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Do you think God can work in your life because of the faith of another person? To say it another way, do you think God would do something for you on account of someone else’s faith?

I was in a discussion over the weekend about what God uses to grow faith. It was suggested that God can attribute one person’s faith as the means to act on someone else’s behalf.

There were about fifteen people in this discussion and at first all of them didn’t think so. They thought God deals with people individually. They didn’t think God count the faith of one person for another.

Then the story of the paralyzed boy dropped through the ceiling by his friends was read. About halfway through the story we’re told that when Jesus saw their faith he said to the boy who his sins were forgiven (Mark 2:5). It was his friends’ faith that moved Jesus to offer forgiveness.

How did this work? For those in the discussion, new neurons were firing. That God would work in this boy’s life based upon the faith of his buddies was an unfamiliar way of thinking. How could God use their actions in the life of another person?

The conversation with this group of fifteen or so orbited around the idea of the way good friends impact faith. If the boy in Mark 2 didn’t have friends with active faith, Jesus’ visit to that town could have ended, and he may have spent the rest of his life paralyzed. What a difference having good friends made in his life.

I’m sure you’ve experienced the impact of a friend’s faith in your life. Do you know the feeling of being around a person who has the kind of faith in God that causes your faith to expand? There are certain people who simply being with them enlarges your own certainty of what God is capable of doing.

God never intends for us to walk through life with unilateral faith. In some mysterious way, faith can be transferred between people. I’m not suggesting saving faith works this way. I believe the boy in Mark 2 had to appropriate Jesus’ forgiveness and healing for himself, in order for him to receive it. But God does want us to build up each other’s faith. Where Jude says “build yourselves up in your most holy faith” (Jude 20) the “yourselves” and “your” are plural.

What difference would it make to stop fueling your own faith? Where can you go to get around faith-expanding friends? God intends for us to grow our faith in the context of friendship.

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