The third encouragement from Charles Stanley is this:
“How do you increase your faith? (By) growing in your love toward the Father. You learn to confide in the Lord more deeply by spending time with Him—by praying and reading His Word. It is crucial that you develop an intimate relationship with Him so that when hardships arise, you won’t be tempted to let go of Him.” Charles Stanley
Think of the best friend you have. It could be the grandma that just seems to “get it” when you share your heart. It could be the friend who isn’t afraid to give you a loving but honest answer. It could be the Dad who is always approachable and full of wisdom who makes everything okay, even if it means hard work ahead. Then think of God, who is all of that and more.
I love that I can sit down with my coffee and start to converse with God, and then stop, knowing that I can’t pull the wool over God’s eyes regarding my motivations. That’s the conviction I live for: to have God say “wait a minute, start over, and this time be honest, because I know everything about you—even the hidden things.“ “For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20).
For the times I‘m at wits end, frustrated by something or someone, or caught up in a misunderstanding or yet another failure on my part, and I can’t go to anyone about it because I know that no human will ever be able to see it as I see it, I can go to God. “Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord” says Lamentations 2:19. God is there, nodding and listening and bearing with us in those times, and I marvel at the privilege of being with Him.
Knowing that Jesus Christ intercedes for us (Romans 8:34), and the Holy Spirit “intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26-27) puts a love of the Triune God on my heart that I treasure, not just when times are good, but especially when they are not so good. And this love I have for God is completely given to me from God, as 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Even my love for God is a gift of God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19