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One-a-Day...for the Heart: Green Thumb Faith

Growing a good crop of faith is necessary to deepen a relationship with the Lord. A flying leap of faith in God’s ability to save us from eternal damnation through belief in Jesus Christ plants us firmly in the Kingdom of God. It removes us from citizenship in a darkened, sin-soaked world of alienation from The Almighty. John 3:16 Jesus declares, "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

     Faith is the key that unlocks the door to God’s Kingdom. Without it, the door remains locked, and the promises of God are unobtainable. The initial faith we display by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior is the beginning of a crop of faith that matures toward the fullness of the stature of Christ with each successive act of faith. Over a lifetime of serving the Lord, that crop of faith is cultivated and tested as Father God increases our trust in Him.

    Hebrews 11:1-3 (ESV) states, 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. The MESSAGE version of the Bible breaks it down like this: The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. By faith, we see the world called into existence by God's word, what we see created by what we don't see.

     In walking with the Lord, trials, tribulations, and tests occur, and our faith is challenged. Growing a good crop of faith can be accelerated by our actions, but bear in mind that each expression of faith will cost something. We must let go of relying on our own understanding of how things should happen and grab onto the Savior’s hand as He pulls us to a new level of trusting Him. Without faith, it’s impossible to please God, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6-7).

     My friend has a green thumb for growing almost anything. I think she could grow a palm tree in the snow! I admire her knowledge and understanding of gardening and have yet to see a flop in any plant or flower in her yard. Developing a green thumb for growing faith results from reading, studying, or listening to the Word of God. Romans 10:17 states, so then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

     Without soil, a bean seed remains just a bean seed. So it is with a seed of faith. Without planting it in a nutritious bed of God’s Word, it cannot grow into a mature plant that produces fruit. Seeds must have good soil to grow into mature plants. Likewise, the seed of faith we sow by accepting Christ’s salvation needs a solid bed of soil to be nourished in the ways and truths of God. We can’t conjure up knowledge of God’s ways and truths apart from ingesting His Word.

     2 Corinthians 13:5 says, Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. On one occasion, Jesus explained an essential test of faith to the disciples. Luke 17:3-4 records the conversation like this as Jesus said, “Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”

     A tall order, eh? So, the bottom line is that we must forgive. Can you imagine feisty, strong-willed Peter swallowing that one? The only qualifying part of Jesus’ instructions on forgiveness were the words, “If he repents.” Ok, but still, the offender can offend seven times in one day—actually, elsewhere, Jesus says seventy times seven times in a day (Matthew 18:21-22), but here He gives the disciples a smaller dose of challenge.

     I can almost see the disciples leaping out of their chairs in dismay As the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you” (Luke 17:5-6). Forgiveness was clearly going to be a test of faith for them. It is a test of faith for us, as well.

     They grew green thumbs, though, and each disciple but Judas finished his race well. Each had a beautiful crop of faith grown by the time their mission on earth ended. Our crop of faith should be growing every day.

     Remarkable things happen as we grow in faith! While we examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith, consider these amazing feats accomplished by people we will meet in heaven. Their crops of faith produced astounding, supernatural things, as Paul writes in Hebrews 11:32-35 (ESV): And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel, and the prophets—who THROUGH FAITH conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

© 2024, Chris Custer Werre

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