Growth of Eyes and Faith

Mother holding up childWhen a baby is first born and for the first month or so after birth, the visual acuity is only three feet or so. Three feet is important, for that is the distance that the child can see to find sustenance at mom’s breasts. As the child grows and life’s demands on mom increase, the baby can be away from mom but will be uncomfortable because it gets hungry. The baby who can only see three feet cannot find mom, the source of comfort. The discomfort presses the baby to begin to search, farther than three feet, for that source of comfort. As the baby searches, the visual neurological system from the retina, through the optic nerve system, to the back of the brain and the visual cortex is exercised, stretched, and strengthened. All this is naturally set in motion according to design for growth and strengthening. This is a metaphor for how faith is grown and/or strengthened.

At spiritual birth (John 3:3&7), we begin with three-foot faith. God holds us very close and nurtures us as we have needs (Matthew 6:8 & 32-33, Philippians 4:19). He meets a spiritual discomfort almost as fast at it appears so we learn to trust that He will meet our needs. As we grow, He will put us in our spiritual cribs and goes about business immediately away from us so we will search for Him in our discomfort and strengthen the eyes of faith (Luke 17:5-10). As we continue to grow, we can count on Him to be there to meet the need we have not learned to meet or that we will never be able to meet. He is abiding in us and works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). He is not abiding in our natural senses but in our faith senses (Hebrews 11:6).

As infants, we can become uncomfortable and sense that mom is not near so we cry out for her. We must learn to do this with God as well (Hebrews 11:6). So we grow in prayer and in the variety of prayer. As mom comes to meet the baby’s cry, the baby learns that she is trustworthy to meet the need and so grows quiet as she enters the room. We likewise will grow quiet and peaceful in our spiritual anguish as we enter into worship and know that He is there to meet the need of our heart and soul (Psalm 22:3). Mom establishes the basis for trust in the baby by being trustworthy. God establishes the basis for trusting Him and only He knows how long to wait to meet the need so that the work of trust is causing us to grow spiritually faithful.

The baby will grow and be able to meet some needs as a child and becomes reliant upon self for some needs being met. We can grow the same way by reaching out into the world around us and trying to meet some needs within while all the while knowing that God is near to help when we get beyond our strength and ability. God does not have to tell you to thank Him for a meal, safe travel, or to delight in Him after you mature from childlike faith. We learn to do this in our life with Him and the results bring a sense of abiding in His Word for we are becoming like Jesus in our choices to trust Him even when we cannot see or hear Him (2 Corinthians 3:16-18).

Since we are to come as children to Him (Mark 10:15), we can trust that some growth in the spirit will be like that of a child. You cannot hurry growth, it has a schedule that is set from above. However, we can learn what we are taught and that He is available to come to us when the going gets beyond our growth and strengthening in Him.

We can see Him by faith (Hebrews 11:6) no matter where He is in the whole of creation. He is always with us and will in no way abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). Our baby sense of anxiousness is there to cause us to grow and learn that He is trustworthy in all things as we reach out and call out to Him. Endure the pain and discomfort and seek His face and watch diligently for Him to come at just the right time. That right time will likely be at the end of our ability to endure some things (Hebrews 12:2, 3, 7, & 20).

Weight lifterThere is another and more mature way to grow. The other way is the discipline to go to Him and abide with Him and know that He will work in us to abide in Him. Our spiritual muscles may ache from holding onto him as He works though situations we did not expect. That is good growth too. We may be confused by what we see Him doing or may even be frustrated that He has not done and what we believed He would do. These struggles are all a part and parcel of living in Him (Hebrews 10:31-39), for His ways are past our finding out (Job 9:10, Romans 11:33). Surely God must go to the worst place in the world to bring salvation, healing, comfort, mercy, and grace to a lost and dying world (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). We are not inherently good (Psalm 14:3 & 53:3, Romans 3:10 &12) so we must hang in there with Him and learn how to be good from Him. The latter stages of maturity are as full of pain as the regimen of a weight lifter going for the great prize of success at the top of his game. "No pain, no gain!" becomes a reality instead of just a phrase for others. The weight lifter does not cuss the pain but embraces the pain because he knows that he is going or has gone to another level and new strength will become his. When we are in God’s gym, He sets the schedule of exercise and then works beside us to lift well and more. He is not afraid of the pain and neither should we be when we trust Him as the Faith Coach. We must learn to count it all joy when we fall into various troubles (James 1:2-8). The outworking of the trouble will be maturing in knowing Him and the whole of knowing Him is being in relationship with Him.

As we gain more strength in the spiritual gym, we are able to do more in the rest of life without strain and pain. As the weight lifter can easily carry out the trash that may have strained another, the challenge has not changed, only the strength/faith to complete it. Each of us has a plan in God’s heart (Psalm 139) and we cannot look to each other to see what God will do in us. We will grow as we learn to look to Him in all that we learn to take on and grow. We will never get too old to grow spiritually. Put on the robe of righteousness (Job 29:14, Isaiah 59:17, & Ephesians 6:14), and get sweaty. It is the only logical, spiritual way to grow (Romans 12:1-2). We will be able to see to the ends of the universe using His eyes (2 Samuel 22:26-27, Psalm 18:25-26, Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:17-22, ). Be there no doubt about this, He wants us to be with Him where ever He goes and wants the relationship to work a delight in us (Psalm 37:3-4) that will fill our joy (John 15:11, 16:24, 1 John 1:4). Put on His robe of righteousness and get sweaty.