Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Growing Awareness

“Lord, increase our faith!”

What does it mean to have the Lord grow our faith? It means to experience a Divinely inspired increase in our personal awareness of God’s generous disposition and loving activity toward all mankind.

Many believe that to grow in faith simply means having an increased awareness that God is generous toward those of us who believe in Him. This is too limited in its scope. To grow in faith is to become aware that God is generous toward all men and we should be, too.

In other words, God is on His own “side”. He is not just on our side. He is not just interested in those who cooperate with Him. He is interested in love as the universal reality that must come to all. He is not against human beings. He is for His love defining everything and everyone. He increases our faith so we can join Him in His love for all.

We can hear God’s love in Jesus’ words.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Jesus’ words in Matthew 5: 43-48

Jesus’ presence, behavior and teaching were man’s first perfect opportunity to see and hear what God’s love looks like in human form. Jesus said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” John 14:9

Jesus’ life inspired his disciples to expand their awareness of God’s love. His every word and action challenged everyone’s awareness of God’s goodness and love toward mankind. His words and actions still inspire our faith to grow.

In one such moment of Jesus increasing his disciples faith in God’s commitment to love Peter and Jesus have this exchange in Matthew 18: 21-22

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

When Jesus told Peter to forgive 70 X 7, Peter lacked a deep enough awareness of God’s commitment to loving others to absorb such a view and behavior toward others. Jesus did not lack this awareness. He knew the heart of His Father and He was cooperating with the will of His loving father at all times and toward all men.

Growing our faith is truly a work of God’s grace and patience with us. The same love God expects of us toward others is the love that patiently grows our faith in God’s love.

When we pray, “Lord, increase our faith.” we are inviting God to take us right into the heart of why Jesus came. Jesus came to return humanity to a complete awareness and practice of God’ infinite love.

When God increases our faith He increases our love. His love needs no increasing but our love certainly does. Let Him increase your faith in Him and your love will grow toward others.

Bud McCord
Abide International

1 comment:

Eva said...

Thanks for posting this. It really applies to what God has been teaching me about the boundless love of God. I have been learning that in order to really love others like Christ does, we must first see ourselves the way that Christ does. When we start to really see and admit our own sinfulness, then the sin of others is a little easier to forgive.