In western society we are constantly being told we need a "balanced diet" if we are to be healthy and strong. Children in school are encouraged to "eat healthy" and to restrain themselves when it comes to soft drinks, candy and fast foods.
By applying the right kind of information to our diet we will be enabled to guard our health and live healthy and productive lives. Facts properly applied will prove very helpful to us.
In the context for our verses Paul spoke of hearing how the Christians had grown bold in their witness as they considered his strength in suffering.
Paul heard of how the Christians had developed courage to talk about Jesus and that knowledge caused his faith to grow. You see, the faith that the Bible speaks of is a faith founded on facts. Biblical faith takes the believer beyond the realm of wishful thinking or hopeful guessing into a calm and serene confidence that is based on the promises of Scripture (2 Peter 1:3-5) and the experiences of His people (Hebrews 11).
This is where we can stumble as Christians. For example we may think that the Bible promises believers an easy ride all the way to heaven. Then, when we find ourselves in great trouble, we lose our "faith" and distrust God because we think He has not lived up to His promise to make life easy for His people.
What we need desperately in these times of troubles in life is "knowledge and depth of insight". Our faith requires the right kind of information to grow and be strong. Certainly we may ask for the burden to be lifted (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) and we may ask other Christians to pray with us for the removal of the difficulty. But with all our prayers we need to search the Scriptures to see what God had promised for those who suffer and then believe the promise and pray accordingly. For example rest your faith on a promise like the one in Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Pray to the Lord today and ask Him to make His presence known to you according to this promise. Then tell Him you desire strength to endure. Finally, rest yourself in His hands according to this promise you have from Him. If you do this you will have faith founded on facts, the facts of Scripture.
Read in the Bible of how God's promises to His people were all fulfilled. See how God helped His people in the past and believe He is the same today. Observe in Scripture how the Lord enabled His people to endure and then expect the same blessing on your life right now. Always remember,
"He will also keep you firm to the end,
so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord."
1 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NIV)