Sunday, March 25, 2012

How to increase your faith

Extract from the article "The meaning of Faith" written in 1936 by Dr. Charles S. Price

It must not be forgotten that while the quality of faith might not be changed, it is certainly possible in the economy of God to increase the quantity.
The reason that the quality of faith cannot be changed is because it is one thing that allows no alloy. Faith mixed with doubt ceases to be faith, and when impregnated by fear very soon loses its potency.

There may be a great many doubts and fears in the human life, but when a man cries out to God in the midst of them, there is faith--some faith, at any rate--endeavoring to reach through. You cannot mingle and merge faith and doubt any more than you can dissolve oil and water. They refuse to cling to each other; one of them will predominate; one or the other is certain to gain the mastery.

The little faith you have today will become the greater faith that will dispel doubt tomorrow if you use it, and refuse to be separated from it. Faith has to be the stronger because God is the author of faith, and the devil and yourself are the authors of doubt and fear. We know that God is stronger than the frailties of humanity and that He is more powerful than all the forces of hell and the devil!

The only way in which faith can grow is to develop it by use. This is a fundamental law in God's economy for the development and growth of spiritual life.
Take for instance, walking in the light. A man cannot walk in the light unless he has contacted the revealed will of God. It might come to him through the voice of the Spirit-- understanding through hearing some Holy Ghost sermon--or the unfolding of the riches of the divine Word. To walk in obedience according to the revealed will of God is what we mean when we say that we are walking in the light.

It is generally acknowledged that some men have more light than others. The reason that they have become the recipients of more light is because they have learned the lesson of walking in all the light of the present, so that more light might be given them in the future. 
If a man refuses to walk in the light today he will discover that tomorrow will be growing dark. If a man will walk in all the light he has today, he will find he will have more light in which to walk tomorrow.

Man must always cooperate with God in the development of his Christian character and in the enrichment of his experience. Light is light in essence and in quality, whether it is great or small. The quantity of faith and the power of it can be increased with each succeeding day.
So it is with faith. To be possessed with an ever-increasing faith one must make constant use of the faith that they have. It is not enough to sit idly by--rocking in a rocking chair, or even supplicating on one's knees for more faith. To use the faith you have will honor the Lord Himself and necessitate your keeping very close to God.

It is far better to cry out when doubts and fears are battling what little faith you have, “Lord, I believe, but help Thou mine unbelief.” You remember the man in the Bible who said that. There was faith there--not very much, it is true--but still it was there. There was also unbelief there. Unbelief that the man despised, hated, and did not want--but it was still there.
He might have quit and wrung his hands in abject misery and said, “It is no use.” Had he done so he would have been defeated. There never would have come to him the victory that must have made him shout for joy when he beheld the power of the Lord. Instead, while acknowledging a load of unbelief he exclaimed, “Faith, get to work. Little faith, get hold of God. Little faith, hear His voice. Reach out and touch Him. Do not let Him go.

Little faith becomes great faith when he commences to use his muscles. Never forget that faith is imparted for a purpose, and refusal to use it for the purpose for which it is given will mean that it will be withdrawn. The man who has lost faith has lost it because he refused to use it.
Like a coward he may blame it upon environment, or upon circumstances. Sometimes I have known men to blame it upon heredity. But Christ is greater than environment--more than a match for every circumstance. Even the chains of heredity are broken by the God of the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

The man who cries around that he has lost his faith has nobody but himself to blame. Remember that God never expects the impossible from any man, and never demands more than a man's capabilities will allow him to render. He will not suffer us to be tempted, or as the Greek says “tested more than we are able to bear.” There might not be 50 avenues of escape, but the promise of the Lord is that there will always be one.

To the dear people, who through lack of understanding have been sitting around for years waiting for “sufficient faith,” I would say without hesitation, “Use the faith you have.” It might not be very big, but remember that a little David killed a big Goliath. A little stone of faith from the brook of God's flowing grace can do more than a broadsword of the finest steel forged on the anvils of hell. A little boy carrying a dinner pail with some faith in his heart can accomplish more for God than a whole army who pattern their armor after the fashion of Saul.

How do you know that your faith is not sufficient? Have you tried to find out? What if it does not bring you the answer in as quick a time as your prayer ascended to God? Has it ever occurred to you that if God always answered as quickly as you asked, that your faith would have so little exercise it would never have a chance to grow? You may feel a little pained at the delay, but perhaps they will be growing pains. Keep on keeping on, and you will feel better by and by.
The Word of the Lord is the pasture in which faith can feed and grow. Faith comes through the Word and it grows and increases by feeding upon the Word. The effect of many a good sermon has been lost and has not acted as an inspiration to faith because people have refused to eat the food of the Word. That assimilated word might have produced faith.

We get too busy with the affairs of the world. Home life and numerous problems manifest themselves and we find very little time for the study of the Word of the Lord. I told you in a preceding chapter that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of the Lord. To spend a lot of time on our knees praying for faith will not do us much good unless we also go to the place of nourishment--the Word of God. A man would be foolish to pray for physical strength if he did not give some attention to his diet, but insisted on living on nothing but ice cream and pastry.

Reading the Word also brings you in direct and vital contact with the promises of God. The heart becomes persuaded that the promises are true. The Holy Spirit commences to impart faith and the manifestation and exercise of faith makes the promise real.

Reading the Word of God necessarily means that we keep our eyes constantly upon Jesus. How many Christians make the mistake of living on the experiences of yesterday. Even a minute can make a difference; Peter found that out while walking on the sea.

The grace of yesterday will not suffice for the problems of today. The power by which we overcame in the days gone by is not the power that is used in obtaining the victory of tomorrow. The stream of water flows fast--your faith is gone. The water that rippled over the pebbles at the bottom of your yesterday is today lost in the vastness of the sea. God's grace is not a stagnant lake. It is a flowing river. The man that David declared was God's blessed man was the man who was like a tree planted by the rivers of water who would give forth fruit in his season.

It is a very common but pernicious habit to excuse our lack of victory today by the testimony of the triumphs of yesterday. There should be an increase of faith, an increase of spiritual power, a deepening of the experience, and a multiplying or an enrichment of Christian virtues in the human life.

I know the storm clouds lower; I know the problems arise; I know that circumstances harass; I know that the environment is sometimes conducive to fear--but lift up your head, 0 child of God. Wait not for an army of soldiers of faith to march across the fields of your life; use what faith you have. Shout the victory even though the noise of the storm seems to drown your voice and throw it back in your face. The Christ that heard the cries of the man on the Jericho road above the din and noise of the throng has not lost His power to hear. He hears that cry.
You will stand some day in wonderment at the impregnability of the divine Word and the immutability of the eternal promises of God. God cannot lie--God will not withdraw His oath--God will vindicate His Word; and no power on earth or in hell can prevent Him from obeying and fulfilling His own promises.

The best way to increase your faith is to use what faith you have. 

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