Seven Levels of Faith Maturity: Part II

This is a continuation of Seven Levels of Faith Maturity: Part I

In Part I we discovered that the first four levels of faith maturity as presented in scripture are:

1. Futile faith
2. Dead faith
3. Weak faith
4. Little faith

Here’s the next one…

5. Growing faith:

‘Growing faith’ reminds me of a story told in Tim Ferris’ book The Four-Hour Body.

Chad Fowler, an overweight, but successful businessman had what Ferris later called a ‘Harajuku’ moment. During a certain trip to Tokyo, Chad and some friends visited the Harajuku (a large shopping/fashion district). While his friends were trying on designer clothing, he waited outside, because he was overweight. He said to himself:

‘It doesn’t even matter what I wear; I’m not going to look good anyway.’

At that moment his words hung in the air. It was a turning point for change. After much reflection, he began a journey that helped him deal with some root issues, along with getting his body healthy. He was ultimately successful and lost the weight he needed.

I’m not suggesting that change in the Christian life is a simple matter of self-will, but sometimes you just reach a point where you cannot be satisfied with where you are.

That dissatisfaction created a hunger for change.

One of the greatest joys in ministry is to watch hungry people grow in their faith. It’s a blessing to hear their questions, watch them struggle through theological issues, and partner with them during their trials, temptations, and victories.

In 2 Thessalonians, Paul offers his thankfulness for those with a growing faith:

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring” 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 NIV

A ‘growing faith’ is one that refuses to be static.

6. Great faith:
I have often heard it said that fear is the opposite of faith. While there is some merit to that statement, Paul takes a different few. He says:

We live by faith, not by sight
2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV

It is not fear that is the opposite of faith, but sight.

Notice that Jesus describes the Roman centurion as having ‘great faith’ because he did not need to witness the miracles himself. The centurion understood that if Jesus said it, it would be so. Sight was not necessary.

“When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, `Go,’ and he goes; and that one, `Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, `Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” Matthew 8:5-10 NIV

The opposite was true with Thomas, who, like most of us, wanted proof.

“If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!”” John 20:25 CSB

‘Great faith’ is faith based on a childlike belief in God and His word. Sight and touch are not needed.

7. Persecuted faith:
The final and most mature faith is persecuted faith. Paul describes it this way:

“In fact, when we were with you, we told you previously that we were going to suffer persecution, and as you know, it happened. For this reason, when I could no longer stand it, I also sent to find out about your faith, fearing that the tempter had tempted you and that our labor might be for nothing. But now Timothy has come to us from you and brought us good news about your faith…Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution, we were encouraged about you through your faith.” 1 Thessalonians 3:4-7 HCB

Tertullian said

“The blood of martyrs is seed” (Apologeticum, 50)

Moreover, Polycarp, an early church father and disciple of John, was martyred in public during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. While waiting to die in a Roman coliseum, a proconsul gave him the chance to recant, saying:

“Swear, and I will let you go. Reproach Christ!”

To which Polycarp replied:

“Eighty-six years I have served him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

He was burned at the stake and stabbed with spears.

A ‘Persecuted faith’ is the pinnacle of maturity. It’s when the commands like:

Deny yourself
Pick up your cross
Follow me

…become more than just aphorisms, but deeply held practices that do not sway even in the face of death.

Click here to see Seven Levels of Faith Maturity: Part I

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