I love blackberries! I remember growing up as a child back East and picking blackberries from a blackberry bush in my friend’s backyard during the summertime. They were so sweet and delicious!
Blackberry plants are actually quite interesting. The plants consist of woody stems or branches called canes. Although the roots of blackberry plants last a long time, the canes or branches only live for 2 years.
In the first year, the new canes are referred to as primocanes. Primocanes do not produce fruit until their second year, when they are known as floricanes. It is the floricanes that produce berries and after the floricanes have produced their crop of luscious berries for that season, they interestingly…die. (I know this sounds like science class…but hang with me here!)
The floricane only produces blackberries for one year. And so the blackberry plant cannot rely on that cane…that old cane… to produce blackberries again! After that one season, that cane will never produce another blackberry!
And so just as the blackberry plant cannot rely on last season’s cane to produce berries again this season…the same is true with our faith.
We cannot just rely on our past faith…our old faith… to carry us through our present circumstances.
Our faith must continually be growing. And God wants to grow our faith…He wants to take us from faith…to faith. He wants to take us from faith…to greater faith!
So how about you? Are you relying on your old faith to get through a present circumstance?
I remember a season in my life when my mother was very ill. She was in the ICU at the hospital…in a coma… on a respirator…for 3 months. I didn’t know if she was going to live or die…but I continued to trust God.
I can tell you that facing this very difficult season in my life, my faith grew stronger…stronger than ever. I trusted and relied on God more than I ever had to in my entire life. And Praise Jesus! My mother amazingly recovered and made it through this difficult season!
Four years later, my mother became very ill again. My immediate cry to God was… “Lord…not again! I don’t think I can do this again! I had such strong faith the last time my mother became ill…I don’t think my faith will be strong enough to get me through this one!”
And so I found myself unable to rely on my old faith… I was unable to just rely on my past faith from 4 years ago. I had to develop new faith…new faith to face this new season.
Just like the blackberry plant…It cannot rely on its old floricanes…It must develop new primocanes…new canes to face its new berry-producing season.
Now we know that the blackberry plant is well rooted in the ground…and so too is our faith rooted in Christ. And being rooted is very important!
But God wants to build our faith. Wherever you are at today…If your faith is as small as a mustard seed or you have great faith…He still wants to build your faith! And that means not just relying on your old faith…not just relying on the faith you had to get you through the last difficult season in your life…
No…He wants to grow your faith…He wants to strengthen your faith…He wants to build your faith…He wants to give you new faith! He wants to take your old faith…and take you to greater faith! …To face current circumstances and challenges in your life!
Why? Because check out James 1:3 in these different bible translations!
Because you know that the testing of your faith…
…produces perseverance. NLT
…produces endurance. NASB
…produces steadfastness. ESV
…produces patience. KJB
The fruit of the blackberry plant is blackberries while the fruit of growing faith is perseverance…endurance…steadfastness…patience.
And why is this important?
So let it grow, for when your endurance [perseverance, steadfastness, patience] is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:4
Now as you have been reading this devotion, please don’t misunderstand me…there is a place for your old faith as you face new seasons in your life.
Our faith will be tested…as we face new seasons in our lives…as we face new circumstances or challenges in our lives…and our old faith will encourage us and strengthen us to go to the next level of faith.
Remembering our past victories and what God has done by pulling us through our past challenges spurs us to greater faith! It is a building process…God wants to build on our old faith to develop greater new faith.
And it is this building process…from faith to greater faith…that develops perseverance, endurance, steadfastness, patience in us!
And trust me…this is a lifelong process! Our faith should always be growing! We should never come to a place of satisfaction and complacency that we have reached a certain level of faith in our lives.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 NLT
So how should we respond to God taking our faith…to greater faith? Note: And yes that may mean Him allowing us to go through trials.
1) Believe that our faith can grow!
No matter where your faith is a today…mustard seed faith or mustard tree faith…God wants to grow your faith…and we must believe that!
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20 NIV
All things are possible to him who believes. Mark 9:23 NASB
2) Associate with others who have great faith
Your faith will grow when you see how others with great faith have handled challenges in their life. The more we associate with those who really trust God, the more we will see our faith grow.
Can you think of someone whose faith has inspired your faith?
When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. Romans 1:12 NLT
3) Read and Study God’s Word
So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. Romans 10:17 NLT
We must read and study God’s word because it will encourage, strengthen, and build our faith. Studying God’s Word nourishes our faith. Paul challenged Timothy to be constantly nourished by the words of faith when he said…
If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. 1 Timothy 4:6 NLT
4) Prayer and Fasting
When we realize and grasp Who it is we are praying to, we can be encouraged in our faith. God is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine!
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us… Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV
I have seen God do amazing miracles in my own personal life through not just praying but also fasting.
Check out Isaiah 58 for the benefits of fasting. You can also check my previous blog devotion called “Why Fast?” for greater insight and practical tips about fasting.
5) Remember past victories
But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings. Hebrews 10:32 NASB
Remembering our past faith and past victories will encourage us to greater faith. Past successes remind us of what God did for us way back when…and what He will do for us now.
Keeping a victory journal is a great way to encourage us when we face new challenges in our lives because we can look back and remember our past faith and past successes.
A great biblical example is David who found that remembering past successes with God increased his faith for greater challenges.
Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God. 1 Samuel 17:36 ESV
My prayer is that we would all be women who embrace the challenges God brings our way. Realizing that we cannot rely on our old faith…that we would develop new faith to face new seasons in our lives. And ultimately, allowing God to take our faith…to greater faith thereby producing perseverance, endurance, steadfastness, patience in us!
- Are you relying on your old faith to get through a present circumstance?
- Why does God want to grow your faith to greater faith?
- What is produced when God takes your faith to greater faith?
- Have you grown complacent in your faith? Or is your faith continually growing?
- So how should we respond to God taking our faith…to greater faith?
Refer to the list of points above to understand and learn how we should respond to God allowing us to face new challenges and taking our faith…to greater faith.