Growing the Seed of Faith
...or it will wither and die

by Graham Pockett

Scripture quoted is from the NIV Bible, not because it is ‘best’ but because it is in modern English. If in doubt, please read the quotations in various translations. You might like to read Why I Quote The NIV Bible.

 
Our faith comes in many formats:

We have faith in our parents, specially as a baby for food, shelter and warmth; we have faith in our family standing by us when there are outside pressures against us; we have faith in our own abilities to overcome obstacles; we have faith in our friends supporting us when things look bleak; we have faith that an idea or concept we develop can be a motivator in our lives (business, invention, etc); and more.

In a more general sense we can have faith in a cause, we can have faith in a hope, and we can have faith in a promise.

Unfortunately these faiths are, at best, based on assumptions (ie, we assume our friends will stand by us when we encounter problems in our lives) because they rely on the grace of man – and man is rarely grace-full. We constantly place our faith in mankind, including our own abilities, and we are constantly disappointed because man is far from perfect.

Even the most sincere and diligent parent will, at times, let you down because they are human and therefore not perfect. With the best of intentions and effort they will sometimes fail.

Compare then a less than diligent parent and we can understand why we have so many dysfunctional families producing dysfunctional children (who grow into dysfunctional adults who breed more dysfunctional children). While this pattern is not 'locked in stone' and there are exceptions, generally that pattern repeats itself ad nauseam.

To summarize: Man is not very faithful – ie "full of faith" – to his fellow man (and, yes, it applies to women too)!

However, faith in God the Father will never let you down because you are relying on His grace, not on the grace of man – and God never lets you down.

Deuteronomy 31:6 says: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (That passage is also quoted in Hebrews 13:5.)


“Testing is there to help you strengthen your faith”

God might not always give you what you want, He may not always give you what you ask for, He may even allow bad things to happen to you – but these are to help you in some way.

Faith can be learned: Romans 10:17 says that faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Faith can also be grown through testing: John 15:2 says that God cuts off every branch in you that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

Testing is there to help you strengthen your faith – like a muscle that needs to be exercised or it withers and dies. As the old saying goes: "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors".

I believe that we are born with the seed of faith in God the Father, and our purpose here on Earth as mortals is to develop and grow that seed.

While the Bible may not talk about us being born with a seed of faith, every society down through the ages has worshipped some form of god or gods. If we were not born with that "seed of faith" then mankind would not always seek a god to worship. That he does is a sign that God gave us this desire to seek Him.

I believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the one true God, and that this God lived on Earth as a man, the Messiah Jesus, to give us the opportunity to be redeemed of our sin – the sin introduced into us by our ancestor, Adam.

Unless our purpose is to grow and develop that faith, I don't see much purpose for the mortal part of our life cycle – the evolutionists might as well have their "its all an accident" scenario. There would be no purpose in living as mortals if we were not here to grow and develop our faith. We could have been "born" (created) directly in Heaven and not gone through our mortal metamorphosis on Earth.

On the other hand, if God just wanted Earthly "yes" men (and women) He could have built blind obedience to Him into our DNA.

Instead, He inserted this "seed of faith".


“God says ‘yes’ when our requests align with His word and His will for us”

The truth is that God wants us to choose Him so that we can be His children and, eventually, stand beside Him in Heaven.

God gave us that choice by building into our DNA the seed of faith and then encouraging us to develop it.

We develop that faith by seeking God in all matters relating to our lives. The only sin is putting ourselves before God!

By faith we ask God to help us, to grant us our requests, but God does not always answer those requests in the way we want. While God does answer ALL prayer, sometimes that answer is "yes", sometimes it is "not now", and sometimes it is "no".

God says "yes" when our requests align with His word and His will for us.

For example, we can pray for clarity of mind when we are faced with a test, say, a school examination. We can also ask God for guidance when we make decisions ("Lord, if this is what you want for me then please open all the doors wide so that it happens, but if You do not want me to do this or have this then please close the doors with a clang so that I can know that it is not right for me").

God says "not now" when we aren't ready to handle the request or it is just bad timing in our life.

For example, if a child requests an ice cream just before a meal a wise parent will say "not now". And God is the wisest of all parents.

God says "no" when our requests are not the best thing for us, do not align with the Word, or go against His will for us.

For example, if we have trouble handling money and ask God for a windfall to pay off our debts then God will most likely say "no" because first we must learn to handle money. Granting our request for a windfall would not be in our best interest.

Read the excellent poem "And God Said No" by Claudia Minden Weisz, the mother of a severely disabled Rett Syndrome child.


“The Word says that we should ask God for everything”

The Word says that we should ask God for everything. Matthew 7:7 says "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" but the proviso is that what we ask is in His will – He won't grant you something that is against His will for you.

If God never said "no", even when our requests were not the best thing for us at that time, then He would become a "Santa Claus" God and we would not require faith – we wouldn't even have to believe!

In fact, faith grows when we do NOT get something we want or believe we deserve, but still don't falter in our faith.

When Paul the Apostle talks about doing "works" he is invariably talking to fellow Jews because many Jews in those days thought that all they needed to do was to obey the Laws of God to be saved – they did not have to actually believe in Him. Their actions were more important than their belief.

In fact, their faith WAS in their actions – as long as they obeyed the 613 Mitzvot – the 613 commandments of the Old Testament. Unfortunately, without Grace to protect you, no-one can even follow the basic 10 Commandments, much less all 613!

Many non-born-again-Christians today believe that if they are "good" (a definition would be interesting!) then they would go to Heaven. I believe they are thinking about the Santa Claus "naughty or nice" list. However, as we have already ascertained, God is not a type of "Santa Claus" because that does not require faith, only blind obedience.


“So placing your faith in just doing good will not help you get into Heaven”

Of course none of us are good enough to achieve salvation through our good works, and even someone like Mother Theresa does not automatically go to Heaven because he or she was a "good person" or that they did "good things".

That's a bit scary because if we can't earn our way into Heaven by being good, then how do we get there?

I believe we get there by exercising and growing our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me".

So placing your faith in just doing good – or placing your faith in Allah, or Buddha, or Confucius – will not help you get into Heaven.

While you might get to Heaven by just accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the chances are that if you don't exercise your faith it will wither and die, along with your likelihood of Salvation.

And your faith can die! As Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (See also Matthew 24:13; 10:22; Mark 13:13; Acts 14:21-22; Hebrews 3:5-6, 14; Hebrews 12:1-3; etc.)

To put it another way, the seed that God planted in you at birth needs to be watered and fed. As someone once said: "We are born with faith, we learn cynicism".

Faith is not based on our own knowledge or experience. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see".

We have faith that the universe is huge, we have faith that mathematical theorems are accurate, we have faith that doctors know what they are talking about and what is best for us, we have faith that there was a king of England known as Henry VIII, we have faith that Julius Caesar was murdered by his best friend, Brutus, we have faith that man has stood on the Moon – in fact, we have faith in many things we have no direct knowledge about.

Some things are important to believe by faith, others require cynicism. How you choose will decide many things, the most important thing to hold by faith is that God is real, and that we are saved by the Grace of the Lord Jesus!

Does it matter who killed Julius Caesar? Does it really matter if man actually walked on the Moon and it wasn't a NASA scam? No. It doesn't.

What does matter is that we place our faith in the Bible as the Word of God, in the resurrection of Jesus, and the promise of eternity.

These are the important matters of faith. Like a seed, that faith must be watered and grown throughout our lives.

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I pray you have found this article interesting and I would be pleased to read any comments you may have. However, my workload is such that I may not be able to respond to all mail. Address any comments to Graham Pockett.

 


Graham’s Christian writing:
"Graham Pockett doesn't mince any words, but he writes with a kind heart. If you have questions about such things as "once saved, always saved", or why so many different ideas can come from the same scripture, or how much what we see and do affects us as spiritual beings, you'll find much to think about here."  from This Christian Life
Graham Pockett
Download these articles:
GrahamsWriting.zip
  • The Key To Heaven  (an analogy about commitment)
  • I Am A Cynic; Therefore I Am A Christian
  • Evolution – a statistical question mark?
  • “Once Saved Always Saved” – a dangerous delusion?
  • Who is my Neighbor? – featuring "The Parable of the Good Muslim"
  • Bashing The Bible – misusing & abusing Scripture
  • Two Billion Doctrines – the strange religion called Christianity
  • Does God Ever Change His Mind? – Calvin would turn in his grave!
  • New Wine In An Old Skin – the problem of legalism in the church today
  • Are You Hard Boiled, Or Soft & Runny? – doctrines are like an egg shell
  • The Bible is an "iffy" book – a look at the conditional promises of God
  • Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up? – what did Jesus really look like?
  • The Truth Will Set You Free! – the Holy Tarantula???
  • Growing the Seed of Faith – so it doesn't wither and die
  • We Don't See The Clean, Just The Dirt – judgement and forgiveness
  • Why I Quote The NIV Bible – is it an heretical Bible?
  • "Omissions" from the NIV Bible – a look at 17 missing verses
  • Do You Believe In Miracles? – you do when they happen to you!
  • “Why Didn’t God Answer My Prayer For A Miracle?” – my response
  • Christian Concepts – the cavern of life  (an analogy)
  • Christian Concepts – the three crosses  (an analogy)
  • Christian Concepts – we are what we eat
  • Christian Concepts – when are we saved?  (an analogy)
  • Christian Concepts – when we are saved, part 1  ...part 2


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    © Graham Pockett
    Last Updated: Saturday, June 10, 2017