"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28 NIV).
Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about having faith. We discussed several ways to apply our faith, including finding the right people to be in close fellowship with and finding our purpose. When questioned about how I could be so sure that God would help me find close connections and my purpose, my response was, “I have faith.” According to the Oxford dictionary, one of the definitions of faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
In Mark 11:23 (NIV), Jesus tells the disciples, “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart, but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” In context, Jesus had been hungry and cursed a fig tree for not having any fruit. In other words, the tree had the potential to produce fruit, and Jesus had faith that the tree could produce fruit. Yet, the tree didn't produce what it’d been designed to grow by the creator.
The lesson I learned from Mark 11:23 was that it is not enough to say we believe something will happen, but we must trust God that He will make it so. In the conversation with my friend regarding faith, I gave an example of faith by describing how God called me to work with youth. It was the first time I had declared it and believed it. After I said it aloud, things started to happen for me to push me back in the direction of my purpose. I was called in for an interview for a teaching position at a childcare facility. Subsequently, I was offered the job the next day. As I began my training, I was offered a lead teacher position instead. I’m learning it’s not enough to ask God for things; I must also trust that the seeds of faith he planted in me will grow as I do my part to flourish.
Going back to the conversation with my friend, I know I can’t make anyone believe in God. But what I can do is plant the seeds of faith. It’s up to the individual to grow in Christ or not. The scripture in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 gives us a good illustration of this point: What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building (NIV).
The bottom line is that it’s not our job to convince friends to believe in God. We’re supposed to plant the seeds, use our faith, and let God do the growth in others.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your presence in my life. Thank you for putting me in a position to realize the amount of faith I have in You. I ask that you bless all those struggling with challenges and a lack of faith in their lives. Show me how to nurture relationships with others so I can have an opportunity to sow seeds of faith, and you can reap the harvest of believers. In your son Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Your turn: Do you have a faith story to share? What are ways your faith is challenged? Please share! We’d love to hear from you.