Column by Manning Pastor Sam Livingston: Faith building and having a solid footing with the Bible


Whenever we think about building anything, we should begin with a plan, a diagram, a set of guidelines, etc. It is virtually impossible to construct anything without some type of plan.

I remember being in shop class in the ninth grade and my teacher, Mr. Lawrence, asking me where was my drawing to build my gun rack. I told him I knew what I wanted to build and how I wanted to build it. His words to me were, "OK, where is your plan?" I said, "It is in here," pointing to my head. He then insisted that you still need to put it on paper so you won't forget. Mr. Lawrence was right; I needed a set of drawings because the dimensions were many, even for a gun rack.

Building our faith may seem like a simple process, but when we get down to the nitty gritty, it's not simple at all. Let's use a residential building for an example. Before we even think about a set of floor plans, we must first know where the building is going to be placed physically. Your floor plans for your dream house must be suitable for the ground and the environment you intend to place it on. You cannot construct a house with a basement on an oceanfront piece of property. First of all, it is highly unlikely that the building and zoning board will even pass it. Once it has been determined that the ground is not deemed wetlands, etc., and the floor plans presented are issued a building permit, the construction process may begin.

Now let's build our faith in accordance with the residential building process. The building is only as strong as its foundation. Our faith must be based upon something to make it strong. We cannot build our faith upon secular hearsay. The songwriter said, "On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." Our faith must be built on the infallible Word of God found in the Bible.

The footing is dug for the foundation and the concrete is poured, but a wait time is involved before construction can begin. Once again the songwriter said, "Be very sure that your anchor holds and grips the solid rock." The psalmist said, "In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God" Psalm 62:7. Make sure that you get anchored in the Word because your faith will be challenged daily.

Now that your foundation is in place, you can construct the walls. In Ephesians, Paul used metaphors to construct the Christian armor. One of those metaphors was the shield of faith. Your wall must be solid enough to handle the forces of evil. The walls in a new home constructed in the Bahamas must be stronger than the walls in a new home in Georgia. You must be able to shield your emotions to prevent a spiritual breakdown. After the walls are in place, the covering (the roof) must be constructed to protect everything else you do within the floor plans. The worst thing a Christian can do is to operate without a covering. Every believer needs another believer for spiritual support. Every pastor needs another pastor as a spiritual covering.

Now that the foundation, the walls and the roof are in place, the exterior siding must be installed for protection. If the Christian leaves himself exposed to the elements of the adversary, his faith will slowly fall down to rubble. Your faith will be destroyed if it is not surrounded by the right people. When it comes to windows, if you saturate your walls with windows, your privacy will be limited, and your home will be inefficient. People don't need to know everything you do in ministry. People don't always need to see you! The more you open yourself up, the less effective you will become in your faith.

Now that you have the major parts of the construction in place, you can move forward with the internals. The rooms within the house can be divided up, and the electrical, plumbing and other essential wirings can be installed. It is hard to stay motivated in ministry when your faith is inconsistent.

From this point, all the believer has to do is keep an eye on the little things and repair as necessary. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" Romans 10:17. Just keep feeding your faith daily through prayer, devotion, meditation, biblical studies, etc., to keep your faith strong.

In God We Trust!

Sam Livingston is pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Manning.