When I’m struggling to believe, how do I believe better/more? How do I get more faith for my situation? Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled: believe in God. Believe also in Me.”
Okay, but how do I believe, when I know I need to believe better, but I’m struggling? Is faith like a muscle that I exercise? No, faith/repentance is something that is granted to us. Jack Miller once told Rose Marie that the starting place for faith, is conviction of sin. I’ve never forgotten that. Has been enormously helpful in dealing with my flesh, the devil, and the worldly worship of strength/confidence/somebodiness. Fresh faith (repentance) comes from fresh conviction of sin, and conviction of sin comes from the Holy Spirit, not something I can generate within me, make happen on my own. Reading Scripture, listening to a sermon, might be used of the Spirit to freshly convict me of my sin, leading to repentance, but might not. But one thing I can do, is to ask for the Spirit, to come afresh and convict me of my sin of independence, so I can confess, and be temporarily set free to enjoy Jesus, and have a healthy indifference to all the other things vying for my focus, my worship, in my daily life. Ahhh, Jesus-dependency.
“No, Dave, you’re wrong: I don’t need any more conviction of sin: I see what a big sinner I am: my sin is everywhere before me.” Well, if you’re struggling to believe, the enemy has snookered you into believing a lie about something. I’d venture to guess that there is some area of your life that you are holding onto too tightly, that you are unwilling to turn loose of, some idol/agenda no matter how noble or seemingly selfless, that you are unwilling to die to, unwilling to offer up to God and say, “Not my will be done, but Yours.” Most likely it has to do with your own righteousness/performance/somebodiness, or the righteousness/performance/somebodiness of one of your kids: your confidence that you know best, how He should be ordering your life, and your being bummed, frustrated, or fearful, that He’s not listening to your prayers. You are not willing to fail, not willing to have your precious righteousness/reputation stripped from you. Jesus is not enough for you. Like He’s not enough for me, in my many less-sane moments.
–WeakDave, having the time of his life, with more healthy indifference to his areas of idolatry, because folks have been praying for fresh conviction of sin in his life (please pray now)