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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Monday, 1 September 2014

Increase Our Faith!

I believe it’s possible to hear a plea for a closer relationship with The Lord in this statement.

A healthy question as Christians we can ask at various times, can be how can I get closer to The Lord?

During our lives we may find ourselves desiring to grow in faith and deepen our relationship with The Lord – we may feel that we are living our lives as faithfully as we can, yet know we need more.

Increase our faith Lord, was a request the apostles asked of Jesus and can be found in Luke 17:5, it comes after Jesus’ exhortation for continued forgiveness and follows with the famous example of ‘faith the size of a mustard seed’ being able to bring about a miracle from God.

This post doesn’t intend to offer all possible ways in which a Christian can get closer to The Lord – only two small suggestions for you to pray and ponder about, if you feel you need to get closer to Jesus. 

I was chatting with a Christian and they spoke of such a desire…someone had said to them once that they may not get back to a close relationship with Jesus like they once had…this made me somewhat angry. 

I was shocked and annoyed that another Christian person had spoken, in my opinion, such a faithless statement…for is not our God a God of love, close personal relationship, miracles and healing?  Rather shouldn’t we as Christians have a hope that is unwavering, that if we feel distant from The Lord, we will indeed come through this wilderness, stronger and closer to The Lord than before???

It has made me ponder this dilemma which I actually believe is not so uncommon…so let’s quickly go back to ‘Increase our Faith’.

Previously the apostles are challenged to not be stumbling blocks for others seeking The Lord, and to keep forgiving & forgiving & forgiving offenders when they repent, to avoid being stumbling blocks.  As we know, the apostles respond with ‘Increase our Faith!’; for I think by this statement they acknowledge how difficult continual forgiveness is and how much humility one must need to live it.  Yet Jesus answers with, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you." (Luke 17: 1-6)

Yet we know that Jesus is love and always speaks the truth…So we should look closer for good application because Jesus didn’t respond by saying the apostles’ faith is fine, or can’t improve, or that His request is impossible.

Here are two simple ideas for you to ponder and pray about if you desire to be closer to The Lord and/or for your faith to increase (which I think can be linked)…

  • Forgiveness ~ what are you harbouring and need to ask The Lord to empower you to forgive?  I believe forgiveness begins with a decision from you, not an action by another person or a change in circumstances or by time passing.  Forgiveness for us doesn’t equate to us forgetting or automatically being reconciled to another person, for that could be unsafe.  But it does mean deciding to not let un-forgiveness keep you from being close to The Lord, or being a stumbling block for someone else connecting with Him.  Don’t underestimate the power of God to help you forgive (this is where you need believing faith) – I know I have prayed and asked The Lord to help me forgive; to acknowledge my forgiveness and to re-forgive when I realised that although I had chosen to forgive I was again harbouring resentment.  Being healed from un-forgiveness is truly a way to feel closer to The Lord and I believe will increase your faith in His awesome power.

  • Action ~ Sometimes we may want to wait for what we consider is the right time before we act to make a change in our relationship with The Lord – for example waiting until we’re closer to The Lord before forgiving someone or taking on a new way to serve Him.  Now I do believe that we need to act in God’s timing, but I don’t think we always get knowing when this is, right.  Sometimes we just need to pray, seek direction and step out of the boat like Peter did.  God doesn’t always hold up a neon sign to guide us, I have found often it’s just through a softly spoken idea.  I also think it’s okay to test out ideas – I think of Ecc 11:6 which speaks of sewing in the morning and evening for we don’t know which will succeed.  When we act upon those ideas, I have found yes it can be scary at first, but God confirms His will and I feel closer to Him, having learnt more about my relationship with Him regardless. Our faith grows when we stretch it through active obedience.

To finish I would like to remind us that relationships are two-sided.  God wants us to grow and mature in our relationship with Him and this requires us to act in faith. I would like to encourage you to pray specifically. If you need clarity on an issue – ask Him to reveal it to you, in Jesus’ Name…remember Jesus said you will be granted what you request in His Name, see John 14: 13-14 and John 16: 23-24.

Peace to you in Jesus’ Name my brothers and sisters, Melanie J


MikeConnie Brown said...

Very good Melanie. Great application and exposition of the text. Faith is a gift of God to all without partiality, and the good news is all we need is a mustard seed of it to move mountains. What I see in this passage is the apostles learned they did not need more faith, but more belief in the faith they have been given. Faith needs to be exercised to grow. God has done his part, we must take what he has given us and plant it daily to bear fruit in our lives. Thanks, I needed to be reminded of this too.

Chanda Griese said...

Forgiveness towards a person or people who hurt us does not come easy, nor do we truly understand all its implications, but if the Lord says do it, we must. It doesn't mean subjecting yourself to a dangerous, harmful, or abusive person, or letting them harm others. The person may even belong in prison for the safety of yourself and others, but hating them is not the answer. It only binds you to him/her. Forgiveness is letting God deal with the person, and it is such a relieving release when we give the hurt over to Him and forgive the person. I remember the great actor and comedian, Billy Cosby who forgave the man who murdered his son. He absolutely astounded me. That would be so hard, but I think it gave Him peace to do so. The murderer still went to prison, but I think it helped Bill Cosby to experience freedom and peace.

Melanie Baker-Nash said...

I agree with you Mike, thanks for commenting and I'm glad the post was also beneficial for you, Melanie :)

Melanie Baker-Nash said...

Absolutely agree Chanda! Thanks for the powerful example of Bill Crosby...God is the true healer and we must trust Him as the expert - even more so with the difficult and awful stuff we'd rather ignore and suppress.