10 Jan Sustenance Of Faith For The New Year
I think the hardest thing when it comes to many of our blessed wishes and prayer topics for 2021 is to sustain our faith, a consistently reliant and submissive heart and mind to God.
I, for one, was hoping to restore my reading time of God’s word daily, but we are at the end of the first week of January and I only picked up the Bible as I was preparing this devotion a few days back. Reason being, I was so caught up with the tasks I wanted to complete that it overshadowed my time with God. There could be many other factors that could be pulling us away other than work needs. Like, say, family commitments, studies, peer influences, relationships, plain old tiredness and feeling the need for time of leisure over other things. We could even be able to sustain a blessed faith living for awhile now, but anything could happen in between to break that rhythm or steer us into distractions. However, sustenance of faith, though so easily wavered when unguarded, is yet the most integral part of our joy, peace and hope in the Lord. Needless to say, it would be the bull’s eye for Satan to hit us throughout the year, and precisely why we need to pray unceasingly for this sustenance.
Lacking on the right spiritual diet
Our faith is very much like our stomach that needs to be filled up. Our nature makes us always hungry for joy, for success, for recognition, for a hope in the future, for some sort of reassurance, for love. And as we are always seeking to be filled up and satisfied in these areas, we tend to put our faith on the next best thing that seems to fulfil our particular hunger. Like for myself, when I was in my younger days, I always crave for love and attention, and because I lacked that in my own family, I constantly seek love from friendships and rush into relationships. I was a people pleaser and try hard to stay in a popular social circle to feel accomplished. It fulfils me for awhile but the loneliness does not go and I got to face it every time I am on my own. So the question we can honestly reflect upon ourselves today is, when we are spiritually empty, down or “hungry”, what do you to tend to turn to? When it comes to sustaining our faith, we cannot find sources of spiritual food, outside of God. These are unhealthy diets that will not fill our spirits fully and keep us wanting for more. Therefore, the worldly things cannot be a side dish that we feed on for hope.
To sustain our faith, we need spiritual food
The hope and purpose of our faith has to come from God and God alone. If not, when we are not focused, that is where our faith is wavered and hard to sustain from other concerns and temptations. Here, I am talking about the source of our direction and perspective. We can still get busy with our work, hang out with our friends, take time out for leisure, but our purpose and motives should never deviate from God. For example, we work because it is what God has called us to diligently do, we hang out with our friends to exemplify love and be a witness for God if the opportunity comes, we take time out for leisure to rest our hearts and minds so that we can move forward more the next day. So then there is a blessed purpose in all we do that drives and sustains us.
Now how then, can I practically draw sustenance for my faith?
Well, as with all relationships, it requires intentional care, attention and time. The good news for us in this case, is that, the other party does not grow tired of waiting upon us to turn to Him and get into a deeper connection with. He is set in motion to help us build our faith in Him.
Lamentations 3:22-24 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him”.
Therefore, give time intentionally to turn to Him, that is the very first step. When I was at my most carnal state at around 20 or 21 years old, I was thankfully also given a lot of opportunities to come to church services, join a cell group, and hearing testimonies of God’s work in their lives. So even while I was battling my own weaknesses and desires, I was also quickly fed with the good messages from God’s word and people. Now the world is always ahead of us, trying to find ways to thwart our journey of growing our faith. But if we hold on to what is good in God, then we can have a clear and sound perspective in our own roles and fields. And that is how we sustain our faith, knowing how tempting and distracting our circumstances can be, and how much we need the Lord to keep our hearts and minds guarded and in check.
And from there, we need to carefully take counsel and convictions from His word. Not just from our own diligence to schedule a quiet time, or fix a 10 minutes prayer. We have to come before God’s word with a humbled and submissive heart each time, to let it have authority over every area of our lives. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Sometimes, we often feel that we cannot get any answers or convictions, but it could be that we have not put down certain desires or motives within us to clearly receive God’s response to our spirits. So battle through that and do not let it stop you from continually seeking the Lord’s perspective.
In sustenance of faith, there is no short cuts or easy way outs. It requires firstly, intention from seeing the need for God, and then keep immersing in His truth and God-loving people to battle through our own disobediences and doubts of the spirit. Sustenance comes with perseverance of the spirit from your faith that is pursuing after the Lord. And as James 1:2-4 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
So as we begin this new year, let us grow in our sustenance of faith by continually and unceasingly pursuing God’s word and His convictions for us in our own living.