“Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” (Ephesians 3:20 LB)
Faith is like a muscle: It can be strengthened. It can be weak or it can be strong, depending on how much you use it.
How does God build your faith? He uses a very predictable pattern. If you understand it, you can cooperate with him in developing greater faith. It’s like when the father, seeking help from Jesus for his son, said, “Have pity on us and help us, if you possibly can!” (Mark 9:22 TEV)
Jesus replied, “What do you mean, ‘If I can’? ... Anything is possible if a person believes” (Mark 9:23 NLT).
The first thing God does to build your faith is give you a dream. When God wants to work in your life, he always gives you a dream — about yourself, about what he wants you to do, about how he’s going to use your life to impact the world.
There are many examples in the Bible of this:
- God gave Noah the dream of building an ark.
- God gave Abraham the dream of being the father of a great nation.
- God gave Joseph the dream of being a leader that would save his people.
- God gave Nehemiah the dream of building the wall around Jerusalem.
How do you know when a dream is from God or when it’s just something you’ve thought up yourself? The Bible tells us that God “by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 LB).
In other words, if a dream comes from God, it will be so big in your life that you can’t do it on your own. If you could do it on your own, you wouldn’t need faith. And if you don’t have faith, you’re not pleasing God, because the Bible says whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
God starts to build your faith by giving you a dream. He may be speaking to you now, but you just don’t recognize it for what it is. That dream you have, the idea or concept you’ve been thinking about doing that would be of real benefit to other people — where do you think that idea came from?
God will never tell you to do something that contradicts his truth. In other words, he won’t give you a dream of leaving your family and kids and moving to Hollywood to be a movie star. If you have that dream, then you can know it is not from God.
God starts with a dream as he works within your life to build faith.
Talk About It
- What is it that you’ve been dreaming of doing?
- If you believe this dream is from God, what should you do with it?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.