Having a lack of faith has always been an issue for many Christians? Are there ways to increase our faith? How can we grow our faith? What does the Bible say are ways to increase or grow our faith?
What is Faith?
Hebrews 11:1 defines biblical faith as, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Peter saw faith as from God “who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet 1:5). Actually, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Heb 11:2). We all have faith in one way or another. You know by faith that the bridge you drive over in the fog will hold you up because it has been tested by time. You know by faith that the sun will rise in the morning because you have seen it time and again but faith in God is somewhat different.
In Hebrews 11, in what is called the Hall of Faith it says, “Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings” (Heb 11:4). And it was “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death” (Heb 11:17-19). Abraham’s faith was so strong that he understood that if the promised seed, Isaac, was killed Abraham knew that God could raise him from the dead. That is faith. It believes without seeing. Paul understood that “we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).
Faith is a Gift
You can not earn faith. You can not work yourself up into having faith and it is not wishful thinking. Paul wrote, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God“(Eph 2:8). You are not the source of this faith because saving faith is a gift. If you have to earn it, it’s not a gift. People take our money at the stores by faith. They see the money and their faith is in the legal tender and know that its backed by the government. Faith is tested over time and when we have answers to prayers, we know that God is faithful and our faith increases when God responds to our needs.
How to Grow Your Faith
James wrote “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8). Praying to God is having faith because we know He hears us. That is why James said we should “ask in faith, with no doubting.“ Faith is having no doubts. Faith is knowing that God will not only hear us but will answer our prayer, even if it‘s no. Moses once asked God to let him see His face but God told Moses no. He did allow him to see a small portion of His backside. If God had answered Moses prayer to see God’s face, Moses would have died for no one can see God and live (Ex 33:20). That is why God told Moses no and sometimes why He tells us no. He knows what is best for us and sometimes it takes greater faith when we are told no. We show trust in God when He says know because He knows better than we do what is best for us. On the other hand, we can’t doubt that God won’t give us good things when we ask for them for it is our Father’s good pleasure to give good things to His children (Luke 12:32).
The disciples once asked Jesus “Increase our faith!“ (Luke 17:5) and what did Jesus say? “He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you” (Luke 17:8). When a desperate father came to Jesus to help him with his son who was possessed with an unclean spirit the father said, “If you can’?” (which showed that the father had doubts) but Jesus said, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:22-23)! Here the father asked for help to overcome his disbelief. God will answer that prayer just as Jesus did. The father said “I do believe” so he likely had faith only the size of a mustard seed and so that is why he said, “help me overcome my unbelief” or it could be read, help my lack of faith. God will help us to increase our faith but faith will also come by hearing the word the Word of God in Sunday school and church and by reading the Word of God. Paul wrote that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). People who regularly read their Bible have greater faith because they see it lived out in the stories of the Bible.
It is not so much the size of the faith you have as the Object of the One you have faith it in. When that faith is in Jesus Christ, it is so great that it is enough to sustain you, to uphold you, and to save you. Even faith the size of a mustard seed is gigantic if it’s in God. We can move mountains with faith. The mountains may be the giant obstacles in our path but I once told my children when I was working in a very labor-intensive job that I could move 5 tons! It was unloading skids or pallets for a company but I moved 5 tons of it; one box at a time. Its like moving mountains…you can do it if you have even a tiny bit of faith…even if you have to move it one teaspoon at a time.
We must have faith for God says that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb 11:6). If you don’t have faith in God it is like telling Him you don’t trust Him. Jesus was not pleased with Thomas who didn’t believe the disciples when they had said that Jesus was alive after His crucifixion. “Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed“ (John 20:29). Yes, seeing is believing but believing without seeing is faith! Jesus says to us who have not yet seen Him, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith” (Heb 11:7) and “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Heb 11:8).
If you are not sure He can provide for you or pull you through a trial, ask Him to help your unbelief. The faith that comes from God and the faith that is in God is not a hope-so but a know-so faith. If you don’t have faith in Jesus Christ, then your human faith is in vain. It will take you to hell for there is no other saving faith than that which is in Christ Jesus. Put your trust in Him and He will save you. That kind of saving faith is sure and certain or as Hebrews 11:1 says, it is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Article by Pastor Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible.