I'm still plugging away at memorizing Colossians this year, two verses per week. It's been over a month since I memorized the following verses, but I can't seem to get them off my mind.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus your Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7
It's all good, but what I keep coming back to is the "abounding in it with thanksgiving" part. You see, I think of faith as either you have it or you don't. Have you responded to the gospel of truth with belief? Then you have faith in Christ. Either you believe in Christ or you don't. We even use the term believer to refer to a Christian.
Abounding refers to having something in a great amount or full supply. There can be an abundance or dearth of salt in the salt shaker, for instance. So it seems to be with faith. We can have a little faith in Christ or we can have a great deal of faith in Him.
What's even more interesting is that believers are responsible, to some degree at least, for the amount of faith we have. Paul couldn't very well tell the Colossians to abound in their faith if they had no control over that!
This brings me to the question of how we increase our faith until it's overflowing in abundance. Only God can open our eyes and unstop our ears, but once He's done that, once we've been "established in the faith", we are free to abound in it, or not.
So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Romans 10:17
Could it be this simple, yet profound? The more immersed we are in God's Word, the more our faith is strengthened.
I'm sure there are other things we can do that will strengthen our faith, like keeping a prayer journal, surrounding ourselves with godly friends, or studying molecular biology (it did for me, anyway). But, I believe the primary way God builds our faith in Him is through the ministry of His Word. Take these promises, for instance.
My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Psalm 23:6
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Do we really believe these promises? John Piper says that "this faith is the power that severs the root of sin." (Piper, Battling Unbelief p 15) "We throw against the promises of sin the promises of God. We kill sinful deeds before they happen by cutting the root of their life: the lies of sin. Doing this "by the Spirit" means that we trust in the power of the Spirit and then wield the "sword of the Spirit", which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17)." (Piper, Battling Unbelief, p 16)
This brings us back to the Colossians verses above. When viewed this way, "abounding in faith" enables us to "walk in Christ". It seems Paul is saying to abound in faith so that we can walk in Christ. And this is just what Piper is saying. If we really believe God's Word, if we really believe all those promises, then sin will lose its appeal. When our faith in the Lord is overflowing, or abounding, we're equipped to walk in obedience. God has revealed Himself to us in His Word. All of His promises, many already fulfilled, are recorded in the pages of Scripture. His Word feeds our faith in Him and the measure of our faith in Him determines the degree to which we'll walk in obedience.
So let's abound in faith together!