Examine your Faith
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” (II Corinthians 13:5)
Paul, the apostle, writes these words to the believers in Corinth, not unbelievers. It is thus evident that the message is so significant and addressed to the children of God. We need to continuously examine our faith to keep it aligned to the word of God.
When the disciples ask Jesus how to increase their faith, Jesus does not give a direct answer. But he answered by living the genuine faith. (Luke 17:5) There is no instant trick or panacea to increase someone’s faith. It can only be measured as we go through the various struggles, tests and trials. There are no short cuts to the genuine Christian faith.
Building Our Faith
Like we build our muscles by going to the gym, we also need to use the trials and tests of life to build our faith and make it stronger. If we need to grow in our relationship with God, we need to apply building of our faith in our practical lives.
In 2 Timothy, 1:12 Paul reflects : “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”
As against the above, look at another type of prayer. Genesis 28:20. Here Joseph is putting forward conditions to God. Even though God has assured him that he will be there till the end of the age, Joseph wants God to take his conditions to prove the point! People may think that once we come to Christian life, everything will be a garden path life. No!
In Job, 7:17, we read: “What is man, that you should exalt him, that you should set your heart on him. That you should visit him every morning. And test him every moment?”
There is false prophesying and false teaching. We need to discern both these. Today there are so many channels that are spreading so many messages of all kinds. teachings. We need to discern. Many prophetic statements are said from the prophet’s own imagination to cheer up the mood of the congregation..
A common verse which is often quoted out of context is Jeremiah 29:11. Israel was in captivity in Babylon and many prophets had predicted that they will see freedom and a ‘prosperous future’. But in Jeremiah, 23:16, God is saying that the prophetic message is not from him.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”.(Isaiah, 55:8-9)
Waiting and Working
Believing in God’s voice is what faith is all about. So, we need to wait upon God.
But during the time of waiting, go about working. Build your home, keep the family fire burning, pray for the cities where God has taken you, keep the endurance.
God’s Plan and Purpose
God took the Israelites through the longer route for 40 years. He had a purpose and a plan. He wanted them to learn a lesson in humility and transform their character and way of life. God allows trials and tests to build our genuine faith. Paul shows to Timothy, how Joseph had to go through a process to deliver his brothers and families. It is also this thought that we read in Psalm 23. ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, your rod and your staff comfort me’.
Going Through is Important
In all these situations we do not settle down. We move on. So instead of crying ‘I do not know what is happening, or I do not know what to do, ask God to help you go through what you are going through. Recently we saw how God took us through a time of trial during Corona. He takes us through according to his plan. Psalm 11:5 also supports this thought.
Confront the Test
In James 1:2, we understand, ‘when trials and tests come like intruders, do not shoot or kill the intruders. But receive them as friends. During the process of trials and testing, ask God how to confront the test. God will guide you. He will help you forgive all men, for all wisdom from above. Romans 8:29, 2 Peter 2:4, Hebrews, 12:10 all these verses show us how can mature to be like the Son of God. It is no easy walk. But when we do thanksgiving and praise, we acknowledge his doing in our lives and accept his will.
Praise God Throughout
Abraham praised God even before the blessing came. Silas and Peter started singing in the prison even before they were set free from there. Elisha prayed to God for his servant’s eyes to be opened and God did exactly that! Trust in the Lord and keep the genuine faith. He who took care of you so far will take you forward as well. Through all the trying times, praise God. He will mature us and strengthen our inner man with genuine faith. And that is what he will enable us to pass on as a legacy to the next generation.