Continued from here.
Pastor Ashley’s first piece of advice for increasing the duration of your faith is to surround yourself with people who are chasing God. He pointed out that Peter had the faith to step out of the boat when he was surrounded by the other disciples. However, he stepped out alone and wasn’t next to Jesus yet when he doubted and began to sink. Perhaps if he had stepped out of the boat with James and John, the story would have had a different ending.
Contrast this with two other stories in the Bible about people who surrounded themselves with others of faith and were successful. Pastor Ashley’s first example was Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who together refused to bow to an idol, even at the price of being throw into a fiery furnace. Pastor Ashley pointed out that in every group, you typically find a rule-keeper and a rule-breaker, both of whom can influence the group. You want to surround yourself with people who want to keep the rules in following God and break the rules of your circumstances that say that something is impossible. Perhaps Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego might have buckled under the pressure if they had stood before King Nebuchadnezzar alone, but by standing together, they were able to extend the duration of their faith on to victory.
He second example was the men who lowered their paralytic friend through the roof of where Jesus was preaching. Alone, each one might have given up because it seemed impossible to get their friend to Jesus because of the crowds. However, these men worked together and refused to leave until they got their paralyzed friend to Jesus. I’m sure it was not easy to carry a paralyzed man onto the roof, cut through the roof, and lower him down to Jesus, but they did it by working together. They urged one another on, extending the duration of their faith. Pastor Ashley’s advice is to surround yourself with other people who will help spur on your faith so that it will last.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace looking sad and opening a door under the words, “I need new friends…” Courtesy Bitmoji.]