In the last video we talked about how important FAITH is for your new journey with God. We talked about how challenges in life actually build our faith stronger as we continue to trust God through the challenge. Now sometimes, the challenge isn’t just some random life event, it’s Satan trying to discourage you. Satan can tempt us to doubt God’s goodness. Maybe he’s already trying to get you to doubt the decision you recently made to follow Christ and tempting you to go back to an old way of life.
As a defense, we can use our FAITH to protect us. This is why the Bible says, “In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” Ephesians 6:16 NLT
Your faith can stop the enemy from piercing you with discouragement. That’s why in this video, I want to give you two more ways to build your faith because the stronger your faith, the better your defense! Think of these faith builders as Food and Fire for your spiritual journey.
The first is to Read the Bible. Now the Bible might seem overwhelming to you if you’ve never read it before, but let me just simplify it for you. It’s God’s love letter to us. It’s a continual story of God working his plan to redeem his most prized possession in all creation, you and me. The Bible has 66 books in it that are authored by 40 different people over a period of about 1500 years. They all speak consistently about God which is pretty amazing if you think about it. Getting two people to speak consistently about something today is hard enough, must less 40 people! Yet they were all writing the same things about God--his character, his plans, his desires, his expectations of us.
Now I won’t be able to dive into all the details, but I do want to hit a few big points about the Bible. The Bible has two major parts, the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament is everything before Jesus and the New Testament is when Jesus comes to earth and after. Some of the Bible are stories, some poetry, some prophecies and warnings, and some are letters written to Christians from church leaders and some are Jewish laws for the nation of Israel.
The big overarching point of the Bible is telling a story about how God wants a relationship with us, and how he made that possible through his Son Jesus. It’s God’s message of hope and love to you and me. NOW here’s an important thing to remember about the BIble. The Bible isn’t like any other book. God will speak to you through the Bible. That’s why Christians will read it over and over and over again because there are different things that will pop out each time you read it. God can speak through the Bible something that you need to hear for that day. Think of the Bible as food for your soul. You probably have eaten the same kind of food over and over again and yet everytime it gives you the nutrition you need. When you consume what God is speaking to you, it gives you life for your spirit!
In fact, Jesus said this about God’s Word, “But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NLT
CHALLENGE PART 1
I want to encourage you to do two things when it comes to reading the Bible.
- The first thing is to download the Bible app. Life Church created this app and it’s amazing. Go on there and find a reading plan and dive in! See if you can read the Bible everyday.
- Second thing is to start with reading the Gospel of John. It’s the fourth book in the New Testament. It’s okay if you don’t understand everything, but it will tell you the story of Jesus when he was here on earth. Be sure to use an easy translation to understand, like the New International Version (NIV) or the New Living Translation (NLT).
Okay the second way to build your faith is PRAYER. Prayer isn’t some mystical, weird exercise. It’s a conversation between you and God. It might seem a little forced or unfamiliar at first, but the key is to trust that God is hearing you.
The Bible says this about prayer, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6 NLT. Think of prayer as an antidote for worry. So pray about everything that you’re concerned with, your family, your work, your future, your feelings, your struggles, your fears, all of it.
And the key to prayer is to simply trust that God hears you and that he wants to help you. This is where faith and effective prayer meet.
Now don’t get discouraged if God doesn’t “answer” your prayer right away. Here’s what God does. He always answers our prayers. He might say yes, he might say no, or he might say wait. But he always answers. This is where journaling your prayer and their answer can really help. You can see how God has helped you! There’s nothing more fun and faith building than watching your prayers become a reality. It can be like a fire for your faith!
CHALLENGE PART 2
Okay this week, try praying for at least five minutes a day. It might help to make a prayer list. This can be a note on your phone that lists the things you’re grateful for, the closest people in your life, and the needs you have. The power isn’t in impressive religious words, but in the fact that you believe God is hearing your every word. Five minutes a day, you got this.
Alright, it’s time to build your faith so you can be strong for the journey, no matter if a challenge, a trial, the enemy or anything else comes against you, you’ll have the faith to press forward.
The next video is all about the Holy Spirit! Stay on the journey! You got this!
Video #4: Compass
Video #5: Don't Travel Alone
Video #6: Sharing on the Journey
Video #7: Inviting Others
Video #8: Next Steps