The Effort of the Heart

The Bible thoroughly encourages us to increase our faith. Jesus Himself in His earthly ministry encouraged believers to increase their faith. The Spirit through the writers of the New Testament calls for believers to constantly work on their faith so that it never ceases to increase. Increasing our faith is not an easy task. It requires determination, visualization and urge. As faith grows we increase our ability to please the Lord; we obey Him more. Increased faith teaches the acute things of God. While shunning the steep temptations of Satan, it allows us to see from God’s perspective. It is for this reason the many things we consider as good, prudent, acceptable or undoable do not appear the same to others. And increased faith brings more honor and blessings of varied kind from the Lord.

So, what is increasing our faith mean? It means to understand the Lord more, to accomplish His will to us comprehensively and accurately, to become more intimate with Him, to be able to realize deep matters, to know how to hold on to some things and let go off the others and to rightly do a self assessment of us. Yet, there should be a basis for increasing our faith. It is the effort of the heart; a desire to know Christ more. The more we know Him the wiser we become than those who are already wise by earthly means. To increase our faith is to see Jesus as seen by the Father, i.e. to perceive His glory, radiance, candor and grace.

We heard the story of Zaccheus and how he desired to see the Lord. “Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature” (Luke 19:3). Many times, because of various circumstances, our inner man becomes diminutive for Christ. This is because the faith we have needs more substance to prevail while still with the knowledge of the Lord. It is asking for more and we are to supply it by doing the right things. The situations we face always seem bigger than us primarily because we are keen on the will of the Lord. Then there are the other factors such as the pressing of Satan, the acts of men and/or our weaknesses. We increase our faith by overcoming these situations, for Christ fills us. Sometimes it takes a long time, but the result will be sweeter. Regardless of our position in the Lord circumstances will come. By them we come closer to Him and His name is rewarded; He is using us. And each time we face a situation it calls us to act in any way known or possible to us. Often at such times people act on their own than acting on the desire to know the Lord. If our desire is to know Him, we act rightly and we reap fittingly; for we only make the decision that brings us closer to Him. Then we see Him as He wants and overcome our situation. This helps us attain to a greater faith.

The effort of Zaccheus teaches no lame lesson. He made the right decision for the situation he was in. As he tried, his determination, visualization and urge made him go a bit further. It was because His sole intent was to see Jesus. It shows he already had faith in Him; he knew of Him. Jesus rewarded his effort by increasing his faith in so far as giving salvation to his house. To act on the desire to know Jesus certainly requires a faith that has substance concerning Him. We do not have to worry of what comes after, for the Lord has already prepared the best and the needed for us. Many lacking such substance assume to have made the right decision and end up on the wrong end. Not only does their faith fail to grow, but it gives them a negative connotation to believing the Lord. They wind up adding more works to the decision they made so that their choice should not appear lame and redundant. We can know we made the right decision. Firstly, our faith that has Christ firmly in it determines it. Secondly, the immediate effect determines it. So, on two notes we are sure we made the right decision.

Making a decision by faith is never a tough, complex or deep one. It is as simple, but wise as Zaccheus climbing the sycamore tree. The greater and the absolute come from the Lord. Your faith in the Lord should allow you to make the right decision amidst various circumstances. And there are few ways to build a basic and yet concrete faith for it so that our faith increases.

  1. Be committed to the Lord. No matter the situation we must be committed to Him. The apostle Paul said, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13). The believers by the Spirit asked him not to enter Jerusalem fearing for his life. But Paul had a basic and concrete faith that said ‘be committed to the Lord.’ Hence, he made a simple decision. He went to Jerusalem believing the Lord to handle all his situations. All the while in Jerusalem he was protected until he reached Rome by the Lord’s word.
  2. Live for the Lord. Paul had a simple principle for it. “He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God” (Rom. 14:6). When in simple matters we live for Him, we can have a basic and yet concrete faith. In all the matters we consider small or little we must make sure we are not negligent.
  3. Choosing the right knowledge. “Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for…the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness” (Tit. 1:1). We should acquire such knowledge. Our changed hearts at the time of salvation is the perfect platform for cultivating godliness through the truth revealed from meditating on the word. The knowledge we acquire because of this gives basic and yet solid faith.
  4. Giving more importance to the spirit. We are judged by what we have been as men, but only in the flesh. Since the time we received the gospel, our inner man, the spirit, is meant to live by the will of God. So, do not worry about what has been, but rejoice in what is being and will be. “For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God” (1 Pet. 4:6). Though we ought to be dead men, by the gospel preached we live in the spirit as well. To know that we will continue to live in the spirit is basic and yet, solid faith.
  5. Having hope. “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12). Saving faith, i.e. the faith that saves us since the time we made the Lord our personal Savior, always has eternal reward at its core. Having hope in that reward gives basic and yet, concrete faith. Therefore, we act rightly.
  6. Being an example. Paul said this to the Thessalonians: “so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia” (1 Thess. 1:7). Acting on the word received regardless of circumstances allows us to be an example to many. It implies we are rejoicing in the Spirit.
Posted in 2015, Archives, RECENT ARTICLES.