by Brandy Webb
I don’t want to be the Christian that is just a seat-warmer at services. I don’t want to be a surface Christian—the type who knows how to walk the walk and talk the talk but is empty on the inside. In other words, faith and true belief are not really deep in the soul.
You may be wondering what has brought this idea up in my mind? Or maybe you don’t even care, but I will share anyway. A dream I had during the Feast of Tabernacles is what has got me doing some deep soul-searching. I won’t go into all the details, but I will share the main part of my dream. I am in a debate over my religious beliefs. Basically, I am having to prove in my dream why I even believe in God. The person that is debating me is highly intelligent. Surprisingly, I am able to answer the questions, I wish I remembered what they were. After the debate the individual that was asking me the questions actually tells me I did a really good job, but she wonders if that is all I can really do, just answer the questions. I’m confused and she basically calls me an empty Christian. I ask her what she means, and she explains that it is someone who knows how to answer the questions, who on the surface looks and acts like a Christian, but deep inside there is no real faith. They are empty. At this point, I wake up, and for the first time in a long time, I pondered over a dream. In fact, obviously, it is still on my mind.
Am I empty on the inside?
James states that he will prove his faith by his works, but I’m realizing that doesn’t mean that having lots of works necessarily means you have lots of faith. The faith has to come first. I do believe in God the Father and in Jesus Christ our Messiah, but I struggle with having the faith to really think I am, for sure, on the road to the Kingdom of God. I mean if it was so easy to make it to the Kingdom of God, then Paul wouldn’t need to remind us over and over again that we must persevere, that we must run the race and win.
Sometimes I feel that I will not be in the first resurrection. That I am a not a true disciple of Christ and that I do not manifest the Holy Spirit like He says His people will be able to do. Plus, I worry a lot. Faith does not have worry.
Therefore, I am pondering this dream, and asking myself how I can build up my faith so that I am definitely not empty on the inside. I mean, who wants to be like a beautiful house on the outside, but inside is nothing but a slab, bare walls, and windows. From the outside, the house looks awesome, but on the inside there is nothing in there that would make it possible to live in the house. We are the temple of God; we want His Spirit to dwell in us, and it doesn’t matter how the outside looks if the inside is empty.
I hope I don’t sound depressed, because really I am not. I am actually realizing that I have been given an opportunity to open my eyes and get a spiritual workout started. First place to start is to go straight to the Word, but before you or I go to the Bible we must believe that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). We must have faith in the Word and take refuge in it. So, believe in the Bible, believe in its words, and read the Word. Hold fast to the fact that “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God…. All things came into being through Him” (John 1:1 & 3).
I like to read it aloud sometimes to help me increase my faith because I take it to heart when Paul says “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17). Plus, it actually helps me to stay completely focused on what I am reading. When I read aloud I am not only focusing on the words, but I am also listening to them.
The other step is definitely prayer. I know that my knees sometimes need a good workout because I am not praying enough. How can we see answers to prayers if we aren’t praying? The other thing that goes with prayer, which is vital, is praise. Praise Him when the times are good and especially when they are not so good. Remember, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 118:24).
Another way to increase faith is to fellowship with others. Remember, “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; even as it has been written, “But the just shall live by faith” (Rom 1:17). It is through each other that we can “stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb 10:24-25). We weren’t meant to endure this walk alone.
I know that there are probably a lot more things that one can do to replenish their faith. It is easy to let this world zap it, but I know I must hold fast to God through His Word, prayer, praise, and with the help of others. Then, I must also trust Him in everything and live according to my faith.
Someone told me a few years back when I explained my fear that I didn’t have enough faith because I sure wasn’t moving mountains like the Messiah describes the faith of a mustard seed (Matt 17:20), that it is interesting that He chose to describe faith as a seed. The one important thing is a little seed has everything inside it to become the plant it needs to be, but it has to be nurtured and pruned to grow into the plant it is meant to be. Therefore, maybe the Messiah was saying that a little bit of faith has everything inside it to become big faith, and as long as we nurture and prune it, it can grow into its fullness.