How Does Our Faith Grow?

“Turning to those who were following Him, He said, ‘I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’” (Matthew 8:10b NLT)

Hebrews 11 is filled with faith “heroes,” but Jesus says of a Roman Officer in the verse above that He’d not seen faith like what was exhibited in this Gentile (non-Jewish) soldier. What was so unique about this man’s faith? What can we learn that will help our faith increase?

This Roman Officer had obviously heard of Jesus, so he came to Him. That’s the first and most significant step of faith anyone can take. If our goal is eternal life, that begins the moment we meet Jesus and lasts throughout eternity, we must come to Jesus. Why? Because ONLY JESUS bears the name above all names. The name at which every knee will one day bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. Peter in his message given in Acts 4:12 says: “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

Obviously, we can’t literally come into the physical presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords, but we, nonetheless, can come to Him confidently with the help of His Spirit who illuminates His presence in our heart and mind. Meeting Jesus and bowing at His feet in submission to His authority and majesty begins our faith walk, but once we’ve placed our full trust in Jesus, how does our faith grow?

The primary way our faith grows is through feeding upon His holy Word, the Bible. Systematically, habitually, and with intentionality read God’s words. If you’re new to the faith, begin in the Gospel of John in the New Testament. Why? Because foundationally, the most important lesson you need to learn is that Jesus is God poured into human flesh. That’s how John begins his Gospel. There are uniqueness’s in John’s account that identify and confirm Jesus’ divinity. Why is that so important?

Because if Jesus isn’t God, as He claimed to be, then we can’t believe anything else He said or claimed. Our theology must be grounded and rooted in Jesus – who He is, why He came to earth, and what His expectations of us are. After you finish John, go back to Matthew, the first book in the New Testament, and read straight through the New Testament to Revelation, including reading John again.

You want to get grounded in what the New Testament says before you dive into the Old Testament. Jesus is the “thread” that weaves the whole Bible together. The Old Testament won’t make much sense until you understand who the main “Character” is.

The second key ingredient to growing strong faith is seeing the necessity of the tests God puts you through. God put a severe test in the Roman Officer’s life, which is what led him to Jesus in the first place. Tests are designed to keep us close to Jesus.

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Pastor Rick Warren writes: “Faith is like a muscle. You don’t grow muscle without some sort of resistance. The only way you grow a muscle is by stretching it, testing it, and putting weight on it. The same is true with faith. You don’t grow faith just by sitting around and saying, ‘Oh, I want more faith.’ Faith needs to be tested. So God allows circumstances in your life to build your faith muscle.”

Testing is different from temptation. Temptation is Satan’s attempt to get us to disobey and fail God. Testing is God’s way to help us grow strong spiritual muscles so we can learn to continually defeat Satan and His evil efforts to pull us away from God.

Tests come in many ways, but the goal is to trust God to walk with us through them. Faith increases as you learn to see the hand of God in every circumstance of your life, both good and what you often interpret as bad. Remember Paul’s words in Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Notice “everything.” That includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. God is great and good and loves you as if you were His only child. He’s got your back.

That’s how our faith grows!

Blessings, Ed 😊

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