This is a devotional study on Faith

Lesson 5

Developing your Faith

The good news about faith is that all Christians have it to a degree. We are saved by Faith and this is definitely not a human or psychological faith, it is not by our positive thinking. But it is a supernaturally imparted faith that has been given to us by God Himself.

2 Thes 3:2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith.

Only born-again believers have this spiritual, “God kind of Faith”.

Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Rom 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

We may try and measure ourselves by a whole lot of different standards or qualifications like success, confidence, money, job status, and popularity. The bible says that God measures you by the amount of faith that you have. If we want to have Godly success in life, we have to start viewing ourselves the way God views us. If God says that the measure of a man is his faith, then the thing that I need to start working really hard on and developing is my faith. We have all been given a measure of faith just like a child that is born with all of its faculties but they need to be developed like the muscles, the brain, the bones, we all have the potential to be a huge big muscle-bound athlete, but some chose to develop their muscles more than others.

We have to make a decision that we are going to develop our faith. The faith that we have helps us to overcome the world. 1 John 5:1

The Bible describes Christ who is the anointed one as the burden breaking, yoke removing, debt and disease destroying Christ. Acts 10:38

The challenge for us is do we really believe that Jesus is still the anointed one and that he can break every bondage in your life, destroy every yoke that is trying to weigh you down, heal every disease that is trying to cripple you, do you believe that he is the one who is able to set you free and deliver you.

The parable of the sower Mark 4:13-24

  • Jesus preempts this teaching by making it clear that the farmer sows the word
  • That the seed that is been sown is the word of God
  • Jesus said that this seed, which is the word of God, has the potential to produce 100-fold or 100% in your life. It has the potential to save, to heal, to deliver, to set you free from habits, addictions, bondages, oppression, and fear. It has the potential to bring peace, to bring joy, to bring prosperity,
  • The most powerful thing that you have as a Christian is the Word of God, and the devil knows it and the devil will do anything he can to stop it from being planted in the soil of your heart
  • Which in turn will stop you from being productive in the kingdom of God, it will stop you from receiving the blessing and promises that God has for you in the word Mat 7:18
  • In other words, Jesus said don’t listen to what people have to say, look at the fruit of their lives, because what is in their heart is what will come out in their life, it will be demonstrated in their lives. If God’s word is in their heart their lives will produce in keeping with His word
  • That is why the devil will do anything to stop the word from being planted in your heart
  • You are the sum total of what you are believing for right now, nothing more, nothing less
  • Your life is producing according to the revelation of God’s word that is in your heart right now

Mark 4:14–15

  • What I want to know is how does he snatch it,
  • The way that he does that is by making sure that you have a hard heart that is not receptive to the word of God Heb 3:12-14
  • The hardness of heart is a spiritual condition, the Bible says that in the last days there is going to be a falling away from the faith, in the last day’s people are going to have a form of godliness but they are going to deny the power of it. 2 Tim 3:1-5
  • They have allowed their Christian life to become a ritual instead of a relationship, they go through all the motions of being a Christian but never allow the power of God to penetrate their hearts.
  • I believe that one of the saddest condition in the Christian life is when we get to the point where we are not expecting God to move in our lives and it is like the enemy comes and puts a veil over our eyes so that we never experience the truth of God’s word.
  • We end up having a crisis of the heart, and every time the word is preached if it falls on a hard heart the devil just says thank you very much and just steals the word from our heart.

Mark 4:16-17

  • This is the seed that is sown into those that have no depth or maturity in their lives, so you hear the word and you get excited, but it never is able to take root in your life,

I had a friend whose father was a very successful market gardener, it seemed that whatever he planted just flourished, one day the son decided that he was going to buy his own property and put everything that he had learnt into practice and become a great market gardener like his dad. He said it just did not matter what he seems to plant they just never seem to be able to produce like on his father’s farm, he did everything he knew how to do, as far as he was concerned, he did everything just like dad. But what he failed to realise was that his dad had taken years and year to cultivate the soil to a place where it was rich and healthy, that no matter what you put in it, it produced. But he had just taken a bare bit of land where the soil had never been cultivated and tried to produce the same fruit as his father but failed. If we never learn to cultivate the soil of our hearts, through our prayer life, through our devotional life, through our praise and worship, through studying the word of God, being taught the word of God, that is what cultivates the soil

Jer 23:29  “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? God’s word has the potential to break through that rocky ground if we will allow it

  • When you start to spend time in the word of God you begin to develop a depth and maturity that when the seed of God’s word is planted in it, it has the ability to produce. 1 Pet 2:2, Heb 5:13
  • If you are a Christian that has never taken the time to grow in the word, to study the word, to understand the word, when you hear about what God can do and what he wants to do in and through you. You get all excited, but the Bible says that it will only take a little disappointment, a little setback, when someone upsets you or offends you, when trouble or persecution comes, the bibles says they quickly fall away because there is no maturity, there is no depth
  • If you know that persecution comes because of the word, when it comes we are able to stand against it, we are able to stand on the word and say Satan your not going to steal this from me
  • One thing I have found is that usually the minute you start standing on the word things usually get worse, the enemy will do anything to try and stop that seed from being planted deeply in the soil of your heart.
  • Whatever you are believing God for things you usually get worse before they get better, because persecution comes because of the word, the devil will try to do anything to uproot the seed of God’s word in your life.

Mark 4:17

  • KJV, immediately they are offended. Isn’t that just one of the greatest ironies of life
  • It’s like if we don’t take the time to grow in the word, to study the word, to be build up in the word, to mature in the word, we don’t develop any depth in our lives and when trouble comes or persecution come because of the word we get upset and offended with God
  • We fail to recognise that the devil does not want the seed of God’s word to be planted in the soil of your heart Eph 6:17
  • He knows that if he can stop you from using the sword of the spirit you will never be effective, and you certainly will never be a threat to him.

Mark 4:18-19

  • This would have to be one of the most common traps of the enemy, this has the connotation that this is a fruitful Christian, an effective Christian, we are on the road to fruitfulness
  • There is a sense that God’s word is starting to produce in their life, he knows that if he can’t stop you he will take you to the other extreme where you just get so busy that you never get time to allow the word of God to produce in your life
  • He will put cares in your life, he will put distractions, he will get you caught up with this and caught up with that, chasing this and chasing that, he will put pressure in your life, he will put deadlines in your life, to the point where the word of God gets choked up and suffocated in our lives. Bill Hybels wrote a book that said if you are to busy to pray you are too Eph 2:10
  • There is a sense that it is up to us to order our lives so that we can become the people that God wants us to become, that we can walk the paths that God is calling us to walk
  • If you don’t have time, to spend time in the word, spend time in prayer, spend time in church, time in worship, if you don’t have time to fellowship with other Christians and allow them to stir you in the things of God, if you don’t have time to study the word of God
  • You will find the word of God just gets choked up and suffocating out of your lives and again the devil has stopped you from allowing the word of God to produce in your life

Mark 4:20

  • This verse is only fully understood in the light of the next two parables Mark 4:21-25
  • This is one of the clearest passages that show that Christianity is not for the casual observer
  • Either God’s word works, or he is a liar, either God’s word has the potential to produce a hundredfold in our lives or Jesus is a liar,
  • God’s word has not been hidden from us, it has been hidden for us, that as we begin to search it, as we begin to study it, that as we begin to spend time in the word of God, God begins to illuminate it to our lives, God begins to give us a revelation of his word
  • It is that revelation that cultivates the soil of our hearts
  • Meditation is the price you pay for revelation, as you start meditating on the word of God, as you start building it into your lives
  • I am not talking about casually flicking through the pages, I am talking about digging into the word of God, realising that it is God’s word that has the power to save, to heal, to deliver, to set you free from habits, addictions, bondages, oppression, fear, It has the potential to bring peace, to bring joy, to bring prosperity in your life.

Mark 4:24

  • The amount of time you give to God’s will, will determine the amount of power that you get from God’s word, the measure you use it is the measure that it will be used in your life
  • If the devil can control what we believe, he can control how we live, how we act, how we behave
  • If he can stop the word of God from getting into your heart, he can stop it from producing

Mark 4:26-29

  • Here is the key to allowing God’s word to produce in your life
  • If you take the word of God as a seed and allow it to be planted in the soil of your heart it has to produce, but it doesn’t produce instantly there is a process that it has to go through
  • If the devil can short circuit that process he can short circuit the word of God from producing in your life.
  • The minute you plant the word of God it begins to produce, but in its early stages you don’t see anything happening, there is no recognisable evidence that anything is happening in you. James 1:21-25
  • The minute you start believing in God’s word that seed of his word begins to produce, but we have to allow the process to take place in our
  • The early stages you don’t see anything happening, then you will see a stalk, then a head, then a full kernel and then there is a ripening process, but as soon as the grain is ripe then it is ready to be harvested, then the miracles come when the promise comes.
  • This is how the kingdom of God works, God will do instantaneous miracles to demonstrate his power, but when we know that he can do them he requires us to live by faith.

1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us whatever we ask we know that we have what we asked of him.

  • If you have a need you have to plant a seed. You have to be willing to find God’s word for your situation, then meditate on it, cultivate it, nurture it, confess it, speak it out, allow it to produce in your life.
  • Until we understand that the word of God works just like a seed, that has to be planted, it has to be watered, it has to be fertilised, it has to be cared for, and nurtured if we want to see it produce in our lives.

Please complete and submit this part of  lesson each week, we are looking forward to what God has revealed to you in HIs Word and through this Study.

As disciples we don't always need more information but we need new revelation from God. Is there a certain part of the teaching that you loved, that stood out for you or you felt God was giving you insight into it?
Discipleship is all about learning God says. What was something new that you learnt in this lesson?
Putting God's word into practice is the greatest thing we can do. Was there a lesson, a principle or a promise that you can put into practice in your life?
The greatest part of discipleship is taking what you have learnt and sharing it with someone else. What part of this lesson could you pass on to others?
If there are any questions or queries about this lesson or regarding the school of ministry please feel free to ask.