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How Faith Grows

Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard

A few days ago I posted the following quote as my “Good Words for Today”:

If my love for Jesus never leads me to take a risk, how much do I really love him? If my faith never causes me to do things that make no sense to others, including my Christian friends, perhaps I’m playing it too safe. If everything I say and do seems perfectly comprehensible to the world, then I need to do some soul-searching.

That quote got a number of encouraging responses. Then there was this comment from a man in Nigeria:

“My sincere question is "Why does it take us so long after being a Christian to get to this stage when the disciples got there in 3.5yrs?" Am I missing something here?”

His question is both honest and very common. I would say to my friend, “You aren’t missing anything.” We all wonder from time to time, “Why is it taking me so long to get better?” Here are a few examples:

*“I thought by now I wouldn’t struggle so much with anger. Why is it taking me so long to get better?

*“I still get tempted by pornography. Why is it taking me so long to get better?”

*“I go to church every Sunday but I still have doubts. Why is it taking me so long to get better?”

*“I thought I’d be a better person by now, but I’ve got so many bad habits. Why is it taking me so long to get better?”

*“I’m a bitter person even though I cover it up most of the time. Why is it taking me so long to get better?”

Many of us wish we had an answer to that question. We might assume that upon conversion, we would rapidly sprout wings and fly to heaven. But it doesn’t happen that way. God has ordained that even though we are being made like Jesus, it only happens a little bit at a time. And sometimes that “little bit” seems very little indeed.

There is victory to be had but it will not come easily or quickly. We are in a war with spiritual foes who will not easily yield their ground. In our series on James, we have come to a passage that helps us understand how God builds our faith through the trials of life. As opposed to a dead faith that produces nothing, Abraham’s dynamic faith was made complete when he offered his beloved son Isaac on the altar.

Would you like to see your faith grow? Then let’s study together James 2:21-24 to learn from Abraham how trials can make our faith complete.

You can read the rest of the message online

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Originally published May 18, 2016.

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