...God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
So, if God has given everyone the measure of faith, why are there differing amounts of faith? Even in scripture, there are three types of faith referred to: no faith, little faith and great faith. What is the measure of faith that the Apostle Paul is talking about?
First, it's important to remember that God doesn't respect any person (2 Samuel 14:14). In other words, he doesn't hold one person above another. He doesn't favor someone else over me.
When God gave everyone the measure of faith, it must have been the same measure. For him to give the Apostle Paul a bigger measure of faith than me would be showing favoritism. Even the wording would indicate that was the case. It doesn't say a measure of faith, but the measure of faith.
But, what is the measure of faith? What I'm going to tell you, I can't back up with one specific scripture. I can't go to the Bible and quote a single verse, but what I can do is point to several verses (and I will in this and future posts) that have convinced me that the measure of faith is the Word of God.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? Well, actually, it is simple... but don't confuse simple with easy. I've looked up every time the word faith is used in scripture. I can't find any other way to get faith except by hearing the Word of God. (Listen up, Janna, you'll find the answer to your question in this post.)
First, notice that faith comes by hearing. It doesn't come because we have heard, but because we continue to hear. Faith comes because we are hearing the Word of God.
Let's compare this to something in the natural -- food -- after all, Jesus said:
"It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
This tells me that the Word of God is food for my spiritual body. Just as my physical body needs physical food, my spiritual body needs the Word to survive and thrive. So, how often do you eat? Most of us eat three meals a day, and then throw a few snacks in there for good measure.
How often do you hear the Word?
If you go to church only on Sunday morning, try eating just one meal a week. Maybe you go to church Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening. OK, try eating just three meals a week. Or maybe you go to church on Christmas and Easter. Try eating just two meals a year.
How often do you feed your spiritual body?
We are being fed -- almost constantly -- a diet of fear from the enemy. Look at your surroundings. Look at the world. Watch the news. Follow the stock market. Look at the number of cars parked in the parking lot at your local hospital. Turn on the television. Listen to popular music. Talk to your friends and family. Everyone will tell you how bad things are.
That's just what the enemy wants you to hear. Just as faith comes by hearing the Word of God, fear comes by hearing the word of the enemy. The problem is, most of us hear way more of the devil's words than we do God's word. We have to reach a point where we want to hear the Word of God above everything else.
Some of the greatest miracle workers of our time (and I'm convinced of anytime) took drastic measures to build and protect their faith. Smith Wigglesworth refused to allow a newspaper in his house, he wouldn't wear a corsage because once the flower is cut it begins to die. Extreme? Perhaps. But, Smith Wigglesworth was also a vessel used by the Holy Spirit to heal the sick and even raise the dead!
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
--1 Peter 2:9
We are the chosen. By the world's standards, we will appear peculiar. I know some people find me a bit strange. You'll see me most of the time listening to my iPod. Frequently, I'm asked at the checkout stand, or when I'm out and about, what kind of music I'm listening too. When I answer that I'm listening to God's Word, I usually get a strange look. That's OK. I'm trying to counteract what's is all around me.
Even in the natural, this makes perfect sense. More of something will eventually overpower less of something else. What do you have more of in your life: God's Word, or the world; faith or fear?