Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Have you checked your faith gauge lately? From time to time we do check the fuel or water levels in the reservoir of our cars. We occasionally check the volume of air in the tyres of our cars. We carry out so many checks these days: the balance in our bank accounts, the amount of credit we have left in our mobile telephones and of course our cash power meters. Even though much of this is done electronically for us, we are still expected to keep our eyes on the needles on the dashboard of our cars or on the screens of our phones so as not to be unpleasantly surprised or embarrassed.

With that backdrop, I wonder how often we monitor our faith gauge, to ensure it has not plummeted so low to start some serious spiritual problems that will leave us stranded in our walk with God.

I am not questioning what we are prone to doing regularly that has become so automatic, like praying twice a day, limiting it to reading a devotional or saying our night prayers. Are we still unable to break our ten minute record prayer time of past years for want of not knowing what to say to God, our Father?

It is time to break from the mould of business-as-usual and begin to turn things around --- moving from the commonplace to the exceptional, from routine to breaking new ground. We are called to challenge our faith level, push it to the brim or to breaking point. To achieve this would require a resolution to take things a step further in our faith walk with the Lord. Our faith level cannot and must not stay static. Just as Jesus was willing to take Zacchaeus’ faith a step further when the latter had taken pains to go looking for Him, having heard so much about Jesus. We also must be dissatisfied with where we are at with our faith. Zacchaeus, the tax collector, did not just mingle with the crowd; he boldly stepped out, overcoming his short stature which could initially have been a handicap. He climbed on a tree so he could get a full view of the Master of miracles.

I am not talking either about attending weekly church services and taking occasional cursory glances at Bible passages, circulating in the social media. We require special quiet time to listen to that sweet small voice to prod us on. Most of all, we need to devote prime time with the Lord, develop a closer relationship with God as we do with our friends, our spouses or family members.

It is not a question of our religious stance, outlook or parade. No, I am alluding to our belief systems and whether we are putting them into practice and standing firm by them. In the Book of Hebrews we read: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

We can expect a few challenges every now and then, but the more we remain steadfast and abide with the vine, the more resistant we will become to the snares of the devil. He will have no other option but to flee; for when our minds are resolute, no temptation can make us falter. The devil’s lies cease to be attractive because we have crossed that barrier. Nothing moves us. “… but the righteous will live his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) It is not by our strength for we are no match for the devil. In Christ, however, we have nothing to fear, we are covered by His precious blood.

The best way to walk with God and be certain of it, is to stay with the vine. Why? Jesus gave the answer himself; “… apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5b) As branches we depend solely on the vine for our existence. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.” (John 15:4)

Great faith can be as small as a mustard seed, and still realize great exploits. Like a seed, faith has the potential to grow, mature and bear fruits as we keep on exercising its muscle for results. We are not in this alone, remember. The branch cannot bear fruit on its own because it is attached to the vine and therefore wholly dependent on it for everything. Putting our faith to work can make all the difference because Jesus is “the author and the finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) Faith in this unadulterated word of God is bound to catapult our faith sky high. 

There is power in the name of Jesus. He bears a name that is above all other names. The Bible says that at His name everything that has a name will one bow. Praise God. Disbelief is sure to lead to error.

God has nothing to prove. He has manifested His faithfulness to His Word by sending His Son to redeem us from eternal death to everlasting life to all those who believe in His finished work on the cross for humanity. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)  

Author: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye