How to Increase Faith pt 3
Before we go forth and begin to increase in faith, it is imperative that we ground ourselves in that which is more important than faith.
Our minds have begun to become expanded with the possibility that anything can happen with God, but we need to understand the basis for faith before we apply our faith. This scripture contains a soft warning, even if you believe that all is possible with God, the sick healed, the lame walk, the dead rise, everything that scripture tells us about the power of God, but have no love, we are nothing.
Let’s ask the question we asked last time:
Do you believe God loves you?
Do you believe God loves others?
and now let’s ask this question:
What is love? What is charity?
The word ‘charity,’ is agape in the Greek. The English language is poor at describing spiritual things, especially when it comes to love. We use the same word to describe the emotion we feel for our grandmother, our friends, school yard crushes, spouses, puppy dogs, doing an activity we enjoy and cookies. To say that we ‘love’ all of these things equally or, in the same way and manner is a gross misunderstanding, yet we colloquially agree that this one word is excellent for all manners of ‘love.’
In the Greek language there are four types of love that are addressed in the Bible. CS Lewis goes into depth in his book The Four Loves. Which I highly recommend.
The four loves are as follows:
Storge is the love and affection one has, a natural sort of empathy. This is used for relationships within family, nationalism falls under this category, as well as the love one feels for a sports team.
Philia is an affectionate regard between equals. This is often described as loyalty for family, community, and is comparable to the enjoyment for participating in a well loved activity.
Eros is a love that is an intimate, sexual type of love one feels for another person.
Agape is known as divine love, with Strong’s concordance defining it as benevolence, good will, esteem and in plurality, meaning a love feast. In reference to spiritual matters, it is what God prefers.
It is this last love, agape, that is referenced throughout 1 Corinthians 13, and what is the greatest thing that we have in Christ.
We know that love/charity suffers long, is kind, does not envy, does not boast or brag, is not arrogant or proud, does not act inappropriately, does not seek themselves, is not easily provoked to anger, keeps no record of wrongs, does not rejoice with unrighteousness but rejoices with the truth. Love/charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love/charity never fails.
If you have faith, but you do not love, or do not know love, it is possible that your faith is misapplied, that your faith will prove you to be nothing.
This is a hard word for many people.
It is easier to dismiss those who stand in faith and nothing comes about of their faith. To say that it wasn’t God’s will, or if God truly was love, why did this or that happen? Why is there disease? Why is there pain? Why is there suffering? Why did it not work for me? There were a hundred people praying and still the person we know suffered! God must not be doing what he did back then!
Do you know God?
If the answer is yes, then I must ask one question, “How well do you know God?”
Let us return to John 3:16 and examine further.
For God so loved (agape) the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Also, let us look at John 14:6-7
The only way that we enter into a relationship with our creator, our eternal father, is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way.
Again, look further in John 14:8-14.
Jesus had/has an intimate relationship with the Father. Without that relationship, without that love, without knowing that the reason for every bit of faith, hope and love that he exhibited during his time on earth was meant for the glorification of God, Jesus would have been nothing.
Let us begin to think of what relationship Jesus had with God, and that He desired that for us as well.
This time, let us think on love in the sense of Agape. What it means for God to love us in this way, for us to love this way. For us to love God this way.
Often we think of loving our neighbor like this, but do we approach God in the same way when we pray?
Do we spend time listening to His voice?
Do we spend time going about the day doing our own thing, or do we spend it in time dwelling upon our God and His will?
Are we assuming to know His will or do we do His will because we know Him?
If we truly love Him, how much time do we spend with Him each day?
Let us discuss what it means to love our friends and family or a betrothed or spouse.
If you tell all people you love your husband or wife, but spend very little time at home with them or doing things with them, we must ask the question, is that truly love?
With faith there is action, with love there is sacrifice.
What do we have?
What do we do with what we have?
How is this reflected in 1 Corinthians 13 towards others? towards God?
Let us discuss what this love looks like towards God and spend time listening.