Everybody has desires for good things, but some people have more faith to work towards fulfilling their desires. Actually, if we want to grow in faith, we first need to grow in love. The more we love, the more we trust. This principle is illustrated by a true story told by Dr. Howard Pope. He tells of a beautiful young lady who once read a book and came to him declaring it to be the most boring book she had ever read. In fact, she said, "If I ever meet the author I would ask him why he wrote such a worthless tome." Soon after that experience, the young girl fell in love with a brilliant Christian man. One night, as th ey were talking together, the young man saw that "worthless tome" sitting on the coffee table and said to the young lady, "Have you read this book?" The girl replied, "Yes, why do you ask?" Shyly, the young man said, "Because, I wrote it!"
That night, the girl stayed up all night re-reading the book because now she had fallen in love with the author. She wanted to know everything about the one she loved. Knowing the book was a way to draw closer to the author. When she finished the book a second time, she was sure this man would be her husband. When the young man visited her a few days later, she said, "I read your book. I think it is wonderful, brilliant and the best book I have ever read in my life!" Similarly, when we fall in love with the God of the scriptures, it is easy to trust Him. Love becomes the seed that sprouts a harvest of assurances. When we know the author of the scriptures, we will expectantly, be looking forward to all of His blessings, satisfactions, and encouragement. We will not grow weary in our well doing because we will hunger to be more secure in the bond of His great love.
"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations. Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was good as dead. Yet, he did not waver through unbelief regarding God's promise, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised." (Romans 4:18-21)
Today, Abraham is regarded as the father of faith. When all hope, as a human possibility, failed, Abraham placed his hope in God. Sure, Abraham had some anxious moments, but God did not count these against him. Abraham did not refuse to face reality. He chose to look beyond his difficulties to the Lord and His promises. Let us look at eight stages of maturity in faith and their alternative eight stages of frustration:
8 Stages of Faith - 8 Stages of Frustration
1. Basic Trust - A firm belief in the reliability of God and the truth of His word. Just as a child learns to implicitly trust its mother, so a young Christian relies on the Lord for its spiritual leading, feeding and protection.
1. Suspicion - A doubt that God or others care about one's best interests. One who inclined to doubt the genuineness of others' motives.
2. Confidence - One develops a firm reliance on the certainty of God's grace, counsel and enabling.
2. Fear - One develops a deepening sense of apprehension that perceives people, circumstances and new ideas as threatening.
3. Innovation - When a person knows one's value before God they are free to initiate ideas, services and love.
3. Inhibition - When a person lacks a mature faith he or she tends to shy away from taking any risks. A person who is inhibited resists thinking or acting in new ways.
4. Productivity - The deeper one's faith, the greater capacity an individual has to generate the spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, or self-control.
4. Inferiority - When a person fails to show fruit over time, he or she experiences feelings of shame, emptiness or futility. Often times people try to compensate for these inadequate feelings by inventing some cause to justify the efforts.
5. Integration - When a person grows one is able to integrate his or her beliefs with truth in the realities around them.
5. Confusion - One who fails to grow in faith becomes increasingly frustrated and confused. This failure to integrate his or her faith into reality leads them into further confusion about people, ideas and situations. A distorted perspective leads to dysfunctional actions.
6. Friendly Intimacy With Others - When a person becomes closer to the Lord they are free to get closer to people. There is no fear in love as it casts out the fear of being misunderstood or hurt.