“He loves me… He loves me not…,” says the wishful little girl dreaming of Prince Charming as she plucks petals aimlessly from a quickly withering flower. (Photo via Flickr Hive Mind)
Sounds sappy, right!?! But how many of us, at one time or another, could attest to doing something similar? HaHa! Go ahead and admit it. You’re such a hopeless romantic!
Well, all cuteness aside, how many of us have done something similar with God? Rather than plucking petals from a flower, we pluck moments from our lives and analyze them. “Oh, I read my bible today! He loves me!” Or, “Oh no, I just lost it in a fit of anger. He loves me not.”
I don’t know about you, but I used to live like this. Ups and downs. Circles and cycles. All based upon my behavior. I viewed God through the lenses of my actions. For years I tried to be a good girl so I could earn God’s love and favor and blessings. The problem was I could never be good enough. I didn’t understand who I was in Christ Jesus and who God the Father was to me.
So, if you’ve ever thought like this, let’s cancel out that lie from the enemy right now! Let’s view God, not through the lenses of our actions, but through the lenses of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for us. God is the author and source of love.
GOD IS LOVE! AND WE ARE THE SUBJECT OF HIS LOVE! WE ARE HIS BELOVED!
“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” –1 John 4:9-10
We can see here that it’s not even because we love God or we’ve done something special to earn God’s love. But when we truly realize who God is, then we can know who we are. God demonstrated to us ‘no greater love’ through Jesus Christ. Jesus left the Father and the paradise of heaven to come to the earth to die, in order that we might live. There’s no greater love than this, so look no further.
Look to Jesus! He is our advocate! He intercedes on our behalf! He fights for us! And He’s coming back for His bride, His glorious church! There’s your prince! The Prince of Peace, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!
1 John 4 in verse 12 goes on to say, “His love is perfected in us.” The word perfected here means ‘made complete‘. I’m here to tell you that Jerry McGuire stole his famous line straight from the bible. You know the one… “You complete me.” And all our hearts melted and tears came to our eyes when Renee Zellweger replied with, “You had me at hello.”
Listen. God is standing at your heart’s door right now saying to you…
“My love is perfected in you. You are My Beloved. As you abide in My love, you abide in Me and I abide in you. Don’t worry about your dirty rags. My love covers a multitude of sins and I will transform your rags into a garment as white as snow. Receive and rest in My love right now as I shower it upon you, cleansing you from the inside out. My love is made complete in you.“
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world… We love, because He first loved us.” –1 John 15-19
God has allotted to each a measure of faith. –Romans 12:3
The Lord impressed upon me recently an powerful analogy of faith. He showed me faith is like a muscle in both function and development. As I began researching the muscular system and studying God’s Word about faith, I was amazed at the similarities.
God has given each of us a measure of faith. It’s up to us on what we will do with it. The same way we build guns of steel, we can build mountain-moving faith!
Do you want to know how? If so, keep on reading!!! We are going to uncover three functions of faith and discover two keys on how we can build more faith.
The primary function of all muscles is movement. Likewise, faith causes us to move.
I recently heard a message preached by Bill Johnson, the pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California, and he said prayer is removing the obstacle. Faith is going in and taking possession. You may have heard the old saying, prayer is asking for rain, but faith is carrying the umbrella. This picture shows us faith is always accompanied by action.
Muscle without movement is dead. In the same manner, faith without action is dead!
“Faith, by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead… Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” –James 2:17, 21-22
The secondary function of our muscular system is the maintenance of posture and body position. Did you know that the muscles responsible for our body’s posture have the greatest endurance of all muscles in the body? Those muscles hold us upright all day and they seldom tire or weaken.
Similarly, it is our faith that holds us steadfast at all times. Our faith grounds us like a deeply rooted tree which will not be shaken when the winds blow. Paul illustrates this perfectly in the verses below.
“Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. ” –Ephesians 4:13-14
Did you notice the call to the body of Christ to be unified in faith and that our stature belongs to the fulness of Jesus Christ? When Jesus fills our stature, nothing can shake us!!! Faith is literally our back bone!
“But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let now that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” –James 1:6-7
The final function of our muscles is the generation of body heat. When we exert ourselves more than normal, the extra muscle contractions increase our body temperature. As a result, with strenuous exercise, we sweat. We perspire in an effort to cool us down.
By the same token, our faith in the name of Jesus stirs a fire within us. It should burn in our hearts just like the prophet Jeremiah spoke of in the scripture below. Our faith should cause us to declare His name everywhere we go. To pour out the living water of Jesus that is within us.
“But if I say, ‘I will not mention His word or speak anymore in His name,’ then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” –Jeremiah 20:9
Skeletal muscle is the most adaptable tissue in the human body. Muscles grow as a result to trauma to the muscle fibers due to intense exercise or resistance training. As part of the repair process, new muscle protein strands are formed causing growth of the muscle.
Resistance is one of the two main keys to building our faith, as well. Matthew Henry, a renown bible commentator, states, “Afflictions are God’s threshing-instruments, designed to loosen us from the world, to separate between us and our chaff, and to prepare us for use.” Resistance and afflictions teach us to trust God as a good Father. It teaches us to lean on Him and not on our own understanding.
But even though resistance will come, God promises to never give us more than we can bear. Like any good personal trainer, God always proportions the resistance to our strength. It may not feel good in the moment, but our faith pushes us through and we come out much stronger than before.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance.” –James 1:2-3
Muscle growth occurs when the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. A single bout of exercise stimulates protein synthesis within 2-4 hours after the workout and may remain elevated for up to 24 hours. However, it takes weeks to months for the muscle growth to physically manifest.
Just like you can’t build guns of steel overnight, you can’t build mountain-moving faith overnight either. Building muscle requires much repetition and building faith requires much repetition. There are many scriptures throughout the Bible that support this, and I’ve listed a few of my favorites below.
“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” –Romans 10:17
“And the word of the Lord will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” –Isaiah 28:13
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” –2 Corinthians 3:18
Do you see all these repetitions? Faith grows by getting God’s Word deep within your soul. Faith grows by searching Jesus out through the scriptures and communicating with Him daily. Any serious body builder knows it takes commitment, dedication, and an established training routine to be successful. So, if you want to build mountain-moving faith, you must have a similar passion to daily seek the Lord with your whole heart.
When you seek Him with your whole heart, there you will find Him. And there He will begin building precept upon precept, truth upon truth. You see… He has to open your eyes to see and your ears to hear first. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Then He will begin opening blind eyes and deaf ears through you.
With Jesus All Things are Possible!!!
I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me!!!
I don’t know about you, but I am pressing in to Jesus with everything I’ve got! And if you want mountain-moving, miracle-working faith then I encourage you to press in to Jesus with everything you have too! How awful to hear the words, “O ye of little faith.” Let us be a people known for our GREAT faith!
Luke 17:6 says, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.” A mustard seed is tiny, tiny, tiny. Almost the size of the tip of a sharpened pencil. But did you know that the mustard seed, when planted and cultivated, grows into a big tree and ‘that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches‘? (Matthew 13:31-32) God has given us all the seed. It’s up to us on what we will do with it. Now that’s something to think about!