Faith for Dummies

   Reading a devotional this evening got me to thinking about faith.  One familiar verse about faith refers to the mustard seed.  Jesus said,  ...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, "Move from here to there" and it will move. When people quote this verse, their attention is usually drawn to the size of our faith.  Jesus himself pointed to that by using the adjective small.
  Tonight, my thoughts are drawn to, not the size of the seed, but the comparison of faith to a seed.  Where do seeds naturally occur?  Generally, they are contained in fruit.  What fruit does the Bible mention?  The fruit of the Spirit, of course.
  It is true that the Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, but the word of God is all about the fruit of the Spirit, or lack of it.  Let's think of some examples.  How about Daniel in the lion's den.  Daniel believed God could deliver him; that's faith.  But out of what fruit did that faith grow?  I believe we could say it grew out of love.  Daniel loved God enough that whether He delivered him or not, he was not going to waver in his profession.  His faith was enveloped by love, just as a peach envelopes a peach stone.
   When I think of joy, I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  When she found out that she was going to birth the Messiah, she said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord."  She was joyful in the news, and out of that joy sprang faith; faith to believe that she, a virgin, could concieve and bring forth a son without the aid of a man.
   Jesus was the ultimate example of peace.  For the Bible says,"who , when reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered threatened not."  It takes faith to keep silent in the face of ridicule, criticism, or threats.  One has to believe that God will avenge, otherwise, we take matters into our own hands.
  The story of the prodigal son reminds me of patience.  The father watched and waited for his son's return.  Had he not had faith in his return, there would have been no watching and waiting.  Either he would have turned his back on his son and acted like he was dead, or like Joseph's father, he would have intended to go to his grave sorrowing.
  Ruth portrays kindness.  Boaz said so.  She could have chosen a young man, "whether poor or rich", but instead, she chose Boaz.  Her faith allowed her to be joined to the people of God.
  Dorcas is a wonderful example of goodness.  While she lay dead, all the widows wept, showing the tunics and garments she had made them.  As a result, she was raised from the dead by Peter.  Her goodness was the catalyst for a miracle.
  I think of Job.  In the midst of terrible suffering, he remained faithful to God.  Henceforth, he has been set forth as an example for all to see what happens to the man or woman, who, in faith, does not let go of his God. Faithfulness brought about not only restoration, but abundant blessing.
  Paul speaks of himself, Silvanus and Timothy when he says, "But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children."  Indeed, his letters to the churches demonstrate his loving care and concern for them, and show that even while in prison, his concern was more for them and their faith walk than it was for himself.
  Finally, there is self control.  The award goes to Joseph, a young man in his prime who refuses to give into the seduction of Potiphar's wife.  And why, you ask?  Primarily because of his relation to a God he didn't want to offend.  His faith made him strong enough to withstand her advances.
  Faith does not work in the fertile soil of hatred, depression, agitation, meanness, evil, unfaithfulness, harhness, or rashness. It is always accompanied by the fruit of the Spirit.  Faith is not twisting God's arm to get our own way.  "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
  Reviewing these stories, it is obvious that every one of these Bible characters pleased God through their faith, which was demonstrated in a variety of ways.  Notice the rewards.


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