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“Increase Our Faith!” LUKE 17:5

Look at the picture on this page. Notice the urgent and intense facial expressions and gestures of those surrounding Jesus. Who are these men? They are Christ’s very closest disciples. They are begging Jesus: “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5).

HELP WHEN YOU ARE DISCOURAGED

On days when the devil tempts you to feel frustrated, lonely, fearful of failure, and close to despair, you may also feel like crying out to Jesus: “Please, Lord, please! Increase my faith! Unless You help me, I cannot go on!”
In order for you to realize how and when God strengthens your faith, you first need to know two key things: What the Holy Spirit teaches faith IS NOT and what faith IS.

DEFINITIONS: WHAT FAITH IS NOT, AND WHAT FAITH IS

First, faith is not a “spiritual feeling” or random “religious conviction.” Faith is not your “personal commitment.”


Second, before God plants faith into your heart through the “Seed” of His Word (James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:23), you are spiritually as dead (Ephesians 2:1). However, when God brings into your heart—through your eyes and ears—the Seed of His living Word, faith results! “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).


Third, God plants faith in your heart through the Seed of His Word—with absolutely NO help or participation on your part. Faith is 100% a gift from God. You contribute 0%. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). God not only plants the Seed of faith in your heart, He also graciously “waters” and “grows” His gift of faith in your heart. It is “God who causes the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7). 


Jesus describes your desire for faith as spiritual hunger and thirst. In His desire to strengthen your faith, Jesus says to you: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). You receive the Bread and Water of life initially in your Baptism; then, each time you receive into your ears a Christ-centered sermon, Christ-centered teaching, and Absolution. You receive the Bread and Water of life to strengthen your faith each time you receive Christ’s body and blood in Holy Communion into your mouth. For this reason God urges you to never miss an opportunity for Him to strengthen your faith by going to His house of worship (Hebrews 10:25). Go frequently to His banquet hall, where He will strengthen you. Go, saying with the psalmist: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD’” (Psalm 122:1).

GOD BEGINS AND COMPLETES YOUR FAITH!

Don’t try to brag or take any credit. God begins and completes your entire faith life. “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:30–31). 

GOOD NEWS does not simply point out, on the basis of Scripture, that you play no part whatsoever in establishing faith in your heart. Using the teaching of the Holy Spirit, the coming pages of Good News offer you God’s definition of faith and show you how God fervently desires to increase and strengthen your faith.


Dear Lord Jesus, increase my faith! Help me to see that You planted the Seed of faith into the dead soil of my heart. Open my eyes of faith to “see” that You and YOU ALONE water and grow my faith through Your living Word (1 Corinthians 3:7). As far as the east is from the west, remove from my heart any and all desires to believe I play even the smallest role in establishing faith in my heart and life. If I ever boast before others about my faith, let me boast only of what You have done in me and for me! (1 Corinthians 1:30–31). 


Lord Jesus, like a man going into life-or-death surgery—a man who can contribute nothing to the operation—so I thank You that my faith, and the growing of my faith, in no way rest on me with my weaknesses and many failures. Thank You that my faith rests on Your divine and perfect work for me and in me. Praise be to Your name, O Jesus! You are the “author and perfecter of my faith” (He­brews 12:2). Amen.…
To help you further understand God’s gift of faith to you, go to the Bible Study that begins on page 38.

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