As we spend time sitting at Jesus' feet listening to His Word, like Mary, we will see our faith and trust in God grow and increase (Lk.10:38-40). God wants us to have "great faith" so that he can do extra-ordinary things in us and through us, personally and as a church. He will lift us to a level of living far beyond what we are now experiencing.Observations about "Faith" (Luke 7:1-10):
- Faith is “believing and trusting in God and his Word” (Heb.11:1-2).
- Faith can be measured and it is not static. Our faith can goes up or down, it can grow smaller or larger.
- The Bible talks about “great faith” (Lk.7:9), “little faith” (Lk.12:28), “no faith” (Lk.8:25), “increasing faith” (Lk.17:5), “failing faith” (Lk.22:32) and “growing faith” (2 Thess.1:13).
- Faith pleases God (Heb.11:6). Unbelief displeases God and even makes him angry (Heb 3:16-19).
- Faith moves God to act (Lk.7:50; 8:48; 17:9; 18:42). Jesus said, “Your faith... “ In other words, without their faith, they would not have received certain blessings from God.
- Lack of faith limits God's work in our lives (Heb3:19). There are things God won't like to do (his will or intention) in and through my life that may not happen unless I believe and reach out in faith for them. How easy it is to live below the level of living God intends for us and to fall short of our potential in God.
The Holy Spirit wants to increase our faith and enlarge our capacity to believe God and to do great things in and through our lives. There are things that build our faith and help it grow. There are also things that destroy our faith and cause it to shrink.Faith Builders:
- Focus on Jesus (Heb.12:1-2). Fix your eyes on Jesus and trust him entirely with your life. His is in control and nothing happens in your life without him being aware of it. He is working all things, both good and bad, together for your ultimate good (Rom.8:28).
- Hear God's Word (Rom.10:17). Faith comes by hearing God's word, His written word, the quickened word or the prophetic word. God's word creates faith in our heart.
- Remember God's works (1 Sam.17:32-37). Previous experiences of God's goodness or faithfulness strengthen our faith and give us hope when we're facing difficult situations. If God brought us through before, he will do it again.
Sample Discussion Questions:
- Doubt (Mt.14:31. Jas.1:5-7). Doubt is being unsure of what God has said.
- Fear (Mk.4:35-41). Fear is focusing on the “giants” and “problems” in our life, rather than on God.
- Worry (Lk.12:22-31). Worry is allowing our mind to be consumed with all the negative things that could happen to us.
- Discouragement (Josh.1:9). Discouragement occurs when things aren't going the way we'd like them to. It can come from things like disappointment, unanswered prayer or difficult times.
- Share about someone you know who you think has “great faith”. What is it about their life caused them to come to your mind?
- Share a time in your life when you felt that your faith was “strong”. What happened that contributed to this?
- Share a time in your life when you felt that your faith was “weak”. What happened that contributed to this?
- Share some of the times in your life when God has “brought you through” that can be a source of faith for your future.
- Do you have any promises from God's Word that are a source of faith to you (give specific Scriptures)?
- In what areas do you think you have “doubt”?
- What are your biggest “fears”?
- What do you “worry” about the most?
- What “discourages” you the most?
The last four questions can be used as a “springboard” for sharing and praying with people in order to help them to place their “trust” totally in God even during difficult times. Speak in the promises of God to their life.
As a leader, your personal openness and vulnerability will encourage other people to “open up” and will also contribute to a greater depth of understanding and relationship in the group.