Do You Measure Up? (ATP)
How does a person measure their faith? How do we know what we have enough faith to believe in and what might be out of our reach?
Great question! This is referring to Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” The Bible is telling us that we have a certain amount of faith and that we should be aware of how much that is so we don’t bite off more than we can chew.
The first thing we need to understand about faith is that it is essentially our ability spiritually based on what we believe can or will happen. Faith has no limitations, other than the will of God and our capacity to understand and trust in that will. Jesus told us in Mark 9:23, “all things are possible to those that believe.” He didn’t say all things are definite or even probable, but possible. This is an important thing to understand. You can believe all day long that the sky will turn green or the grass blue but this will not happen.
Specifically though, how do we know if we have enough faith? Well, I believe there are two parts to this so let’s look at them now. As I said, faith can only be built based on our knowledge of God and what He desires to do. Our measure, the true amount of faith we walk in, depends wholeheartedly on our relationship with God. John 16:12-13 tell us that part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to tell us those things we don’t know. He shows us the will of God but this will only happen if we spend time with Him, in His Word and in prayer, with the goal of walking out His plan. Many Christians, those who even go to church, never learn to walk in faith because their relationship or understanding of God never progresses further than just going to Heaven. They never learn who He is or how to actually trust in Him and therefore their faith, really their measure of faith, never grows beyond basic understanding. Yes, we have been given a measure, but the Bible tells us in Romans 10:17, “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” That measure can obviously grow. My faith, again my capacity to believe or trust God for things (not just material possessions but all things), is greater today than ever before.
So what about those two parts of faith? There is faith for that which comes to or against us and then there is faith for that which we decide to reach for.
When it comes to things which are presented to us, such as trials or tests, we must understand we already have the faith we need. God has promised not to leave us orphans or without so therefore if we are faced with a situation or an opportunity, we have everything we need already to either face it or walk it out. The question is, do we believe that we do? Many Christians fail, not because they couldn’t do or overcome something, but because they never put their faith to practice. They looked at the mountain and said, “I can’t” instead of “move” and therefore they couldn’t and it didn’t. You can know how to swim but if you don’t move the right muscles you will still drown!
The second area faith works for is that which we desire to reach for. For example, maybe we desire a nicer home, a bigger family, a greater position in life or etc. These are areas where knowing our measure is imperative. If you decide to step out in any of these areas, yet you do not have the measure to trust God for them, they could fail. God has put the process of living life in our hands. There are very few limits He places on how far in it we can go. That does not mean however we can just do anything successfully; we have to grow that ability.
I’ve seen this a lot over the years in growing families, where people often get off in several areas. One example I’ve seen is they will say, “we will just see how many children God will give us.” This is a false assumption from the onset. First of all, God has put the business of making babies into the hands of humans. (Well, not actually the hands but you know what I mean!) In normal circumstances, there is a process to this and we all know how it works. If you don’t, after the first you should. God doesn’t determine the number possible, but we do. The other area is just assuming that if you can make a baby you should. Have you counted the cost? I know some people who have had a child but determined one is all they can handle on many levels. One child is where they stop and are good with it. Some people happily have the ability for many, and for them this is good. Let me also say, I am in no way advocating aborting a child! Once the process has started it’s too late to decide to stop it. I use this example because it is such a common place of misunderstanding but also one that has various outcomes. People often get into things in life without considering where they are at and therefore step out beyond their measure. Having a family is a wonderful thing but it is not without cost. I know ministers that have not had children because they knew they couldn’t do some of what they were called to because of the demands of family. This was not a bad decision nor one all people will make but it was a decision considering a lot of things. They considered their measure. Many areas of this life could be used as examples, but this is one I’ve seen many times that gives us a clear understanding of this principle.
So how do you know where your measure is? Well, if you are having a hard time believing God for one car, certainly don’t buy two! Build your faith and capacity for one then when it’s time, reach for two. I ask God all the time, “Show me what belongs to me.” Because I endeavor to be in His plan and walk closely with Him, He always does. When I know what God has for me, it’s easy to know what I can reach for and so obtaining and maintaining those things is not difficult. The other side of this is when I just desire something, I put it before God. If I cannot ask Him in peace and surety, I know it’s either not for me or the timing is wrong. When this is the case, I don’t keep asking, I wait. When and if it’s time, if I keep a heart towards Him, He will let me know.
The biggest thing in all of this is, if your heart is right, then you can trust Him to show you. How do you know if your heart is right? You will never know if you don’t spend time with Him!