“….and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
I Timothy 6:11b
Pursue faith? How can we possibly pursue faith? Isn’t it either there or it’s not? Don’t we either have it or we don’t? Romans 12:3c tells us that God has given each of us a ‘measure of faith.’ And, in Luke 17:5, ‘The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
Since the Word says we’re given a measure of it, the apostles asked the Lord to increase their faith, and then we are told to pursue it, isn’t this a conflict? I think not. I believe the distinctions are clear.
We have been given a certain measure of faith. It’s built in. Too often I believe we get wrapped up in trying to measure the measure. Does my measure match your measure? II Corinthians 10:12b addresses those who measure and compare themselves with themselves, saying they are not wise in doing so.
Initially we start out with a certain amount of God given faith. As trials and tests of life envelop us, we have a choice to continue trusting our Lord, and believing His Word, regardless of our circumstances. It is during these times that our determination to trust Him in spite of everything, grows our faith. This determination becomes the pursuit and the ultimate payoff is a deeper, richer, closer relationship with our Lord.
The second chapter of James talks about the combination of faith and works. And it is work, hard work, at times, the hardest part of which is the persevering. And, as we perseveringly pursue, the Lord grows our faith. It’s teamwork. God will not do our part for us. But as we refuse to give up and we fight the fight to stay focused on Him and His way, He gives us the strength to continue.
Through this process, He brings us to the place where doors are opened with solutions that are tailor made, just for us. More often than not, they come from the least likely and most unexpected avenues. They warm our hearts and spirits as though He, our Father, had picked us up and given us a big hug. It brings with it an emotional and mental peace and rest. We know we are loved, in spite of what circumstances and our minds tried to dictate.
Because of the individual, personal attention we received, we know beyond any shadow of a doubt at that moment that not only do we matter, but we aren’t lumped in with a bunch of others and given a one size fits all answer. Since we are special to Him as individuals, we receive individual consideration to the smallest of details. Only He knows our heart of hearts and what our needs truly are. When we know that only He could know what we often don’t acknowledge even to ourselves, we are assured His dealings with us are personal.
And our faith grows. It’s not faith in faith, but faith in His character and of all that He is. We are strengthened, deepened and find ourselves more in love with Him than ever. And all the struggles were worth the outcome that could not have happened any way other than that which led us there.