“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
I was thrilled one day when the Lord opened wide a door in my ministry work. A door I had been convinced not only was shut, but that most assuredly I would never see open. I was so convinced, in fact, that though there had been opportunities in the past, and though one of those opportunities did in fact remain, I figured I shouldn’t even bother pursuing that avenue again. Why waste my time? Surely the door was closed. Mostly anyway. Enough that it wouldn’t be worth my time and care, not my prayers and perseverance. Oh, how wrong I was.
“Why didn’t it happen before?” I asked the Lord after He opened a door.
“Because you stopped. You wanted to quit,” I essentially heard the Spirit of God speak to my heart.
Then I heard Him effectively say: “Faith doesn’t stop because of what it sees. Faith continues.” In plain English, faith perseveres. It endures. But I hadn’t. I had stopped in my tracks. I had looked at the obstacles, moaned and groaned, whined, criticized, judged, and plunked down on my fanny and figured it best to put my foot on the brake and keep it there.
The Lord had more to say. “Faith moves forward as I lead.”
“You wanted to quit because of what you looked at.”
So true. I had looked at my obstacles. Not the Lord. Not His Word. I had looked from the standpoint of my flesh. Not from a faith-filled heart. From eyes of faith.
“Faith doesn’t look at the obstacles. Faith looks to me. Look to me. Trust me to lead you.” That’s what I in essence heard from God’s Spirit.
This was not a new lesson for me, but an old one. I needed the reminder. And His encouragement. To return my focus to Him, and His Word, and to get up off my fanny and keep walking forward. In faith. Doing exactly what He said. Trusting Him to lead me forward.
Sometimes God does want us to stop. Or turn in another direction. Or take a break. Or wait for further instructions. Or let something or someone go. Or be further prepared by Him before we carry on. But when we know it’s His Spirit leading, and we make sure it’s Him by making sure what we believe He’s telling us lines up with His Word because He only and always speaks in line with His Word, we need to persevere. To endure. In faith. Not staring at our obstacles, but looking to Him, the one whom we who follow Christ have the unfathomable privilege of living for.
How do we grow in faith? Some people quickly respond we grow in faith by experience. Certainly that’s true. But, most importantly, we grow in faith by hearing, by reading, by studying, by living by God’s Word.