Grow Your Faith: 7 Ways to Increase Your Faith
Many seek ways to increase your faith. Is it possible to grow your faith? What steps can you take?
Faith: confidence, trust, hope, belief
Often considered hard to define, faith might best be described as confidence, trust, hope, belief.
Loaning the family car to his teenager, a parent might add, “I have faith in you to drive carefully and come straight home after the movie.” Many teens won’t understand the gravity of that statement at the time. And in fact, the parent might be wishing more than declaring his confidence.
When a child takes his first solo step, he reaches to the loving awaiting arms of his mom or dad. Tiny hands stretch toward his beloved parent, trusting that if his legs don’t hold him, loving arms will catch him. For many months, those parent arms have held and cuddled, fed, and clothed. They helped him balance when he first sat up and soothed those first bumps and scrapes. Along the way, trust is built and the son or daughter has faith that his parent will forever care for him.
We walk toward God
Our relationship in God might be described similarly. In fact, God calls Himself the Father and asks us to trust Him to support us when we are weak and to comfort us in times of need.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
–Proverbs 3: 5-6, KJV
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My friend Wendy tells of a time when she felt all was lost. A car accident had incapacitated her husband. With three young children at home, bills to pay, and her husband in the ICU ward of the hospital, she struggled to find the faith to work through each day.
She prayed when the accident first happened and for a few days after. But her faith began to fade as the days became weeks. She wasn’t sure she could continue.
Her friends and family prayed for her. Some helped with the children while others brought meals for them to alleviate some of the daily tasks. While she was thankful for their help, depression kept creeping in like a dark cloud.
Why had God allowed this tragedy? How could she continue to manage?
One day she saw a beautiful picture on the wall in the hospital waiting room. The image drew her nearer and she read the verse below it. Instantly, she remembered reading those verses, Proverbs 3: 5-6, many times before. In fact, she remembered learning it as a memory verse as a child. But never before did the words have the impact they had at that moment.
Wendy felt the weight being lifted as she realized that God had not abandoned her. She was surrounded by family and friends willing to help her and her family. Her husband had survived the crash by a miracle, according to his doctors. She was quite thankful for that. Although the months of recovery that lay ahead would not be easy, he would live. Perhaps in a wheelchair, no one yet knew. But he would live.
With her faith restored by many small acts of kindness and that one picture on the wall, Wendy felt a renewed energy and closer connection to God.. She began to reach out to others with loved ones in the same ICU as her husband. The more she encouraged others, the stronger her own faith grew. Wendy likened it to fertilizing a garden, her garden of faith.
What can you do in your own life to strengthen your faith?
When Kyle wanted to try out for the high school football team, the coach advised him to get in great physical shape and practice the skills. Kyle knew the basics, but he needed to learn techniques. Knowing the plays was not enough. The exercises and practices helped him get in shape to use the techniques. With many weeks of daily practice, he honed his skills and made the team.
Most of life is like that. You learn new methods or systems but then must practice them in order to improve and become skillful.
Faith is like that, too.
Like the performance of an athlete, musician, or actor, practicing our faith creates a better, stronger skill. And then we are ready when life’s tests come upon us.
But how do we know what to do to build our faith muscles?
What exercises do we need to practice?
The seven skills we find most helpful are:
- Read the Word
- Read and listen to the testimonies of others
- Embrace the trials
- Practice obedience
- Heed the Word
- Test the Word
To further understand them, let’s look more closely.
1. Read the Word
We learn by reading the Bible and listening to the Word of God. In the book of Romans.
“So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
–Romans 10:17, KJV
If no one had ever told me about Jesus, and about God’s plan for my life, or if I had never read for myself about Him, I would be clueless about Him and the need for faith in Him. Further, you must continue to feed your faith by reading the Bible regularly.
Consider reading or hearing God’s Word to be like planting a garden. To grow a beautiful garden, you begin with planting the seed or small plant. You begin your faith journey by learning God’s Word. But that is just the beginning. The seed needs water, sunshine, and care to grow into a beautiful plant.
2. Read and Listen to the Testimonies of Others
We nurture our Faith in several ways. While you continue to read the Word of God, you learn of the hardships and journeys of others. Likewise, just as Wendy found in fellowship with others in the hospital ICU, other believers might share their testimonies with you. Hearing someone else’s personal account of God’s work in their life can have a profound impact on your own faith. The experiences that led them to a stronger conviction can have a dramatic effect on your confidence, too.
Unable to sleep weeks before delivering our youngest son, I was surfing the many channels on our satellite tv system when I came across an interesting show about a man who had been born very wealthy but was now a Pastor. Intrigued, I listened to some of the details, then continued watching as others shared Bible facts and even some inspiring recipes. But the pastor’s story drew me back with great interest. I eventually purchased the book that told his story. While I was already a believer, his journey inspired me to dig a bit deeper into my own beliefs. In fact, one of his frequent sayings was to not take his word for anything, but instead read the Bible for yourself.
That resonated quite vividly to me.
It’s not that I didn’t trust him or other pastors. But I had visited enough churches to know that differences in interpretations of the Bible existed. Indeed, these differences have led to many denominations. Although I had read the Bible often and thought I knew it well, it made sense that I should take what he was saying and compare it to the words as I read them.
Over the next several weeks, I found myself delving deeper and deeper into my own faith, inspired, and perhaps even assured by his strong devotion. Others on the network also brought me closer to God in my own faith and gave me confidence that I did not even realize I was missing.
Of course, you should also be careful not to be led astray by others. Seek His Word for yourself, as this pastor often encourages. But allow the shared testimonies of others to help nurture your own beliefs.
3. Embrace the Trials, increase your faith
None of us go through life without trials and hardships. Even the wealthiest person may face personal or medical issues that cannot be easily managed.
During natural childbirth, doctors and nurses advise the mom-to-be to relax and allow the birthing process to progress. Fighting the pain by tensing actually slows the delivery and increases the pain, itself. Of course, such intense pain as labor brings is hardly easy to breathe through as moms are told to do. Relaxing when the pain intensifies is one of the most challenging things a woman endures. Yet, it produces the easiest and quickest labor.
Similarly, working through any of life’s tragedies can seem intolerable. Losing your job, finding out you have a fatal illness or the death of a child, life often deals a person with more than they can seem to bear. Others may even tell you that God will never give you more than you can handle; yet, you wonder why He has so much faith in you.
Adversity and life trials help increase your faith
Peter 1:3-9 reveals the truth that adversity, when addressed in God’s power, creates greater faith. A metalworker uses fire to purify precious metals, God sometimes uses hardships to strip away all but the pure core of faith.
Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
–Peter 1, 3-9, KJV
Often, after working through a tragedy in life, the person comes out feeling much stronger and more capable of managing adversity. When Saikou’s father died, he was devastated, but his father had counseled him to always trust God. After so many tragedies, he could have easily become angry with God and the world, but instead, his past experiences with hardships had helped strengthen his faith. He trusted that God had brought them to this and He would indeed bring them through it.
To mold iron into a usable tool, the worker heats it in a blazing fire, then hammers or presses it into the desired shape. Likewise, God shapes us through hardships.
We are fortified through our trials and tribulations. They teach us new skills for managing and help us brace for the next trial. Moreover, they offer confidence. With each hurdle, our faith and trust in Him increases.
4. Practice Obedience, increase your faith
Athletes train for their events months and years before the actual event. Scholars study diligently to improve test and job performance. Each follows a set program to build skills toward the intended goal.
Similarly, following God’s plan for our life helps us build those skills we need to build our faith. Perfect faith is a by-product of obedience. Following His will for your life, you learn to trust Him more.
While that sounds easy in writing, the actual act of obedience often challenges the most faithful. Consider the story of Jonah. Being quite afraid of reaction the people of Nineveh, Jonah chose to disobey God, rather than face what he was sure would be great hatred. Of course, we know that as the story continued, he learned that God had already set the stage for his success. But his fear led to his initial disobedience.
In contrast, Abraham proved his faith by his obedience when God called him to kill his son. While God stopped him before the act was done, Abraham showed his unswerving obedience to God, even though it would have meant the death of his beloved son.
FAITH = For Anything I Trust Him
one of the ways to increase your faith
God instructs us to follow His Ten Commandments. While it might seem innocuous to disobey any one of them, God knows that our obedience to these laws will guide us closer to Him.
Take the first commandment as an example. Most of us would bypass it thinking that of course we only have one God. But dig a little deeper into scripture and the lives of people then and now. Is it possible that some of us have other Gods that we love as much or even more than Him?
For many, money becomes the item of worship. For others, it might be a famous movie star or singer. It might even be a status, such as having a bigger house than your friends.
Another God does not have to be a deity or spirit. When any person or thing takes space from God, the first commandment becomes victim to our disobedience. We are raising that above God and breaking the first commandment.
5. Heed the Word
The book of James offers another way to increase your faith:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Reading and hearing the Word offers us an excellent starting point. However, if we just hear God’s direction but do not follow it, it is useless.
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
–Hebrews 10:38 KJV
One excellent example of this from the Bible is the story of Noah.
Building an ark when rain was unknown seemed irrational and foolish. Still, he followed God’s directions and was spared the fate of most of the world. We can only imagine how his faith in God must have been multiplied when the floods began and his family was safe and dry aboard the ark.
Joshua followed God’s direction at Jericho, as well. While the people of Jericho laughed at his bizarre behavior, Joshua continued to march, following God’s plan. God rewarded his faith as the walls fell.
Plan ahead – increase your faith
Many of us plan ahead for life’s events on earth. Farmers plant crops and bale hay to store for use during snow-filled winter months ahead. Fieldwork in the hot summer months might seem odd to non-farmers. But filling the silos and barns ensures the farm survives when winter arrives.
Those living in hurricane zones know how to plan for hurricane season before any storm is even being formed. Most will stockpile water, canned foods, and other necessities, planning for days or even weeks without electricity. The skies are brilliantly blue at the moment, but the stash will ensure the family will have all they need if and when a hurricane tears through their neighborhood.
This process seemed very strange during our first year in Florida. Like many, we wondered why we could not wait until a storm and headed our way. We put a few things together, just because others suggested it. But when the first hurricane sped toward our region, we understood the need for advance preparation. Long lines formed to take the last batteries, flashlights, bottles of bleach, and jugs of water. Customers grabbed cans of favorite foods as they were being restocked. Generators rarely made it to the selling floor before being claimed and whisked away.
Lesson learned. Our pantry and storage areas now stand ready at any time.
Suppose a brother or sister does not have any clothes or daily food and one of you tells them, “Go in peace! Stay warm and eat heartily.” If you do not provide for their bodily needs, what good does it do? In the same way, faith by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead.
–James 2:15-17, KJV
Now, suppose a person has enough to live on and notices another believer in need. How can God’s love be in that person if he doesn’t bother to help the other believer? Dear children, we must show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words.
—1 John 3:17-18, KJV
A body that doesn’t breathe is dead. In the same way faith that does nothing is dead.
It is good to grow our faith and to help others strengthen theirs, as well. However, faith without heeding God’s Word is not responding to God’s call. When He calls us into action, we must follow through. In doing so, not only do you heed the Word, you also strengthen your faith.
God speaks clearly on the subject. If He calls us to help someone, we should do so. When called into action for Him, even if we don’t see the rains coming, we need to follow Noah’s example and begin the work.
6. Test the Word to increase your faith
Similar to heeding the Word, we are called to test the Word of God. This actually combines facing trials and heeding His Word. In Malachi 3: 9-11 and Ephesians 3:14-21, God tells us to follow His commands and we will be blessed abundantly more.
When we do our best on a job, our employer sees our work ethic and may offer a raise or promotion. As a student in school, we looked for the gold star to be added to our papers when they were done perfectly. At home, our families might commend an extra special dinner. Each time, we are encouraged to do our best again.
God helps us increase our faith in a similar fashion. He calls us to test our faith and see if He will prove it true. When we follow His Word, we may not always acquire great wealth or beauty, but we can always count on His blessings of a stronger faith.
7. Pray, increase your faith
You get to know someone by spending time with them and talking with them. That’s what prayer is: your time with God. Talk with Him. Listen to Him.
Reading the Bible and listening to people speak about God is necessary. But spending one-on-one time with Him in conversational prayer is also necessary. Consider your friendships with other people. The more time you spend with the person, the better you get to know each other. The same is true with God. Make time for Him each day. More than just a quick good night prayer and perhaps meal-time grace, make time to meditate on His words and to converse with Him.
Look for ways to increase your faith everyday
As I write this, we are living in a world pandemic, the Coronoavirus, caused by Covid 19. The changes this virus caused in our daily lives might challenge our faith. However, you might find that the events may actually increase your faith. Much depend on your perspective. And your choices greatly affect that.
I invite you to consider practicing these seven steps to move closer to God each day. When you stumble, look to the examples the Bible provides. Many faltered. But by faith, you need to overcome those failures and continue to grow your faith.
FAITH = For Anything I Trust Him