“Help me out where I need faith!”
SONGS: 81, 135
1. How important is faith? (See opening picture.)
HAVE you ever asked yourself, ‘Will Jehovah want to save me during the great tribulation?’ The apostle Paul said that one very important quality we need in order to survive is faith. He said: “Without faith it is impossible to please God well.” (Hebrews 11:6) That might sound simple, but the truth is that “faith is not a possession of all people.” (2 Thessalonians 3:2) Those two scriptures help us understand how important it is to strengthen our faith.
2, 3. (a) How important is our faith? (b) What will we now consider?
2 The apostle Peter talked about a “tested” faith. (Read 1 Peter 1:7.) The great tribulation is very near, and we want to be “the sort who have faith for the preserving of our lives.” (Hebrews 10:39) So we need to work hard to strengthen our faith. We want to be among those who are rewarded when Jesus Christ, our King, is revealed. So, like the man who begged Jesus for more faith, we too may say: “Help me out where I need faith!” (Mark 9:24) Or, like the apostles, we may also say: “Give us more faith.”
3 In this article, we will consider the following points: how we can build our faith, how we can show that our faith is strong, and why we can be sure that God will answer us when we ask for more faith.
GOD IS PLEASED WHEN WE BUILD OUR FAITH
4. Whose examples can move us to strengthen our faith?
4 Because faith is so important, Jehovah has given us many examples of faith in the Bible. These “were written for our instruction.” (Romans 15:4) The examples of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, and many others can move us to strengthen our own faith. (Hebrews 11:32-35) In addition to examples from the past, we also have amazing examples of faith among our brothers and sisters today. * (See footnote.)
We have amazing examples of faith among our brothers and sisters today
5. How did Elijah show that he had strong faith in Jehovah, and what should we ask ourselves?
5 An example from the Bible is the prophet Elijah. As you meditate on his example, notice five situations in which he showed this strong trust in Jehovah. (1) When Elijah told King Ahab that Jehovah would bring a drought, he confidently declared: “As surely as Jehovah the God of Israel whom I serve is living, during these years there will be no dew or rain.” (1 Kings 17:1) (2) Elijah believed that Jehovah would give him and others what they needed during the drought. (1 Kings 17:4, 5, 13, 14) (3) Elijah was also sure that Jehovah could resurrect a widow’s son. (1 Kings 17:21) (4) He had no doubt that Jehovah’s fire would consume his sacrifice on Mount Carmel. (1 Kings 18:24, 37) (5) Even before any rain had fallen, Elijah said with confidence to Ahab: “Go up, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy downpour.” (1 Kings 18:41) So after considering these experiences, we can ask ourselves, ‘Is my faith as strong as Elijah’s?’
WHAT CAN WE DO TO BUILD OUR FAITH?
6. What is needed from Jehovah to build our faith?
6 Since we cannot build our faith on our own, we need to ask God for holy spirit. Why? Because faith is a part of the fruitage of the holy spirit. (Galatians 5:22) We are wise when we follow Jesus’ counsel to pray for more holy spirit. Jesus promised that Jehovah will “give holy spirit to those asking him.”
We are wise when we follow Jesus’ counsel to pray for more holy spirit
7. Describe how we can keep our faith strong.
7 Once we have strong faith in God, we must maintain it. We can compare faith to a fire. When we start a fire, the flames can be very strong. However, if we do not add wood to the fire, it will eventually burn out and turn into cold ashes. But if we regularly add wood to the fire, we can keep it burning. It is the same with our faith. If we continue to read and study God’s Word daily, our love for the Bible and Jehovah will grow. As a result, we will maintain and strengthen our faith.
8. What will help you to build and maintain your faith?
8 You must not be satisfied with only the things you learned before your baptism. (Hebrews 6:1, 2) For example, studying Bible prophecies that have already been fulfilled will help you to build and maintain your faith. You can also use God’s Word to see whether your faith is really strong.
9, 10. How is our faith strengthened by (a) good friends? (b) congregation meetings? (c) preaching?
9 The apostle Paul said that Christians can “have an interchange of encouragement by one another’s faith.” (Romans 1:12) What does that mean? When we spend time with our brothers and sisters, we can strengthen one another’s faith. This is especially true when we spend time with those who have a “tested” faith. (James 1:3) Bad friends destroy our faith, but good friends build it. (1 Corinthians 15:33) That is why we are counseled to attend the meetings regularly. There, we can keep on “encouraging one another.” (Read Hebrews 10:24, 25.) In addition, the instruction we receive at the meetings strengthens our faith. The Bible says that “faith follows the thing heard.” (Romans 10:17) So ask yourself, ‘Are Christian meetings a regular part of my life?’
10 We also strengthen our faith when we preach and teach the good news of the Bible to others. Like the early Christians, we learn to trust in Jehovah and speak boldly in any situation.
11. Why did Caleb and Joshua have strong faith, and how can we be like them?
11 Our faith in Jehovah grows when we see how he helps us and how he answers our prayers. That is what happened to Caleb and Joshua. They showed faith in Jehovah when they spied out the Promised Land. As time passed, their faith became stronger each time they saw how Jehovah helped them. Joshua could confidently tell the Israelites: “Not one word out of all the good promises that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed.” He later said: “Therefore, fear Jehovah and serve him with integrity and faithfulness.” Then he added: “As for me and my household, we will serve Jehovah.” (Joshua 23:14; 24:14, 15) When we trust in Jehovah and see how he helps us personally, our faith will become stronger.
HOW WE CAN DEMONSTRATE OUR FAITH
12. How do we show that we have strong faith?
12 How do we show that we have strong faith? The disciple James said: “I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18) Our actions show that we have strong faith. Let us see how.
13. How do we demonstrate our faith when we preach?
13 Preaching is an excellent way to demonstrate our faith. Why? Because when we preach, we show that we believe that the end is near and that “it will not be late!” (Habakkuk 2:3) To know whether our faith is strong, we can ask ourselves: ‘How important is preaching to me? Am I doing all that I can to tell others about God? Do I look for ways to do more in my service to Jehovah?’ (2 Corinthians 13:5) Let us show the strength of our faith by making “public declaration for salvation,” that is, by preaching the good news.
14, 15. (a) How can we show faith in our daily lives? (b) Share an experience that shows strong faith in action.
14 We also show our faith in Jehovah as we endure the challenges of life in this world. When we are sick, discouraged, depressed, poor, or have other problems, we must have faith that Jehovah and Jesus will “help us at the right time.” (Hebrews 4:16) We show faith in Jehovah when we ask him for help. Jesus said that we can ask Jehovah to give us “bread according to our daily needs.” (Luke 11:3) Accounts in the Bible prove that Jehovah can give us anything we need. For example, during a severe drought in Israel, Jehovah gave food and water to Elijah. The Bible says that “the ravens were bringing him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the stream.” (1 Kings 17:3-6) We have faith that Jehovah can also give us what we need.
15 We are confident that when we apply Bible principles, we will be able to care for the needs of our family. Rebecca, a married sister in Asia, explains how she and her family applied the principles at Matthew 6:33 and Proverbs 10:4. She says that her husband felt that his job was a danger to their relationship with Jehovah. So he left his job. But they had four children to care for, so they started making food they could sell. As a result of their hard work, they always made enough money to care for the needs of the family. She says: “We felt that Jehovah never abandoned us. We never missed a single meal.” Have you had a similar experience that strengthened your faith?
We are confident that when we apply Bible principles, we will be able to care for the needs of our family
16. What will happen if we trust in God?
16 We should never doubt that if we follow Jehovah’s direction, he will help us. Paul quoted Habakkuk’s words when he said: “The righteous one will live by reason of faith.” (Galatians 3:11; Habakkuk 2:4) That is why we should have strong faith in the One who really can help us. Paul reminds us that God is “the one who can, according to his power that is operating in us, do more than superabundantly beyond all the things we ask or conceive.” (Ephesians 3:20) Jehovah’s servants do all they can to do God’s will, but they also know that they have limitations. We are so grateful that God is with us and that he is blessing all our efforts.
REQUESTS FOR FAITH ANSWERED
17. (a) How did Jesus answer the apostles? (b) Why can we expect that Jehovah will answer our requests for more faith?
17 From what we have considered, we may feel as the apostles did when they asked Jesus: “Give us more faith.” (Luke 17:5) Jesus answered his apostles in a special way at Pentecost in the year 33, when they received holy spirit and were able to get a deeper understanding of God’s purpose. This strengthened their faith. What was the result? They started the greatest preaching campaign up to that time. (Colossians 1:23) Can we expect our requests for more faith to be answered? Jehovah promises us that we can when “we ask according to his will.”
18. How does Jehovah bless those who build their faith?
18 When we have complete trust in Jehovah, he will be pleased with us. He will answer our request for more faith, our faith will become stronger, and we will become “worthy of the Kingdom of God.”