Sunday, January 07, 2007

Faith: What It Is, What It Isn't, and How It Really Grows

Everyday, I receive a daily e-mail devotional from the Walk Thru the Bible people which I read eagerly first thing each morning.

These daily devotionals start with Genesis in January and end in Revelations in December. They build on one another and put the unfolding of Salvation history within historical and cultural context.

Over the last few years, I have grown greatly in my faith as a result of this daily practice. And the Bible becomes more compelling to me and my faith as time goes by.

I have come to realize that without diligent Bible study as a daily discipline, with a Bible-based teacher who is credible to you, there can be no real spiritual growth in Christ or your faith in Jesus Christ.

An e-mail devotional this week, summed faith up thusly:

"Faith is believing what God has said, not merely hoping for something. It is not like wishing upon a star when, if you believe hard enough, your wish will come true.

"Faith is trusting God's Word. God told Noah to build an ark and save himself from the coming deluge. Noah had never seen an ark, but he believed God and was obedient to what he knew (Genesis 6:22). He believed the Word of God and acted on it. That's faith."

So often we trivialize faith into being some silly hope mill, as the above indicates. But when we take it upon ourselves to actually read and study the Bible--The Word of God--with a Bible-based teacher--and not simply with someone who teaches by peppering his or her message with Scripture--we start seeing the eye-popping realities of this dazzing text.

And then the Holy Spirit, sooner or later, starts to bring it all alive.

The bottom line is that we cannot hope to grow without regular Bible study with a good teacher.

While He lived on earth and taught, Jesus quoted from every single chapter of Old Testament Scripture. And when He he was tested by Satan, he quoted Scripture in each test. Even He was thoroughly familiar with the ancient texts and used them daily.

Without Bible study how can we ever even know what we really believe?

Alistair Begg talks about the importance of Scripture and its study here. Begg also talks about how each chapter of the Old, as well as the New Testaments points to Christ.

Conversion and growth in faith is a mind altering experience based on solid Bible study over the course of time.

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