The Bible teaches that faith is to be the default mode of Christian living (see Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38). If we don’t learn to live with a steady trust in God, we will have a hard time living lives that bring pleasure to God (see Hebrews 11:6), and we will be more susceptible to acting out in sinful ways (see Romans 14:23). While most believers know that they need faith, few know how to obtain it. This is understandable when we consider the subjective nature of the virtue. How can you obtain something you can’t see? How can you develop a trait which is intangible? Fortunately, Scripture has much to say about this subject. Let’s observe three ways believers can grow their faith.
To grow in our faith, we must first pray that our faith will grow. James, the half brother of Jesus, once told a first century congregation that they didn’t possess certain spiritual virtues, because they didn’t ask for them (see James 4:2). The same is true for many modern believers. Their lives are deficient in what matters most — love, peace, joy, hope, and faith — because they fail to make requests for them. Ironically, prayers for such things are the types of prayers the Lord has promised to answer (see John 14:13). When we pray for faith, we have a God-given guarantee that we will get it. So, if you are lacking in your propensity to depend on God, ask Him to help you. Follow the example of a blind beggar who met Jesus. When he met our Lord, he prayed, “I do believe! Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
On top of prayer, reading and studying our Bible is a great way to build our faith. Scripture teaches us that “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ” (Romans 10:17). God’s Word is like water that helps the produce of faith to grow in the garden of our hearts. When we get daily doses of gospel truth, we will be more likely to live in accordance with that truth. Reading stories of the Lord’s exploits amongst ancient Israel and the early church will make us more bold to live faithfully for the Lord. If you make it your habit to regularly read your Bible, to study it, and to sit under solid Bible teaching, you will surely grow in your faith. God has guaranteed it!
Recently, an older pastor, who has pastored for over fifty years, told me, “I’ve seen a thing or two, so I know a thing or two.” Some things can only be learned by experience. The same is true for faith. There are no short cuts or simple steps to acquire a deep dependency on the Divine. It has to be learned personally through tough times and challenging crises. I like to think of Moses in this regard. When he doubted God’s ability to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, the Lord assured him that he could do it. He said, “This will be the sign to you that I have sent you: when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will all worship God at this mountain” (Exodus 3:12). The Lord’s words may have been of little comfort to Moses at the time, but they guaranteed that the man would have a greater faith in the future. The classroom of experience would teach him to depend on God. God desires to use your experiences in a similar way. Let Him do it!
Dr. Patrick Latham