How to Increase Faith Part 7

 

“A sated man loathes honey, but to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet” Proverbs 27:7

How hungry are you?

How much of God do you desire?

Let’s be honest with ourselves and with God.

Do we go to church to please ourselves, to please man, or out of our relationship and love for God?

Let’s break down these positions.

Sometimes, we go to church to please man. Do we go because if we do not, we will have to answer the questions and constant badgering from mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, spouses and grandparents? What sort of position does this place us in when we participate in praise and worship?

Why do we sing? Is it because everyone else is singing? Do we sign up for things because our friends at church or the pastor expects us to do so?

Sometimes, we go to church to please ourselves. Church is a wonderful place to socialize, find friends, be involved in activities that enrich and encourage our souls. Do we go because it makes us feel good? Do we receive a certain amount of adoration from people and acceptance that makes us feel wanted and desired? Does it fill a piece that we feel is missing from our daily lives? Do we go because it reminds us how to be better versions of ourselves?

All these personal reasonings for attending church can be done apart from a personal relationship with God. In fact, if you removed Christ from the church, it would continue to work as it currently does: supporting others, being a social club for like minded people with empowering messages.

While this seems good on the surface, it is the motives that are the issue.

Do you go to church to be a better version of yourself?

Let’s consider a deeper reason for attending and participating in church.

That we engage in church as an extension of the relationship that we have with Christ.

This act, in and of itself can be challenging and stretch our faith and relationship with Christ. For we are then rubbing shoulders with people who are either there because they are there as a part of their relationship with Christ, or they are there because they are there for themselves. It is the latter that can cause us to be drained and challenged. The former can also cause us to be challenged if our motives are for ourselves.

But this is not just about attending Church, this goes beyond that.

Church should be a small portion of what our relationship looks like with God.

Even if you attended a meeting every single day of the week, sang songs, clapped your hands, had discussions about what’s in the Bible, hugged some friends,it’s the actions once you leave and are by yourself, apart from church people that matters most.

How hungry for God are you?

Do you want to get to know who created you?

Is your preference for communicating for God, or for doing things that pull you away from communicating with God?

Think of your favorite person, the person, if you could, spend 24/7 with. If you’re married, hopefully it’s your spouse, or maybe it’s a best friend.

Why do you love this person so much? Was it instant attraction, or did the friendship build over time or both?

Even by spending small amounts of time with a person most day, you get a stronger bond and connection to that person. If you were to call a person long distance, say a grandmother or a mother and talk with them for 10 – 15 minutes, your relationship would grow with that person over time.

In the same way, approach the Lord in small pieces of time. Devote ten minutes, even five minutes to spending time reading the word and in prayer.

Taste and see that the Lord is good – Psalm 34:8

You may feel at times that the Lord is not near when you are in prayer or reading the bible. It is at these times, we must put emotions aside.

This does not mean that emotions are a terrible thing, be we cannot be carried away by our emotions. If we are honest, our emotions come from two places. The internal and external. Internal emotions are peace, patience, hope, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control: all of which stem from love. Galatians 5:22-23 The second type of emotion is manipulated by what we see and hear from the external. Watching a film, hearing a musical composition, and the actions of others can cause a reaction within us. Not all of these externally motivated emotions are bad or terrible, but if we are led by the external day to day, we are nothing more than a bag floating on a wisp of wind, without an anchor to the soul. It is here that we must learn to abide in the relationship with God, despite our emotions and circumstances around us.

Sometimes, we feel God closely, as if He is present and closer than any other has been, at other times, we feel God as distant. We cannot assume that He is distant, but that we are the ones who are distant. Press forward.

Until the next time, set aside a small amount of time each day and purposefully with great intention read the word of God, or pick up a devotional book and read it alongside the bible, and be open to hearing the voice of God as you set forth in your journey. This time could be be as little as five minutes or as long as you would like, but make that time to taste the Lord and see that He is good.

 

PART 6

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