How strong and good is our faith? Sometimes it can be measured by the way we act toward our brethren. Having faith not only means focusing on God, but also to view how He views personals and things. God even tests our faith through our dealings with our fellow brethren so that we understand where we stand in relation to Him. Too often Christians speak of how well they concentrate on having a relationship with God through faith while forgetting to practice faith through godly works and relationships. Faith involves exercising many things and one of them is seen in the words of the apostle Paul. “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions” (Rom. 14:1). The stronger we are in faith the more we see from divine perspective.
There is a difference between weak faith and faithlessness. Weak faith is not faithlessness. Weak faith displays less knowledge of God and of His working nature while faithlessness displays no fear of Him. If believers are able to understand this difference, they can be a strong support to the weak in faith as well as increase their own faith by a great measure. God desires the strong in faith exhibit His own qualities so that those who are weak in faith experience His presence through their compassion and care. Obviously, there will always be those weak in faith. God for a reason puts the strong around and among them so they overcome weaknesses to be like Him. The strong are also called for this purpose just as the weak are called to receive. And the strong are meant to fulfill their work by making God available to the weak.
If we are able to accept the weak and do not pass judgment on their opinions, we are wise in Christ. For the wise in Christ are already aware of the consequences and effects of those opinions as well as reasons for their existence. He who does not accept the weak is weak lacking the good knowledge and will of God. Indeed, it is a privilege and honor to accept the weak in faith, because God wants to perform a greater work through us. He has specially chosen us to do His will. But we are to be acutely careful in distinguishing between weak faith and false faith or faithlessness. God also does not appoint us for the weak until we have acquired His wisdom to make the distinction. But those who think to have been appointed by God for it will do much harm. For this reason also many false doctrines have appeared and continue to appear. If we are not careful, we ourselves will work toward bringing forth something that God loathes. So, how do we analyze and judge our faith so that we do not fail when God appoints us for the weak in faith or tests us by bringing them before us? These simple questions will help.
- Are we moved by the precepts of men? No matter what principle of man appears before us, we are not taken by it by the wisdom of truth that dwells in us. Once we have attained the wisdom God wishes in us we do not entertain false knowledge; for we cannot. Our salvation reverberating Christ’s sacrifice on the cross coupled with the purpose God called us to leads us to give understanding and true knowledge of God. Hence, Paul spoke of how ardently he strived so that the wisdom and knowledge that is in Christ is available to believers. He said, “I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument” (Col. 2:4). Then, the weak will certainly become strong.
- Do we respond from the heart? Abraham responded from his heart when he met Melchizedek; he gave Him a tenth of his entire portion. He elaborated his faith. We must be a people that respond to God with our hearts before we can deal with the weak in faith. This requires works of faith. By these works God blesses us and makes us known as His children. It was so in the case of Abraham. “But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater” (Heb. 7:7). It should be our aim to be blessed by God so that we become a blessing to others in whatever way necessary.
- What reflects our maturity in Christ? The Spirit laid a strong principle through the apostle John. “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). Practicing righteousness and love toward our brethren is our lifelong activity. One cannot do it in the flesh, but in the Spirit and the comfort of the Lord. If righteousness and love are weak, we seek to destroy that which God is working to build. One cannot be righteous before God while he or she does not practice love toward brethren. Love toward brethren, in fact, is one of the yardsticks for righteousness. And faith is proven by righteousness.
- Do we have the basis to conduct ourselves? Can our faith give us a confident conscience to fulfill the duty God appointed us? Paul and his companions found it so. And they were able to be the resource God wanted them to be. He said, “For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you” (2 Cor. 1:12). He delighted in their achievement. Faith calls for holiness, godly sincerity and grace. These give the testimony that our faith matches God’s call to accept the weak.
- Are we Christ oriented? “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you’” (John 20:21). Our faith in Jesus should help us create peace. If Christ has sent us to cause peace, it reflects on our faith. We will be workers of peace. To have peace with God denotes salvation, but to be with His peace is to be peacemakers. Christ came so that our weaknesses are removed to be a glory to God. He became our peace in order that God is kind toward us. We who are sent by Him are to reflect Him.
- How alert are we? Jesus said, “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first” (Mark 10:31). There are many reasons to end up last. Our faith must overcome them. Many remain stagnant in Christ; they do not progress from faith to faith. There is every chance of coming last, if we do not nurture our faith. We are to protect everything we had to do and received from Christ while continuing to go forward. Do not let weaknesses be obstacles for strong faith.