Feed your faith or you will backslide

Some time ago I came across an interesting example of how one particular individual gave up praying.  When this individual was 26 years old, he went on a hunting expedition with his brother.  When night came they pitched a tent in the forest to eat and sleep.  Just before they lay down, he knelt to pray as he had done from infancy.  When he arose his brother said “so you are still doing those things are you?”  That was all that was said, but it was enough – from that night onwards he stopped praying.  Thirty years had  now  passed and  in all those thirty years he had never prayed or attended church.

It wasn’t the sneer of his brother that changed him.   No the reality was that his religious life had become so shallow and so hollow that the pressure “of a finger” was sufficient to overthrow it. If this young man had properly fed and nurtured his religious faith over the years, he would have been strong and the sneer would have had no effect, but because he had neglected his faith, one phrase was all it took to give it up!

This incident reminds us of the vital importance of “feeding our faith”.  Many people in this country are similar to this man. They used to go to Sunday School, they used to go to Church, they used to read their Bible and  they used to pray.  But all these things are now a distant memory to them.  If you ask them why they stopped these things they will give a wide variety of reasons – Church was too lively or too dull, or work colleagues or family laughed at their beliefs or perhaps they took offence at a sermon, or something a member of the congregation said – the list is endless.  However, although they could give a wide variety of reasons, sadly the underlying cause is almost always the same – they had neglected to feed and nurture their faith.  Because of this failure and neglect it only took one or two  small incidences to “put them off altogether”.  What form the actual incidences were is largely irrelevant; it was the failure to feed their faith that was the real issue.

Constantly Scripture exhorts us to take our salvation seriously and work at our relationship with God, “with trembling and fear”.  It is not something of little value which we don’t have to bother much about – it is a matter of the greatest urgency and greatest importance – something which needs to be given our top priority.  In Philippians Chapter 2 it states “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”, in 2nd Peter Chapter 1 it adds, “be diligent to make your calling and salvation sure”, and in Hebrews 2 it warns “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”  Scripture is filled with such warnings with perhaps the most well known being from Matthew  Chapter 16, “What does a man profit if he gains even the whole world, but loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Every day we need to “feed our faith, and feed our relationship with God”, by praying and reading His message to us – the Bible.  It is not something we should be casual about – it is something that should be our top priority.  We need to remember that either Jesus is exactly who He said He was – the Very Son of God, in which case, we need to take His teaching profoundly seriously, or else He is the greatest deceiver the human race has ever experienced – its either one or the other.  And if He really is who He said He was, then feeding our faith and growing our relationship with Him is absolutely vital. There is nothing else as important.

“No time for Jesus?
What fools we are, to clutter up
Our lives with common things
And leave without hearts gate
The Lord of life and life itself –
Our God!

No time for Jesus?
As soon to say no time
To eat or sleep or love or die
Take time for God,
Or you shall dwarf your soul,
When the angel death
Comes knocking at your door,
A poor misshapen thing you’ll be
To step into eternity!

No time for Jesus?
That day when sickness comes
Or trouble finds you out
And you cry out for God;
Will He have time for you?

No time for Jesus?
Some day you’ll lay aside
This mortal self and make your way
To worlds unknown,
And when you meet Him face to face
Will He – should He,
Have time for you?
            Norman L. Trott