"For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3).
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).
"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death" (James 1:14,15).
The above verses may seem to be unrelated, but a thread of truth connects them. Anything which we truly believe, and hold in our hearts long enough, eventually gives birth and brings forth something, either good, or not good. Look again at the underlined portions of Scripture.
When we read God has allotted to each a measure of faith, we may think it means each person has been allotted a measure of faith in God, but that isn't what it says. We each have a measure of faith; we believe in something. There is unbelief, but no such thing as non-belief. We must believe in something.
What we believe, dictates our lifestyle. The philosophy or doctrine or standard of behavior we adopt as comfortable, becomes our pattern of life. Though it is intangible, we have a conviction about it, and either consciously or unconsciously dedicate our lives to it. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). It is the result of the conviction of things not seen.
When we utilize our measure of faith to the point that we have a conviction about something, a conception takes place. After a period of incubation there comes a birthing, either positive or negative, depending upon the manner in which we utilized our measure of faith.
We are responsible for causing the effect. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that we really are as we think in our hearts, down in the inner depths of our being. Our lives develop based upon our thoughts which, in turn, are under the direction of our beliefs, our measure of faith.
Many of us waste our measure of faith. We use it solely to believe in the past and, at the same time, fear the future. We know what we have seen and we place our faith in that.
We know, for example, that certain diseases have been considered to be "incurable", and we put our faith in that past experience; therefore, we fear the future possibility of contracting one of those "incurable" diseases.
Another example is that, as children, we may have been programmed to believe we could never amount to anything worthwhile, or that we are stupid, or incompetent in certain areas. We could waste our measure of faith believing such nonsense, be convicted in our hearts that it is true, and conceive a dull, mediocre life as a result.
Prayer groups often contain Christians who waste their measure of faith. A typical example is someone with low self-esteem who repeatedly draws attention to his need for prayer. What should be a support group solidarity, is diluted to become a pity party of solicitous, grieving fellow-sufferers.
Though we depend upon God as the Source for all our strength, this doesn't take us off the hook of responsibility. Life is a do-it-yourself project. We must develop the physiological ability to cope. We always move toward our dominant thoughts, so we need to monitor our thinking. "As a man thinketh..." is true. We become what we think because we think what we believe.
Everybody accepts the fact that parents program their children by the words they plant in them, but truthfully, we never stop programming ourselves. We constantly talk to ourselves, we judge and prejudge and censure and criticize. We need to supervise our inner language.
When we sing a happy song, we experience more happi-ness...when our inner language is supportive and edifying, we radiate a positive influence in ourselves and others.
Faith is a powerful tool, but it has no self-direction, it must be guided. To bring this into proper focus we should have a starting point upon which to launch our measure of faith.
To the disciple, there is only one place to begin. It is the Rock, the most solid foundation available to mankind. When we place our measure of faith in Jesus Christ, we are assured of a positive and powerful conviction, capable of birthing something beyond ourselves, beyond our self-imposed limitation.
We must ask ourselves how we utilize our measure of faith.
This is the moment to make an assessment and to adjust direction where necessary. Jesus is always ready to be the personal Rock upon which we launch our measure of faith!
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are doing of eternal value?
Question for today: Is what is incubating in my
life right now, positive or negative?