Fads and Facts about Faith

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says,“Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. – Romans 10:8-17

WELCOME TO THE imaginary-yet entertaining-Carnival of Faith.

A guy in a shiny suit holds up ajar as he waves you over. “Ladies and gentlemen, gather around! Is your faith weak? Do you give up on God? Well, your days in the dumps are over. Introducing Faith-amins, the vitamin guaranteed to fire up your faith.”

A woman in another booth is skinned in neon Lycra. “Hey, get over here!” she or­ders.  “That’s right, you with the puny faith muscles. You have· flab where you should have faith because you don’t work out. Twenty minutes a day on my patented Faith­-asizer will build your trust tone and belief stamina.”

The next guy offers you a plate of what looks like twigs and bark. “Eat right. It’s as simple as that, folks. Eat from our Faith-Builder Diet, then watch your unwanted dis­trust and disbelief disappear.”

Here’s reality: You can’t get faith in a bottle. You can’t even hide faith in a tuna­ fish hot dish. Sure, you know faith is a vital and necessary quality in the Christian life.  Hebrews 11:6 gets right in your face: “It is impossible to please God without faith.” Jesus praised people with great faith (see Matthew 8:10) and scolded people with small faith (see Luke 12:28). He promised that even mustard-seed-sized faith can move mountains (see Matthew 17:20). No wonder his disciples said to him, “We need more faith; tell us how to get it” (Luke 17 :5).

That’s the important question: How do you get more faith? Your spiritual life would be predictable and trouble-free if there was a special pill or plan that would in­crease your faith. But that’s not where faith comes from. Neil Anderson offers this great insight: “If you want your faith in God to increase, you must increase your under­standing of Him as the object of your faith. If you have little knowledge of God and His Word, you will have little faith. If you have great knowledge of God and His Word, you will have great faith … The only way to increase your faith is to increase your knowl­edge of God, your faith-object.”· That’s why Paul wrote: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17, NN).

Takes some of the mystery out of faith, doesn’t it? The more you know about God, the more you grow to trust him. And the more you are involved in the Bible­ reading, studying, memorizing, meditating-the more your knowledge of God grows.

The Word of God is your key.

REFLECT: What do think about a God who requires you to have faith-and then gives you his Word so you can know him and believe him? Cool, huh?

PRAY: Tell God what you think about him.

• Neil T. Anderson, Victory Over the Darkness (Eugene, Ore: Harvest House Publishers, 1990), 112.

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