In the Christian life faith is one of the greatest characteristic traits a believer should have, if not the best. It is in faith alone in how a person receives salvation. However, though salvation is a great thing to have and without a shadow of a doubt it is the best decision a person can make in their life, a believer’s faith should not stop after salvation. The Bible says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). When developing this new faith/belief/trust in Christ, we need to allow our old sins and selfishness to pass away and be born of the new things in life, which are the things of Christ. However, faith is something that a believer will never fully grow to their full capacity. We need to constantly increase our faith in our Lord. How can a Christian continue to grow in their faith?
Believers must learn to be content. In today’s society this may seem like a foreign concept to most people. This may be because there are always people in pop culture that will tell you that you cannot be happy unless you have: the trendiest clothes, the new iPhone, nice cars, and the latest video game consoles. But let's really think about this. If someone really did obtain these items and luxuries, would they actually be happy? The answer is no because this kind of mindset will make you just want more after you obtain the things you wanted. There is not a light at the end of the tunnel that is called selfishness. Christians need to learn to be happy with that which God has already blessed them with.
One portion of Scripture that really speaks out to me when being content is found in the book of Philippians. The Apostle Paul was talking to the Church at Philippi and he was talking about how blessed he was to have his relationship restored because they were a big encouragement to him by sending him things and sending him Epaphroditus. During the time of no communication we see some of the struggles Paul went through during that time.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Paul explains to the church that he was thankful for the restoration of relationship not because he wanted anything from them. Paul desired nothing but to see the Lord’s fruit in their life. Read the remaining of the Chapter to see for yourself. Through Paul losing all communication with those in whom he loved, he learned to be content no matter what his circumstances were. He was content whether he was abased (depressed/humiliated) or abound (to be in excess), full or hungry, abound or suffering need (to lack). Paul had experienced some really hard times in his life: he had been beaten three times, shipwrecked, and even stoned. Not only that, but he had a thorn in his flesh that God said he was not going to get rid of. Despite these facts, Paul had seen great high points in his life: outreach to the Gentiles, and the salvation of the Philippian jailer.
The Apostle knew how it felt to be full and how it was to be hungry. He had felt many times the energy that proper nourishment gave him physically. He also knew the struggles of being starved and physically weak. He learned how it was to have all his needs met and he knew how it was to suffer basic necessity. But we see that Paul did not depend on the basic commodities to keep him content. If he was depending on those things, then during the times he was abased, hungered, and suffered need he would not have been content. In the Scripture, we see Paul’s contentment comes from the strength of the Lord. Christian, I tell you that you can access the same contentment that Paul had by just depending on God’s strength. Stop worrying about things that you wish that you had. Just be thankful for all that God has blessed you with.
Over the next several weeks we are going to keep tackling this topic of increasing your faith. It starts with learning to be content in that which the Lord has already given us. The world wants what they do not have and when they get what they want, they continually want something different. Christians ought to be thankful for that which we have. Stop looking at what we do not have and be content with what the Lord is allowing us to have. Just by being content, you will develop a new depth to your faith.