Spiritual Director · August 14, 2017

Devote #81

Remember the time you really needed faith?

It might have been during a time of great stress or you were making a major move in your life – a life decision, but you knew you needed great faith.

Maybe you even thought to yourself, “I need to increase my faith.”

You even quoted scripture… “Lord, help my unbelief.”

Maybe you read a book or listened to some preacher that encouraged your faith. It’s always good to give ourselves a checkup as to where our faith stands. But if you really want to find out the level of your faith, look at your love factor.

Why do I say that? Well, think about it.

Faith isn’t just head knowledge of what the Bible says or what Jesus told us to do. Even Satan and his demons are well aware of the truth and actually believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead (James 2:19).

But, if there is faith there will be a host of other attributes that will accompany that faith, one of those being love. I tell you that because of what I read in my Bible this morning. Read this,

“My dear friends, we always have good reason to thank God for you, because your faith in God and your love for each other keep growing all the time.” —2 Thessalonians 1:3

Did you catch that? Faith produces fruit—good fruit, and that fruit is love.

The man who wrote these words, Paul, understood that the church in Thessalonica was increasing their faith because their love for each other was also increasing. He would also be the one to tell his young protégé, Timothy,

“You must teach people to have genuine love, as well as a good conscience and true faith.” —1 Timothy 1:5

Our faith is totally in a God who showed love toward us, and though we don’t like to admit it, we were His enemies. I’ve always loved this verse,

“Even when we were God’s enemies, He made peace with us, because His Son died for us” —Romans 5:10

Unfortunately, even though we worship with others in our faith group and do Bible study together, many who are on the outside don’t see the fruit of our faith. They see just as much hate and condemnation as the rest of the world offers.

Our faith in Jesus should show through our love towards those both in our sphere of influence and those we have yet to meet. Do you feel that you have a strong, growing faith, but you’re also realizing that you’re pretty conditional on loving others? So you know… you’re not alone!

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

Take some time with the Lord and together search your heart. Look to see if your actions are expressing your faith in God. Do others, those you know and those you have never met, feel loved when they’re with you? Look at your love for others as a barometer for your faith in Jesus and see how it can change your life (and the lives of those around you).

By the way, have I told you lately… God not only loves you… He likes you… And He’s proud of you!

I want my faith to produce fruit, especially the fruit of love. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.