January 10, 2016 by James Lindquist
Part One: Do not be discouraged
The Bible tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith . Therefore, how can we please Him without first beginning the growth process in the faith of Jesus Christ . All of us falter in our faith but if we don’t become discouraged or disheartened, we can struggle through the setback. Keep in mind though that those great men of the Bible, who had powerful faiths, also struggled with their faith challenges as well when tested.
If we think we struggle, and we will, let’s consider these great men of God, keeping in mind that when we contend for the faith, God will open doors, bless us, and protect us.
v3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints [Jude 1:3].
CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Do you remember the story of Moses? He did not want to travel to Egypt to confront and speak to the Pharaoh . He didn’t know what to say and furthermore, a person took their lives in their own hands by confronting the Pharaoh. However, God protected Moses all the way through the ordeal especially given all the plagues. God also allowed him to lead his people out of bondage.
What about Jonah? He did not want to go to Nineveh and speak to the Ninevites . He went out of his way to disobey God and boarded a boat to Tarshish [Nineveh is representative of God’s plan and Tarshish is representative of man’s plan. Man goes to one of these cities everyday.]. Because of his disobedience, God allowed a whale to swallow him. However, through Jonah, over 100,000 souls repented. I think I’m responsible for three.
Jeremiah the Prophet also suffered. They put him in chains and imprisoned him . They threw him into a dungeon  where he just about died . Jeremiah did not want to prophesy to the people because he felt unworthy and incapable of speaking to the masses . In fact, Jeremiah accused God of forcing him to be a prophet  and at one time even said that He’d not speak God’s Word  again. However, guess who won that battle. Jeremiah even wished that he’d never lived , and yet God made Jeremiah a prophet and gave him the responsibility of authoring a complete book of the greatest literary work of all time, the Bible.
As for Paul in the New Testament, he certainly struggled through the persecution of his faith in Christ. Consider that Five times Paul received 39 lashes, he was stoned once and beaten three times with rods, the king was after him, and three times experienced shipwreck. He was in constant danger. The list goes on and on. However, God allowed him to write 2/3’s of the New Testament .
I think we can safely say that these men struggled and suffered for the faith and look where they ended up and how greatly God blessed them.
HOW TO GROW IN THE FAITH
Faith is the conduit between the soul and the spirit. With the three parts of man’s psyche, our faith now becomes two (soul and spirit) against one (flesh) and is a majority. We use our faith in Christ as many times as possible to make it a majority and it is how we renew our mind and grow in Christ. On the other hand, disobedience is the conduit between the soul and the flesh. Disobedience now becomes two (soul and flesh) against one (spirit) and is also a majority. This separates us from God, and is enmity against God.
Like Jeremiah, we can work through our struggles and grow in the faith that Christ allotted to each one of us . The Bible says that if we have the faith in Christ the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains. To grow in the faith, we first need to repent and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and welcome Him into our heart.
Then through prayer, reading His Word, and obeying what we read, we thus begin a relationship with Him. As we have already read, when we accept Jesus into our heart, we are then “In Christ.” It is then just a process of renewing our mind  and growing into Christ’s image . This is basically what regenerate man strives for. . .to be “In Christ” and to have fellowship with Him.
However, since God is perfect and immutable, we have to switch to God’s desires to see why He seeks us. Like we have learned, God made man in His own image, but something happened 6000 years ago under the Tree of Knowledge of Good and evil when Adam and Eve stopped by for a quick snack.
What is our take-away? The take-away is that no matter what the problem, situation, adversity, or judgement, God will always bless and give us the opportunity to repent and turn ourselves around. Remember that all things work together for those who love the Lord .
Although God is self-sufficient and doesn’t need anything or anybody, He does desire some things from us. What does God want from us that He would want to seek us?
Next week: What does God want from us?
 Ephesians 4:15, 16; John 15:10, 11; 2 Peter 3:16-18
 Exodus 3, 4
 Jonah 1
 Compare Hebrews 11:36 and Jeremiah 37:15, 16
 Jeremiah 38:6
 Jeremiah 38:10
 Jeremiah 1:4-8
 Jeremiah 20:7
 Jeremiah 20:9
 Jeremiah 20:14
 2 Corinthians 11:23-33
 Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:6
 Romans 12:2
 Romans 8:29
 Romans 8:28