
But “they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.
After they had come to Mysia they tried to go into Bithynia,
but the Spirit did not permit them.”
In a sense, doesn’t it seem like trial and error, even in these seasoned men of God, (Paul and Silas, along with young Timothy)? You can be sure that after several attempts at entering new territory and being thwarted by the Holy Spirit, they were earnestly seeking God for direction.
So, they pass by Mysia and come to Troas. Here, a vision of the Lord gives direction.
” And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.'” Acts 16:9
Immediately, they went to Macedonia. These early leaders of the church eagerly sought new horizons by faith.
Just as an athlete must exercise muscles to get stronger, so must we also, exercise our measure of faith. Our faith grows as we launch out and do something in obedience to the whisper of the Holy Spirit in our spirits.
The foundation of our faith, of course, is in listening to scripture and absorbing preaching of the word of God regularly. This cannot be bypassed. As the apostle Paul put it in his letter to the Roman Christians:
“So then, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
Romans 10:17 NKJV
Know that you have a vital part to play in the kingdom. God has equipped you with everything you need to fulfill your destiny. Your local church is ready and willing to assist you in your journey.
So, go ahead. Launch out. Stretch yourself. Obey that tug in your heart from the Holy Spirit to do something and see your faith grow.