Growing Your Faith

I planted a flower-pot last year with geraniums to have on my front step to enjoy all summer long.  When the frost came they were in full bloom so I decided to move them indoors and kept them all winter.  They bloomed almost all winter and when spring came this year and there was no danger of frost I placed the planter back outside.  The Nebraska winds broke off the strongest and tallest stems of the flower and so I saved them and placed them in water.  They seemed to love the water and got over the shock of being severed abruptly from the mother plant.  I have started many plants by getting a root system to develop from a stem in water but these would not develop a root system at all.  It was later when a friend of mine visited that I learned that geraniums need to be propagated by a different method.  While the leaves continued to grow and the stems looked very healthy in the water in order for them to grow I needed to place them in potting soil.  My friend suggested dipping the end of the stem in honey before planting.  I thought she was nuts!  But I looked up on the internet how to start a geranium plant from a broken stem and sure enough she was right!  So today I prepared them for planting and we shall see how they do.  So far they look healthy and happy so I hope I am on the right track now.  But this little experiment got me thinking about faith.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the people of old received their commendation.  By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.  Hebrews 11:1-3, (English Standard Version or ESV).  

The Bible gives us a great definition of what faith is, something that we hope will happen but it hasn’t happened yet nor do we see it happening.  We just have a strong belief that it will happen.  I think about being a little girl and hoping that I would get a bicycle for Christmas.  I wanted to believe that Santa would bring me one even though I had never seen Santa and was a little unsure the he really existed.  I did get a bike and I remember how getting that present seemed to help my wavering faith in Santa.  As an adult I realize that Santa was really my loving parents and now I know the truth.  We can have faith in almost anything.  For instance I have the faith that when I turn on a light switch there will be light overhead instantly.  I can’t see the electricity working but I have the faith that it will.  As adults we can have faith in things that do not help us grow.  Just like the geraniums looked healthy and happy and contented with their stem in the water we can also think that we are doing well when we believe in something other than God.  For instance some people have faith in Buddha, or Hindu gods, or Allah, or in no eternity, or in science, or in nothing.  They live contented lives for the most part.  When I meet them they are breathing and walking around and eating and laughing and appear to be contented in their belief system.  But just like my geraniums they are not growing in the true faith and they will not be capable of making it to heaven.  They won’t grow a root system that can keep them planted into eternity.  We need to be sure what our faith is in.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2, (ESV).

Jesus is the founder of Christianity and the one who perfects our faith.  We transfer our souls to Christ and begin to grow and our faith blooms and blossoms into healthy Christians.  God recognizes Christians because we believe in His Son Jesus Christ.  If we accept that Jesus is God’s Son and we live as Jesus teaches us to live then we will grow a strong root system and will be called into eternity, into heaven where Jesus is seated next to God.  But if we have faith in anything other than Jesus Christ then we are not growing in the kind of faith that develops deep roots and just like the geraniums in water we will not survive.  How can we be sure that we have true faith in Jesus and not the world’s idea of faith?

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.  For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:7-18, (ESV).

Our faith will produce results and the results won’t be riches or fame.  So many of the world’s religions are seeking wealth and fame but Christians are not seeking such things because we know they are only temporary.  We are seeking something deeper, we are developing roots that will spread and will grow in others, we are seeking something not seen and a reward the may be deferred.  The roots of deep faith make us so tough, so resilient, and so strong.  The world will hurl all it has against us to keep us silent and to harm us yet we perplex them by continuing to thrive regardless of our circumstances.  Our faith keeps us going and keeps us strong.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked.   For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.  So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.  Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.  2 Corinthians 5:1-10, (ESV).

You see we don’t have to know where we are going because God will direct our path, which is how we walk out our faith on this earth.  The Christians that have been murdered because of their faith in Jesus Christ already knew that!   They knew that the world would not understand them nor would the world want them to live.  We understand that as well, but when our earthly bodies die that is not the end of us for we go to our Father in heaven next to Jesus and the seeds of faith that we planted here on earth will continue to grow long after we are gone.  I find this exciting, don’t you?  So my warning to you all is to make certain that your faith is being rooted into the soil of the Gospel and not the water of the world.  Just like my flowers, the water made them look good but it didn’t help them to develop roots so you can look good but you have no staying power because your faith is in the wrong things.

Until next time…Katherine

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