Faith is almost always a challenge for us to fully define. We know the technical definition from Scripture:
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see (Hebrews 11:1 NLT).
However, that doesn't always tell us what we want to know about faith ... especially when it comes to our faith.
Many people who ask about faith are really asking, "How can I know if I have enough faith? What proof is there that I am pleasing to God?"
Most of us, at some time or another, imitate the character of the man whose son was possessed by an evil spirit. Jesus questioned his faith and his reply was, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24 NIV). I like another translation of this verse that translates Jesus' words this way: "I do believe, but help me not to doubt!" (NLT)
So, how do you measure your faith? Does it mean you never question or never doubt anything about your faith? Perhaps, but since most of us can't help questioning things from time to time, this may not be a good basis for judging the strength of our faith. As I was reading a discussion regarding the wilderness wanderings of the Israelite nation, the following statement was made: "Faith is often better judged by direction rather than by distance." This is an important perspective! We are saying something like, "Lord, I believe, but help me believe even more!"
One time when we returned to Kenya, East Africa, I brought some American sweet corn seed with me. I did all of the preparation for the soil, planted and watered the crop properly, yet had very poor results. The corn, which when planted in America would have reached 8 to 10 feet in height, only grew to be about 4 feet tall, with stunted little ears of corn. The Kenyans found this to be a great source of amusement as they laughed at the American corn. I found out later, that to grow properly, the corn required a longer daily exposure to the sun!
To be honest, there are times I don't feel that my faith has allowed me to grow very tall in my spiritual life. Just like the corn, there are always goals that I have set that seem to be just out of reach. The point, however, is that we are growing in the direction of the goal. The corn did not cease to be corn, but rather gave the best it had to produce the small ears it was able to produce. It was at the mercy of its circumstances and environment, yet still reaching in the right direction — heavenward!
We may, on occasion, need to pray, "I do believe, but help me not to doubt!" But we never should stop reaching in the right direction! You see, that's what God is really asking each of us to do! And if we are having trouble growing spiritually, maybe it's because we aren't placing ourselves in the position to get enough exposure to "The Son."