I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and ask that His blessings, love, and direction be abundantly with you.
Shall Jesus find faith on earth?
This month’s reflection is found in Luke 18:8, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (King James 1611).
Sometimes I meet young people who ask me about faith. What troubles youth the most is knowing if their faith is strong and sincere. This also happens to adults. One of the characteristics of human beings of the time of the end, according to the Bible, will be that they will lack faith, the true biblical faith, or at least sufficient of it. This is a serious problem, because true happiness comes as a consequence of pleasing God, of living in harmony with Him; without faith it is impossible for this to happen. (Heb. 11:6). How can we know if we have faith? Does this enigma worry you or leave you perplexed?
Analyze with sincerity
I would like to share with you some steps based on the Word of God that will help you confirm your faith. First of all we must analyze our life, motives, acts, etc. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” 2 Cor. 13:5 (NKJV). God speaks today. The analysis must be sincere. Paul says that each one should esteem himself in moderation. Romans 12:3. Other versions use terms like “good judgment,” “temperance,” “realistic” or “good sense.”
Our tendency is to go to extremes: Either we condemn ourselves exaggeratedly or we excuse everything. Moderation is key. If we analyze ourselves, often we develop the faculty of introspection, so necessary to learn to think, to reason from cause to effect, to detect what is not right. We live in the “pudding age”; everything comes to us reasoned, done, prepared so that we receive it without considering if it is right or wrong. But the Lord asks us to learn to analyze things, especially ourselves.
There are several questions you can ask yourself: Have I improved in relation to the past? Have I overcome sin? Do I still embrace the message? Do I like it? Have I been sincere in confessing my sin? Do I rejoice in my faith or am I ashamed of it in front of others? There is nothing better than recognizing our true situation in order to access the solution. If we deceive ourselves there will be no progress.
Verify my line of communication
Today we are very familiar with the terms: “line,” “Wi-Fi,” etc. If these connections are missing, telephones and computers do not function and this causes chaos because our modern societies are structured around these technologies. One can also mention the electrical lines, when they fail the home is unsettled. Every Christian should check his line of communication with heaven: Prayer and the study of the Bible. Do I have my personal devotional time every day? How much time do I dedicate to the things of God?
Remember that the Bible teaches that faith comes by listening, reading, learning the Word of God. Romans 10:17. Going to church, hearing the topics that are preached, and participating in Sabbath School are fine, but this does not replace personal study. Prayer is the same. We can pray in the family worship, in the church, but what really strengthens the soul is personal private prayer. “There is great need of self-examination and secret prayer. God has promised wisdom to those who ask Him.” Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, pg. 313. “When secret prayer and reading of the Scriptures are neglected today, tomorrow they can be omitted with less remonstrance of conscience.” Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, pg. 160.
God has ordained a great blessing for those who embrace the Bible and make it their own. Revelation 1:3. In the same way, the one who develops the habit of praying will be strengthened and blessed by God. Ask yourself: Do I have experiences of answered prayers? Do I receive blessings from God? Have I been able to prove that God speaks to me through His Word?
Personal testimony: fruits
It is also a good indicator to know if we have faith by asking ourselves if we are in harmony with our brethren. If I do not have a good relationship with the brethren, family, or friends, if I fight with one or the other, something is failing in my faith. The quarrelsome character destabilizes the church. There is a caution against those who sow dissension and discord. Proverbs 26:20; 6:16-19.
If one has unswerving faith, he will support the church, its projects, missionary plans, order, and doctrine. If you constantly criticize the organization, its leaders, its methods, live in dissension with the body, your faith will be weak. Recall that the church must have uniformity; it is good and necessary to be united in diversity of characters, but there should not be doctrinal diversity. Ephesians 4:5.
Paul was a man of unwavering faith, but for him the church—after Christ—was everything. He speaks in his epistles of “knowing how to conduct oneself in the church,” of “being in the body,” “being part of the body,” of “avoiding dissent or arguments” of “living in harmony with one another.” Promote unity in the church, be a factor of cohesion and not of disunity. Be a peacemaker and this will give you more satisfaction than all the money in the world. Matthew 5:9.
Another factor of faith is the preaching of the Gospel. Jesus asks us to preach the Gospel. Mark 16:15. The apostle Paul says: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” 1 Corinthians 9:16. I encourage you to share your faith with other young people and acquaintances. Do it in a simple and humble way; maybe some will reject you but others will hear and receive the word with joy. Do not be ashamed to be a follower of Christ. Some useful questions: Has anyone come closer to God through me? Have they told me? Have I blessed someone for my personal ministry?
Act by faith, not by sight
The apostle Paul invites us to act by faith and not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7. Actually every young person should have the following motto: Do what must be done because it is fair and leave God the rest. Abraham obeyed God’s command, he did it by faith. It was not at all pleasant to sacrifice his son, on the contrary, he tried his faith to the utmost. There was not a fiber in his body that was not shaken by that illogical order for him. The patriarch acted by faith and not because he understood it or was pleasing to him. He did it because God asked him to, because it had to be done.
Dear young person, in life you will find extraordinary situations in which you must choose. Sometimes what our faith dictates is not in harmony with our feelings and emotions, as was the case with Abraham. Remember also those three young men who were forced to adore the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had commanded to erect. Your response confirms what we are discussing: “… O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:16-18. They were more than convinced of God’s ability to save them, but their faith was not based on this, but on trusting in divine justice and leaving to God the final decision. As I said before, do what must be done because it is fair and leave God the rest. This is not a question that is going to develop naturally in you, but you should ask God to help you and put in you that spirit of courage and fidelity.
There are also measures of faith; there are people who develop great faith and others who remain dwarfed. It’s your decision. Some say, “I do not think God can do this in my life,” for example, and surely He will not. Others, however, act like that Roman centurion who told Jesus that he did not have to go to his house to heal his servant. It was enough with a word spoken by the Master at a distance to heal the sick person. And so it was, Jesus rewarded his faith. A single word of the Savior was enough to make the miracle; the centurion believed it, he accepted that in his mind and Jesus did not disappoint him. The words of the Master dedicated to that man were: “… Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Matthew 8:10.
Jesus told the following to a man who also awaited a miracle from Him: “… If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 8:23. Faith is the powerful thing we want it to be, but it is based on the will of God and not on our desires. Remember the three Hebrew youth: “God has the power to deliver us and he can do it, but we leave our case in His hands.” This is true faith. A single grain of doubt can ruin a hundred pounds of faith. How do you act when it comes to taking steps of faith? By feelings and emotions? Out of fear? For love of God? Do you do it even if you do not understand it, even if it costs you, even if you lose because it is your duty? Make the prayer of the disciples of Christ your own: “Increase our faith!”
A saving faith
The most important phase of faith is that which makes possible the forgiveness of God and eternal salvation. Faith is a restorative and reconciling element because it brings us closer to Him who is the only one who can forgive us and reconcile us to God. You need to believe that if you go to God in search of forgiveness and restoration you will receive it. God is offended by doubt. If we confess our sins with faith, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.
“If you believe the promise,—believe that you are forgiven and cleansed,—God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised. Jesus says, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. There is a condition to this promise—that we pray according to the will of God. But it is the will of God to cleanse us from sin, to make us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life. So we may ask for these blessings, and believe that we receive them, and thank God that we have received them.” Steps to Christ pg. 51.
Do you believe in Jesus as your personal Savior? Paul teaches us that “the just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17. Dear youth, I finish with the question I started with: How do I know if I have faith? The answer lies in exercising it without hesitation. May all our will, directed by the Spirit of God, be focused on making God’s promises our own. May the Lord bless you richly and grant you peace and love. Amen.
José Vicente Giner
Pastor and Director of the Youth Department