Faith is not a prayer point, it is not something we plead for but something we grow in. The beautiful thing is that all that is required for a believer to grow in faith is already inside of the believer.
When a new baby is born into the world, he or she comes into the world complete but not grown. It’s that same little body that will grow someday into an adult when properly taken care of and fed well. There wouldn’t be a change of hands, legs, face and so on. All that is required of a baby to become a man is already inside of the baby.
The parents of the baby have a responsibility, to nurture the baby and ensure he grow into what they want him to become. This is how our lives are as believers. On the day of the new birth, all that is required of our spiritual growth was deposited inside of us.
The Local Assembly
This is why a believer shouldn’t joke with the local assembly. The local assembly is the assembly of believers in a given area with an oversight of elders who have been raised for that purpose and who will in turn raise others. These elders, especially those who labour in the word are responsible for the growth of believers. These elders consist of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and teachers. Not that they themselves are without teachers but they have been groomed over time for a time like this of which they are also grooming you. The Bible says:
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” – Ephesians 4:11-12 NIV
You see, the Body of Christ is complete in itself but growth is in progress as long as this earth lasts. The local assembly is God’s wisdom in sustaining believers in steadfastness. Haven’t you noticed? When believers begin to withdraw from the local assembly, they begin to do terribly poor and this is because they aren’t feeding well. Growth must be intentional and to be well fed, nutritious food can only be said to be nutritious when balanced and served in due time.
Personal Fellowship With God
To be committed to a local assembly and even put all our lives into the existence of same isn’t all there is to spiritual growth. We have seen lots of believers who spent years in constant fellowship but know and live so little of what God has ordained them for. Not because the elders aren’t labouring over them but because they are lacking in their own personal commitment to their growth.
This is why it’s common to see believers running around seeking who to pray for them and who to act as a seer and tell them the steps to take. Such is a clear indication that they aren’t committed to their own growth. They are in the local assembly for what it is, they are fulfilling all righteousness but they are wavering in committing personal times to study, prayers and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. There are realms a believer can never get to when he isn’t committed to personal fellowship with God. There are things a believer will never know when he isn’t committed to labouring over himself in the word of God.
God gave every man the gift of choice and this means an instructor can only instruct but it takes choice to practice. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 NIV
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
There are keywords I’d like us to get from this verse. It is the duty of the parents to start off the children, it is the duty of the children to go. When these children are of age to make decisions, it is entirely their choice if they want to continue in that path or not. Hence the Bible uses the word “…will not turn from it.” They have been given the chance to choose the right path, they’ve been made to walk this right path but it’s entirely up to them if they want to continue or not.
Another way to understand this is that parents point their kids towards the right direction. There is always the higher probability that they will continue in the right direction but should they continue? It’s their choice. This is how it is in the local assembly. The believer must be willing to stay in the place of the word of God because he is ultimately answerable to God. The Elders are meant to point believers to God and believers are meant to understand God better and be willing to enjoy fellowship with him.
After the meetings, after the group Bible Study, after the prayer meetings and choir rehearsal, the believer is supposed to set him or herself apart and give God the chance to tell them what is relevant to them as a person. This is the time to talk to God personally, it is usually the time to ask God questions, it’s the time to wait in calmness and absolute reverence of God.
Faith Is Made Strong In God’s Presence
We started off by talking about faith and how faith isn’t something to be merely desired or prayed for but something to grow in. Faith actually stirs us up to pray, we don’t pray to have faith. We have seen two strong instruments that facilitates growth in faith but these two things are summed up in one – God’s presence.
Jesus said ” For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”- Matthew 18:20 NIV
Our gatherings are graced with the manifest presence of God. This is not as though Jesus pays us a visit when we gather; we are the carriers of his presence and we come together carrying the presence of God within us and bringing it into manifestation by acknowledging his presence.
How about when we aren’t gathered? Does that mean God’s presence is only made manifest in gatherings? No! Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?” This isn’t metaphor, it is literal! Just like that! You carry God’s presence within you and you can stir it into manifestation when you stay in the place of personal fellowship with God.
How Do We Stay In Fellowship?
Many times, when we talk about waiting on God and spending time with God, people often think there are special people who only hear from God. But no! Anyone can hear from God and speak back to him. This is how faith comes, by listening and hearing the word. Let’s see what the Bible says
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” – Romans 10:17 NIV
The message about Christ is the learning of God’s word and it is in the learning of God’s word that we hear him speak! God has already given his word and as we spend time with his word, we are spending time with him. It is in the place of the word that our eyes are opened and we begin to see tremendous answers!
There is no knowledge of God outside His word. You cannot experience the reality of God to a lasting degree when you cannot stay in the place of the word of God long enough. And until we grow in faith, we may be living less of who we are in Christ. The only way to stand as victors in this world is by faith. The Bible says
“Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:4-5 MSG
What does growth in faith do, it tightens our hold on Jesus, not his hold on us. In other words, it deepens our trust and commitment to Jesus, it leaves us unshaken even in the face of the storm! Our faith is the conquering power that brings the world to its knees! But this is only possible when we keep growing in faith by listening to the word and meditating on it.
Faith Strengths Our Prayer Life
Show me a man who is consistently growing in faith and I’ll show you a man who has an understanding of what prayer is and one who engages in same to make tremendous power available. Not all prayers are prayers but all true prayers are exercises of faith, not the other way round.
We pray because we know he hears. Knowing is faith! How about those who pray wishing he hears? To wish isn’t faith, people who wish are expecting one between two things to happen but people who has faith are one-eyed, there is only one answer. It takes trust in God to be one-eyed in our approach to him. This is what the word of God does, it doesn’t just reveal the character of God to us, it also forms that character in us.
You are made stronger as you spend time in God’s presence.