Building Faith to Move Mountains
“I DO have faith; oh, help me to have more!” These were the words of the distraught father of the epileptic boy mentioned in the preceding article. (Mark 9:24, The Living Bible) It may be that this statement also reflects your feelings. If so, be assured that you are not alone. World conditions today tend to weaken faith in God and his Word. Atheistic philosophy, materialism, crises in the churches, and the frightful increase in violence all tend to undermine true faith. Very appropriate, then, was Jesus Christ’s question, “When the Son of man arrives, will he really find the faith on the earth?”—Luke 18:8.
On one occasion, even Jesus’ apostles pleaded, “Give us more faith.” Instead of miraculously giving them more faith, however, he said: “If you had faith the size of a mustard grain, you would say to this black mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea!’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:5, 6) So, just how can we get more faith?
The apostle Paul wrote: “How . . . will they put faith in him of whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach? . . . So faith follows the thing heard. In turn the thing heard is through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:14-17) It follows, then, that if we want more faith, we must hear and take in knowledge of the Scriptures. That is what the previously mentioned quadriplegic did. Jehovah’s Witnesses studied the Bible with him, he gained faith, and then applied what he learned in his daily life. Thus he found faith so as to remove the mountainlike obstacle in his life.
It takes time to gather the convincing evidence as the basis for faith. (Hebrews 11:1) And it takes effort. Are you willing to spend time and put forth effort on a regular basis so as to gather the evidence needed to build faith?
“Blocks” for Building Faith
The process of building faith can be likened to the erecting of a structure. Even the largest buildings are made up of individual building blocks. Each block is put into place with hundreds of other blocks to give the building the stability needed to withstand violent storms as well as the ravages of time. Faith, too, is based on individual “blocks” of evidence carefully lined up in relation to others. Each “block” will add to the evidence that God exists, that he is the Creator of all things, and that he has a purpose involving his human creation. Just what are these building “blocks”?
In the first place, take a look at your own body. Do you not see convincing evidence of a Creator, for instance, in your fantastic brain—an organ that science cannot even dream of imitating? Can you say as did the psalmist, “In a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made”? (Psalm 139:14) If you can, then you have one “block” with which to build your faith.
Do you find further evidence of a loving Creator in the infinite variety and beauty of trees, plants, and flowers? Can you see such evidence in animal, bird, and marine creatures and in their interdependence as well as their importance to mankind? If we are willing to listen, we can “hear” all of them declare, ‘God exists!’—Romans 1:20.
Nevertheless, belief in the existence of the Creator is not enough. To answer questions about him and his purposes, we need a revelation from this invisible, all-wise God. And we have it! Where? In the Bible. But many do not consider this source of information to be as reliable as the visible creation around us.
However, there is abundant proof, convincing evidence, that the Bible is a book inspired of God. For example, the harmony that exists among its writers—about 40 in all, writing during 16 centuries—is evidence of one Author, Jehovah God. Time and again the findings of true science and archaeology have also proved the Bible to be authentic and reliable. For instance, astronomer Robert Jastrow wrote: “The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”
Consider just one example of how archaeology has confirmed the Bible record. At 2 Kings 18:13-15, we read: “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib the king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and proceeded to seize them.” At that time “the king of Assyria laid upon Hezekiah the king of Judah three hundred silver talents and thirty gold talents.” In confirmation, during the 19th century archaeologist A. H. Layard discovered what is called King Sennacherib’s Prism. Its cuneiform text reads: “As for Hezekiah the Jew, who did not submit to my yoke, 46 of his strong, walled cities, . . . I besieged and took. . . . I added to the former tribute, and laid upon him as their yearly payment, a tax . . . 30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver.” A remarkable corroboration of the Bible record, differing only in the amount of the silver tax!
Other “Blocks” for Building Faith
Outstanding among building “blocks” are those furnished by the fulfillment of Bible prophecies. A prophecy is a prediction of some future event. When that event occurs, it stamps the prediction as true. Such prophecies are beyond the ability of man, and the Bible correctly states: “Prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21) A look at a few of such Bible prophecies certainly is faith strengthening.
About 732 B.C.E., Isaiah foretold the downfall of Babylon at the hands of the Medes and the Persians, even giving the name of the conqueror, Cyrus. Remarkably, this prophecy was given some 200 years before Cyrus took Babylon! In part, the prophecy speaks of Jehovah as “the One saying to the watery deep, ‘Be evaporated; and all your rivers I shall dry up.’” It was foretold that God would ‘open before Cyrus the two-leaved doors, so that even the gates would not be shut.’ “The copper doors I shall break in pieces, and the iron bars I shall cut down,” said Jehovah, “and I will give you the treasures in the darkness.” (Isaiah 44:24–45:3) How was this prophecy fulfilled?
It happened on a night of drunken revelry for Babylon and her princes. Unnoticed and under the cover of night, the army of Cyrus worked diligently to divert the waters of the Euphrates River, which passed through the center of the city. This allowed the soldiers to enter Babylon by the riverbed. The river gates had carelessly been left open during the feasting. Hence, the Medes and the Persians had no difficulty in taking Babylon and all its treasures. Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in all its details.
Jehovah God also saw fit to make Jesus Christ the focal point of many prophecies foretelling details of his birth, life, ministry, and death, some of them written centuries in advance. For example, it was foretold that he would be born in the tribe of Judah of David’s family (Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 11:1, 2) and in the town of Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) One close associate would be unfaithful and would betray him for 30 pieces of silver. (Psalm 41:9; Zechariah 11:12) Lots would be cast for his garments. (Psalm 22:18) He would be pierced, but none of his bones would be broken. (Zechariah 12:10; Psalm 34:20) Daniel 9:24-27 foretold the coming of Jesus as the Messiah, or Christ, after 69 weeks of years, a period of 483 years running from 455 B.C.E. until Jesus’ baptism in 29 C.E. Half a “week” (3 1/2 years) later, in 33 C.E., Jesus was “cut off” in death as foretold. Other details of the prophecy were also fulfilled.
These are but a few “blocks” that can be used to build the faith that can move mountains. To gather all of them together and put them in their place takes time, effort, and perseverance. But it has been done. John, living in Santos, Brazil, can testify that it can be done. Some years ago, he was indifferent toward religion, having no faith in the Bible, although he did believe that God exists. John agreed to visits by one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Weekly discussions finally convinced John that the Bible was not an ordinary book, and he finally “accepted it, not as the word of men, but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) It took time, but further Bible studies helped John to understand God’s purpose toward mankind. Finally, in 1970 he was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now, as an appointed congregation elder, he helps others to build up and maintain their faith.
Do you want help in building up your faith? If so, remember that “faith follows the thing heard. In turn the thing heard is through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17) More than 3,000,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses are diligently spreading “the word about Christ” and God’s Kingdom in more than 200 lands. They will be glad to help you learn more about God’s Word through free Bible discussions.
Rest assured that the time you devote to listening to “the thing heard” will be time well spent. It could help you to build faith that moves mountains. This, in turn, could lead to eternal life, “for God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”—John 3:16.
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“BLOCKS” for Building Faith
Appreciate the things that Jehovah has made
Accept the Bible as God’s Word
Note how archaeology and history confirm the Bible record
Examine the fulfillment of Bible prophecies