The other day I shared about the collision of faith versus fact. Ever since I shared that, I've really been thinking on it, trying to improve where I want my faith to be. There are practical things that a person can do to build their faith, so I thought I'd share some of them today. Maybe what I share can help you believe for your own mountain to be moved!
The first thing I do is turn to my Bible. When I'm questioning my faith, I turn to scripture to show me examples of faith. I read these verses in Mark 11 and see Jesus addressing my faith precisely and exactly. And I read these verses in Matthew as well:
"Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.
20When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.21Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:18-22
Jesus was the ultimate example for us- every day it should be our goal to become more and more like him. So to read an example of him putting his faith into action just gives me a little boost right away.
I also like to turn to the book of Exodus in my Bible. Right now, my faith has me believing that God is going to provide a home for us- at least, that's what I'm working on believing. So I turn to Exodus, and I spend some time reading of the Israelites wandering, and how God provided for their every need. Every need! Even their clothes failed to wear out for forty years while they wondered in the desert. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so if God can provide in such a miraculous way for a people who continued to sin over and over, I like to believe that He will provide a home for my family.
There are other things I can do though to build up my faith. First, I can see or hear testimonies of other people, and how God provided for their needs. I just received an e-mail the other day from a lady who had no money, yet needed something for her daughters birthday. God provided money for gifts, a gift card for groceries, and a little extra money to put gas in the tank! I was so excited for this person and her daughter- it gave me such a boost. It also showed me the Goodness of God- to provide for a daughters birthday just tells me how much He loves his children. Yesterday at church a couple shared how God has increased interest in their business, and my thoughts were that if God will do that for someone- God can do the same for us. God is no respecter of persons- what He does for one, he'll do for another- if we can only find the faith to ask Him and believe.
Yet on the practical side, I confess I was having a hard time putting my faith into action. I mean, I'm trying to find faith that God is going to provide our home. How do I put that faith into action? I really spent some time thinking on that last week after I shared my heart about it. I was trying to figure out how God was going to provide a home for us if I don't actively look for it. If I don't put the effort into finding a home- how on earth is it even going to happen? Then I thought about what I was telling myself. I was telling myself that God couldn't just do it. God can do anything! He's God! If He has a home for us- I'm sure He'll find a way to show it to us.
So the first thing I did, was I went online and looked again at the home that is in my heart. I talked to God about it a little, and then where I would usually resign myself to looking at the homes that could be more of a reality, I walked away from the computer, and I did something totally irrational.
I started planning my garden.
Our dream home will have property- it will have a large enough yard to grow as big of a garden as I want, and still have plenty of room for my kids to play outside. Here I've been telling myself over the last months that I could settle, and small scale garden again if needs be. As I've been having garden conversations with people, I've simply said "I have to wait for a yard before I do any planning". Well, I decided that in order to put my faith into action, I needed to build that faith by doing. It wasn't doing to look at potential homes, when God has the perfect one getting ready for us. Action is preparing to move to that home.
So I pulled out my favorite seed catalog and started preparing an order. I pulled out an order form and I filled it with seeds for things that I cannot grow small scale. I added corn and popcorn, I added pumpkins, and four varieties of melons and watermelons. I added potatoes, and all told, I think I ended up with 25 tomato varieties if I count the ones I already have. Then I totalled my order, wrote out a check and put it in an envelope with a stamp and address. That seed order is an act of faith. Almost all of those seeds will be useless in a small garden. But in the big garden I am pining for- they will be a reality.
My seed order made, I sat down with graph paper and physically plotted out my dream garden for this year. I even put a compass on my map to show the precise direction I wanted my garden to face. And the whole time I was thinking about when I could put this garden in the dirt. As I plotted my individual veggie patches and herb patches, I was thinking how when this garden is actually mine, I'll be able to share so much. 25 feet of tomatoes? No sane person or family needs that many tomatoes. But I'll bet there are plenty of food pantries in the area who would love a bushel or two of organic, homegrown tomatoes. Nobody needs 3 varieties of melon and 3 varieties of watermelon- but imagine the faces of the children who usually get the same old stuff from the food pantries. Imagine how excited they would be to watch mom walk in with a huge watermelon- only to cut into it and see the vibrant orange color be-speckled with black seeds!
As I plotted this garden on paper, I could visualize it being mine. And I started thinking that way. I started planning what I would can, what I would freeze- would we need another freezer? I started planning all the extra that I would have to share with neighbors and friends and those in need.
And then I found my vocabulary changing. Where I used to say "well, if we ever move..." I found myself saying more than once over the last few days "when we move to our new home..." The kids even asked about something regarding wishing they had something in their bedrooms- my reply was that we'd look into that for our new home.
One day, one word at a time, I'm changing my thought process and my speech process regarding my faith. Every opportunity I get to say or do something to pump up my faith is one step closer to actually harnessing the faith and believing.
24"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24
I have asked, and I believe that I have already received. Right now, we're just waiting for God's perfect timing to be revealed. What an amazing testimony we will have on that day. I am looking forward to it- praying for it and having patience for it. But I'm believing it will happen exactly when God wants it to happen, because faith can move mountains.