04 February 2008

Thanking God for Puny Faith

I woke up today feeling weak. Not physically weak, though that often accompanies feeling incapable and unable to face the day's demands. I am talking about feeling spiritually weak. The feeling that I have great temptations and puny faith with which to resist them.

Puny faith... Jesus was speaking to me when he accused his disciples "Oh you of little faith!" Only when I read that I think, "You think their faith is puny? You should see mine!" And then of course I realize He does see my faith. He is the author and perfecter of my faith. It's not like He is unaware or I caught him not paying attention. My Lord is not wringing his hands and wondering how to get me through today. As William Bridge put it; "Our victory lies not in ourselves and our own habitual strength, but in Christ's fresh assistance."

It's sort of like the Greek philosopher Heraclitus pointed out, we can never step into the same river twice, the water is always being replaced and renewed. As believers we never depend on the yesterday's grace to get us through today's troubles. Whether our faith is puny or not, Christ's mercies to us are new every day and given to us in sufficient measure to see us through each trial and temptation. It is not that I have faith in my faith, which wrongly leads me to depend on my abilities... it is that I have faith in the sufficiency of Christ- the author and perfecter of my faith. I either believe He will will be faithful to complete the good work He began in me, or I don't. (Philippians 1:6) Even the tiniest faith in His sufficiency is faith well placed.

And so, I face today knowing that despite how it feels, today is going to be fine. Puny faith is still faith that hopes and trusts and waits on God. Puny faith says things like "I believe, help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24) Feelings are never a good indication of where you are spiritually. Never forget that Jonah slept peacefully in a boat going in the opposite direction from that which Almighty God had just told him to go. Feeling like your faith is puny isn't cause for discouragement and giving up. Puny faith isn't a reason to stop hoping, it is a reason to hope more. Puny faith gets bigger by exercising it.

Often in my life, hope has been my enemy. I hoped in the wrong things. So to exercise my faith I read Psalms 42 and 43 and then Romans 5:1-5 and Hebrews 6:17-20. They remind me of the blessings that are mine in Christ... and in light of those blessings, today is going to be just fine.

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