For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Romans 12:3
The Scripture clearly says that each one of us has a measure of faith. The question comes, “Why, then, if every Christian has the gift of faith, can some Christians use this gift far beyond other Christians?” Some scholars interpret the phrase “a measure of faith” to mean that each one is given the same amount of faith. Why can’t every one of us operate on the faith of George Muller, the “man of faith”? He was able to raise several million dollars for the orphanages he founded with no public appeal for money. He just prayed and the needed funds came. Why can’t we do the same?
A person is born with all the muscle tissue his or her body will ever have or need. Yet some people are non-muscular and pot-bellied, while others have broad shoulders and large muscles. What is the difference? The biggest difference is exercise. As we exercise our muscles, they strengthen and develop.
As we exercise our faith, it will strengthen and develop.
What would happen if we took a man who couldn’t swim out into the middle of a lake and threw him out of the boat? Naturally, he would drown.
What would happen if we gave him hours of classroom education about the water and swimming, but never let him enter the water to practice before we took him out in the boat? He would still drown. He would just look a little better doing it.
Suppose we took another man who couldn’t swim, put him in the water, and gave him some training. After we taught him to swim, we had him swim 10 meters, then 20, and then 30 meters. Before we knew it, he would be able to swim the length of the pool 20 times non-stop. What would happen then when we took him out to the middle of the lake? He would beat the boat back to shore.
What is the difference? It is the training and the exercise.
The same is true with the gift of faith. We first have to exercise our faith on small decisions.
How can we learn to exercise more faith? Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
This tells us that the amount of faith we have has a direct relationship to the amount of God’s Word we know.
The best way to increase your faith is by increasing your knowledge of God’s Word.
I have noticed that, usually, people who have the gift of faith are “spiritual giants.” Most of them are leaders, and most of them are people with the gift of Administration. They are men and women who are able to trust God for the little things as well as the big things.
Many people today do not operate on the gift of faith. They make decisions based on circumstances, or they make “faith deals” with God.
Several years ago my wife and I decided to sell our business and home and go to Bible training school. It was a major decision for us. We made a “faith deal” with God. We said, “Lord, if You want us to go away, You will find a buyer for our home within 90 days. If You do that, we will know that You want us to move. If you don’t, we’ll know You want us to stay.” It sounded like a reasonable deal because the house had been appraised for considerably more than the asking price, and real estate was selling reasonably well at the time. But as the deadline drew nearer, we became more and more miserable.
We were under the conviction that we had made a wrong decision in offering such a “faith deal.” We then decided that we were going to move regardless of what happened. The only thing that would stop us was God putting a stone wall in front of us. We left and three months after I entered school, we sold our home. My wife and I have not doubted for one minute that God wanted us to move. We didn’t make the wrong decision; we just made a wrong choice in the way we decided to move.
When God and you both know you are going to stick to a decision regardless of what happens, then (and only then) can you operate on the faith you have instead of the faith you wish you had.
Dr. Larry Gilbert is founder and chairman of Ephesians Four Ministries, and founder of ChurchGrowth.org. For more on spiritual gifts, see Dr. Gilbert’s book, from which this article was excerpted: Team Ministry: Gifted to Serve (for pastors and group leaders). Another book by Dr. Gilbert is Your Gifts: Discover God’s Unique Design for You (for individuals and groups).
Here are more free articles, one for each of the nine Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts…
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Shepherding?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Administration?
Discover more about your spiritual gifts and each of the nine team gifts.
For individuals and groups.
Lead others to discover their spiritual gifts.
For pastors, teachers and group leaders.