By Sarah Evans
‘So that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.’ (1 Timothy 1:5)
The dictionary’s definition of ‘sincere’ is free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness; earnest; genuine and/or real. (dictionary.com)
1. A sincere faith will bear much fruit:
A true and sincere faith is not only expressed through the words of our mouth but more importantly through the way that we act…in the everyday choices that we make. An insincere faith that has not taken root is only lip service, and so no good fruit can grow.
‘Blessed is the man…who delights in the law, and meditates on it day and night. He is like a man planted (his faith has taken root) by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff (no root planted…shallow and insincere) that the wind blows away.’ (Psalm 1:1-4)
2. The sincerity of our faith is revealed during times of testing:
‘For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks’ (Matthew 12:34)
If our faith lacks sincerity, it will be made known during a time of trial and/or testing in our life. We can pretend with others by attempting to look ‘the part’ on the outside, but we cannot pretend with God. We cannot hide our true nature from our Creator, as He knows us better than we know ourselves. God desires that we be sincere before Him, and readily admit our weaknesses and limitations. It is in this time that we ‘let God in’ to our true self, and learn to lean on Him and so then our roots are able to grow deeper and our faith becomes more sincere.
The time of testing is necessary then to prove and deepen our measure of faith in God.
3. The roots of our faith must grow down deep enough to keep us standing in a ‘storm’:
Some tests are sent our way to deepen our faith, and yet other trials are a result of the enemy, who tries to discourage us in our walk with God. During these times, when the enemy sends a wind our way and it comes howling against us, our faith must be rooted deeply enough for us to remain standing. The only way that this is going to happen is if our faith is sincere and is adequately rooted in God`s love.
How can we work towards developing a sincere faith?
Accept that faith is a gift given to us by God, and that we need to continually ask Him to help us grow deeper in our faith.
Practice being sincere before God, even when it is difficult. God knows all our weaknesses and shortcomings and He wants us to be ‘real’ with Him. Let us confess our sins before Him so that we can embrace His love and forgiveness.
Confess our weaknesses (our sins) to one another. Let us be sincere and ‘real’ with our trustworthy brothers and sisters in the Lord. Like iron sharpening iron, we are able to help each other grow deeper in the faith. Let us take down the ‘masks’ that we have made for ourselves, and trust our hearts to those who love us.
Let us not be a ‘namesake-only Christian’. Let us walk the talk. Let us bear much fruit for the kingdom of God that it may expand exponentially.
Let us empty ourselves of all pride. Pride will hinder us from having a sincere faith. We cannot grow deeper or more sincere in our faith without God`s help. It is not possible. Let us humble ourselves and lean on Him.
Let us ask ourselves:
- Which areas of my life do I hide from God? Or from my brothers/sisters in the Lord?
- How might this be stopping me from living the fruit-filled life that God intended?
- What happens to me when strong winds blow my way? Do I act in fear or by faith?