Just a quick note to all who study here; I hope that you have all enjoyed a restful and contented Christmas time. We have been SO blessed by our Father. Surely we need to spend time counting our blessings and thanking Him for each and every one!
Recently, in my own studies, I was reading in Romans:
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3, AKJV)
(Romans 12:3, NIV)My Dakes study Bible pointed me toward the words of our Savior, Jesus Christ:
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)What do these verses have in common? I wanted to dig in . . .
The measure of faith God has "dealt" or "distributed to" us. Hmmmm.
Paul is exhorting us to not think more highly of ourselves than we should, but he is also pointing us to the faith that God has given us. Yes, God gives us faith. It is something we need; it's something we have; we have it because He gives it to us.
You see, a gift is not earned by our good words, or by our good deeds. It is not given to us because the giver expects something in return. (Under any of those conditions, it wouldn't be a gift!) The Bible emphasizes that faith is a gift -- because God deserves all the glory for our salvation. If we could do anything to deserve (or earn) that gift, then we could boast about it, right? (See Ephesians 2:9) But we don't have a "leg to stand on" as my grandma used to say . . . God wants us to understand that we've done nothing to earn faith - it's only because of what Christ did on the cross that God gives any of us faith.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God... (Ephesians 2:4-5,8)Truly, the boy's father in Mark was correct when he cried out, "I believe, help thou my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24, KJV) The spark of faith had been kindled, and he prayed for the Lord to give him stronger faith.
But what about the "measure" of faith? What is this all about?
Those who heard Christ say these words noted in Luke would have had an instant mental picture of what He meant . . .
Christ was saying that our heavenly Father is a "good" miller. Not a "bad" one. If we look at the culture of the time, it was the men, not the women, who went to buy flour. (Not bad, they got their husbands to do the grocery shopping, eh?)
The man would sit on a low stool, with his measure (container, sack, etc) in his lap. A "bad" miller would simply fill the measure with the ground grain up to the brim. The purchaser, as he walked home, would find that as he walked the flour had shaken down and compacted. There might only be a two-thirds measure in his container or sack by the time he reached home. (Wonder what his wife said then?)
Now, by contrast, a "good" miller would fill the measure to the brim, but would then shake, and press, and fill some more. The flour would be so tightly packed when he was finished that it would flow over the edges of the measure, and fall into the purchaser's lap.
That, said our Savior, is the sort of measure that we believers may confidently expect to receive from our heavenly Father. Whether it is more faith that we are asking for, or more wisdom, or a special blessing from His hand . . . He will give to us.
Spilling over into our laps.
Just something to think about as we begin a new year with our Savior and Friend.