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Common Faith
Do not think that I am an extraordinary believer, having privileges above any other of God's dear children. Give it a try! Stand still in the hour of trial, and you will see the help of God.

But there is so often a forsaking of the ways of the Lord in the hour of trial, and thus the means whereby our faith may be increased, are lost. You ask, "How may I, a true believer, have my faith strengthened?" Here is the answer: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning" (James 1:17).

As the increase of faith is a good gift, it must come from God. Therefore, He ought to be asked for this blessing, utilizing the following means:

1. Studying God's Word. Carefully read the Word of God and meditate on it. Through this, the believer sees more and more what a kind, loving, gracious and faithful God He is. Therefore, whatever the circumstance, he will rest upon the ability of God to help him, because he has seen instance upon instance in the Holy Scriptures in which His power and wisdom have been exercised in helping and delivering His people. And the consideration of this will lead us with a measure of confidence to rely upon Him.

2. Keeping a pure heart. With reference to the growth of every grace of the Spirit, it is of the utmost importance that we seek to maintain an upright heart and a good conscience. Therefore, we should not knowingly indulge in those things that are contrary to the mind of God.

How can I continue to ask with faith in God concerning anything if I am habitually grieving Him and seeking to detract from the glory and honor of Him in whom I profess to trust and depend? If I cannot trust in God because of a guilty conscience, then my faith is weakened by that instance of distrust. For with every fresh trial, faith either increases by my trusting God and receiving His help, or it decreases by my not trusting Him.

3. Embracing trials. If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried and strengthened. In our natural state, we dislike dealing with God alone.

Through our natural alienation from God, we shrink from Him and from eternal realities. Even as believers, we have the same shrinking from standing with God alone and from depending upon Him alone. Yet this is the very position in which we ought to be if we wish our faith to be strengthened.

Every fresh instance in which He helps and delivers me will tend to increase my faith. On this account, a believer should not shrink from situations, positions, or circumstances in which his faith may be tried. Instead, he should cheerfully embrace them as opportunities in which to see the hand of God stretched out on his behalf to help and deliver him, and whereby he may thus have his faith strengthened.

4. Letting God be God. The last important point for the strengthening of our faith is that we let God work for us when the hour of the trial of faith comes, and do not try to work a deliverance of our own. Wherever God has given faith, it has been given, among other reasons, for the very purpose of being tried.

However weak our faith may be, God will try it gently, gradually and patiently. At first our faith will be tried very little in comparison with what it may be afterward, for God never lays more upon us than He is willing to enable us to bear (1 Cor. 10:13).

When the trial of faith comes, we would rather achieve a deliverance of our own somehow or other than simply look to God and wait for His help. But if we do not patiently wait for God's help, then at the next trial of our faith, it will be the same as before. We will once again be inclined to try to deliver ourselves.

Thus, with every fresh instance of this kind, our faith will decrease. But on the contrary, if we were to "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord" (2 Chr. 20:17) and trust in Him alone, then our faith would be increased. If the believer, therefore, would have his faith strengthened, he must especially give time to God, who tries his faith in order to prove to His child, in the end, how willing He is to help and deliver him, the moment it is good for him.

Read a companion devotional.

George Müller (1805-1898) founded five Christian orphanages in England that, in his lifetime, accommodated more than 10,000 children. Revolutionary in their day, these orphanages met the high standard of ensuring that each child would be dressed well and receive an in-house education during their stay.

Many claimed that nearby factories were unable to obtain enough workers because of Müller's efforts in securing apprenticeships and positions for the children old enough to leave the orphanage.

Müller was converted at the age of 20 from a life of burglary and gambling. While his mother was dying, he, at 14 years of age, was playing cards with friends and drinking. Two years later, Müller was sent to prison for running up bills at an expensive hotel and trying to escape without paying them.

Never comfortable with soliciting funds for these orphanages, Müller trusted that the Lord would supply the need. He would often receive donations of food shortly before they were needed to feed the children.

Müller refused to take a specific salary for his ministry. At the age of 70, he began a 17-year period of missionary travel, spending the remainder of his life ministering throughout more than 40 countries around the world.

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