Growing our faith is very important to God. The only thing God asks of us is to trust him. When things are going well, it doesn’t require a lot of faith to trust God. But when life turns messy, does your faith lead you to depend on God, or do you put your trust in something else?
God uses 5 catalysts to help us grow our faith.
- Practical Teaching – Practical Bible teaching plays a huge role in the development of our faith. One of the things I have recently learned is that what we learn as children regarding our faith is a good start, but should only be considered that. As adults, we have the means and capacity to truly understand the teachings of Jesus. The availability of information and the ease of access to it gives us the opportunity to strengthen our knowledge of the Gospel. But, through Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish builders, we discover that hearing and learning are not enough. The value is in the application of our faith. Because in the end, its obedience that makes all of the difference.
- Providential Relationships – If you are like most people, you can’t tell your story of faith without referencing those people who played a significant part along the way. For some, it’s your parents. For others it’s a peer or someone you grew up with in faith. Sometimes its a chance meeting with a fellow Christian that you instantly connected with. For me, it was my daughter bringing me back to the church and then an instant connection with John McKinzie. Whoever it was each of us, God put these individuals in your life at the right moment for the right reason. Likely, these folks will also be a part of your life forever, as God is.
- Private Disciplines – Private spiritual disciplines play an important role in the development of our faith. In Matthew 6, Jesus chastises those “hypocrites” who pray in the streets where everyone can see and hear them. Jesus says that we should have “private” disciplines, whether it be tithing or praying or helping others in need. He says, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. The your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”. He goes on to say, “…when you pray, go to your room and shut the door and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father will reward you.” Don’t be prideful in your service to God and others.
- Personal Ministry – One of the primary ways God grows our faith is through personal ministry. There is a relationship between our faith and our service to others. Again, it’s in the application of our faith. it’s not about what we know, it’s about what we do. I have found it extremely rewarding personally to actually be able to converse with complete strangers about my new life in Christ and what I have learned in the last year. I try to find a way in conversation to open the door to talk about faith, Hope Fellowship, Andy Stanley, worship music, etc. I completely understand now that believing in Christ is not enough, and that sharing, witnessing, serving and loving one another is what is expected of us. When Jesus came, a King to be served was expected. But Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
- Pivotal Circumstances – Life is full of surprises, some good, some not so good. But each unexpected event that comes our way is actually a divine opportunity. There is a role that pivotal circumstances play in the development of our faith. When something bad happens, one of two things occur, depending on the strength of the person’s faith: 1- they turn to God much more readily, or 2- they turn away from Him. Many people still wonder why bad things happen to good people, especially those of faith. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Some pray to God only when something bad happens or they need something. But God uses these pivotal circumstances to do something IN us, not TO us. God never promised us that there wouldn’t be trials and tribulations in our lives. He promised us eternal life with him in Heaven. And, as I said at the beginning, he only asks that trust him.