Growing in faith is not easy! I’m sorry if nobody told you this. But this one thing I do know. While it is not easy, it is very possible
Somebody forgot to mention that you would need way more than just turning up to church every weekend to grow your faith in God.
So, in this post we will explore 5 practical ideas on how to grow your faith in God.
The meaning of growing in faith
To know exactly how to grow in faith, you first have to know what it means. So what is faith anyway?
Depending on which version of the Bible you use, the word faith appears in the Bible anywhere between 336 to over 500 times.
The word doesn’t always mean the same thing in all the verses it comes in. I will only look at two definitions in this post.
The word faith comes from the Greek word pistis. It can mean to be convicted about the truth of something.
In our case, as Christians, we believe that God exists and that Jesus is Christ. Our whole lives are built on this truth.
Which is why the first step towards salvation is to believe that God exists and accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
And 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. (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)
The most popular definition for faith though is in Hebrews 11:1:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (NIV)
We usually pay more attention to this one. Faith in this case means to trust or have confidence in the One we believe exists.
Growing in faith has to start with believing that God exists and then learning to trust him.
Now, for many of us, the knowing He exists part isn’t the problem. The trusting part is the problem.
Would you agree?
See, it’s not that you don’t believe. It’s the daily journey of growing in faith that really throws you for a loop.
5 Ways to grow your faith
How does faith grow stronger?
As the word grow suggests, it’s a process. A process that takes time and effort.
Growing your faith isn’t a destination. It’s a lifelong journey, as I said before.
So these tips are good for implementation over a period of time.
#1. Growing in faith requires revisiting your past
Rick Warren in his bestselling book The Purpose Driven Life says
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
But you know something, so so so so many Christians think that if you just pray enough and read your Bible enough and go to church often enough.
You probably think your past will recede into a distant place of forgetfulness and then you can move on with your life.
My friend, you can run from many things but the one thing you can never run from is yourself.
Too many Christians are prisoners of their past! Are you one of them?
The way we perceive God and our relationship with him has everything to do with how we were raised and the quality of our earthly relationships.
If you are not conscious of this, you can be going around in spiritual circles for years like the Israelites in the desert.
The reason you’re not growing in faith, the reasoning you battle endlessly with certain sins, and the reason you cannot gain victory is because of unresolved issues.
Your past pulls you down like an anchor tied to the bottom of the ocean.
Were you abused or mistreated as a child?
Did you have parents who would ignore you when you did something wrong?
Did you feel safe in your home?
Are you a victim of divorced parents?
Are you suppressing some serious emotional pain?
Look into the hurt, pain, anger, rage, pain, frustration, unforgiveness you feel towards people in your family, at church, or your friendship circle.
Think about how you treat God. Do you see a connection between how you think about God and how you think about your past?
Neuroscience is just now helping us to understand how our brains are shaped by our experiences, especially those we have as children and how it all affects our ability to trust God.
If you have experienced trauma (and we all have to some extent), your brain has recorded it.
Whether you realize it or not, much of the way you see life, including God, is impacted by how your brain has been wired by your past.
But there is hope.
Biology does not control us. Not if God, THE creator of all things, has anything to do with it.
Bring it all out in the open by talking to someone. Tackle it.
Going back is a good way of moving forward with faith.
#2. Growing in faith requires conquering guilt and fear
John Jones said, “If fear is cultivated it will become stronger; if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery.”
Whenever it comes to spiritual growth, make no mistake that the enemy will present himself.
You will know he is at work when you become overwhelmed by guilt and fear or both.
Know this: you don’t have to carry around guilt from your past or even your present.
Your sins have not only been forgiven but they have also been forgotten.
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Isaiah 43:25)
You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19)
Not only that. Your own self-condemnation is still not as strong as the forgiveness God has given you. I’d suggest learning to forgive yourself.
If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:20)
Here is the thing about moving forward: the unknown will almost always breed fear.
But fear is the enemy of faith. God is already in the future and whatever you are afraid of, He already knows.
Nothing catches him by surprise. He is never scratching His head or pacing the floor.
So ask yourself: What are you afraid of? Why are you afraid? What would happen if you gave up this fear? What’s the worst that could happen if you acted on your faith?
Chances are, the thing you fear is like a gnat on Mount Everest in comparison to the truth of the answers to these questions.
So claim the promise that God gave to Joshua:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Work on giving up guilt. Conquer your fear. Clear the way for growing your faith.
#3. Growing in faith requires Bible study
Growing your faith needs a foundation. The Word of God is that foundation.
Make sure that your foundation is strong. Seek out some Bible studies that can help you.
The Bible itself encourages us to grow our faith by growing in your knowledge of who God is:
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (1 Peter 3:18)
Read the Bible. Study the Bible. Not all at once but read the whole Bible. See how all the parts connect. You will be surprised at how your faith will blossom. Which takes me to my next point.
Grow in faith by reading and studying the life of men and women of faith in the Bible.
Here are a few to start with:
- The woman with the issue of blood
- The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
- The Widow of Zarephath
#4. Growing in faith requires listening to the testimonies of others
Along with reading Bible stories, the next big thing is to connect with people who have amazing stories that illustrate how to increase your faith in God.
Quite often, these stories have 21st century strategies you can use right away.
Sometimes the Bible characters can seem so…well… far away. Stories from other people who are living it now can help to make growing your faith seem doable.
Printed books, audio books, podcasts, YouTube channels, movies, blogs.
Take your pick. Women and men are sharing their faith stories all over the place.
Here are a few to check out for starters.
Autobiographies: Will I Ever Learn by Hyveth Williams (read how God saved her from a life of drugs and the occult and gave her a ministry); I Will Die Free by Noble Alexander (read about how he survived the unspeakable cruelty of Cuban prison because of his faith).
Blog Post – Sarah Titus’ story (read how as a homeless mom of 2 kids she was determined to stay home so she could raise them. Now runs a million dollar blog.)
Podcast – Patrice Washington (watch how she built an almost 7-figure business, lost it all in the 2009 recession and how God gave her a ministry from that experience).
One of my favorite episodes is Believe Bigger with Marshawn Evans Daniel’s who tells her story of finding out just a few days before her wedding that her fiance had been sleeping with another woman.
Hers is a powerful testimony of how faith brought her back from the edge.
Youtube Channel – Beauty for Ashes. Watch Kashina tell her story of how God has walked her through building her faith from the ground up.
She shares it all on her channel. She went from the Club to Christ.
Movies – Apple Mortgage Cake (watch how this mother, blessed with the gift of baking, trusts God to save her house from foreclosure) and Faith like Potatoes (why would anyone plant potatoes during a drought? Watch to find out how this story ends when people are obedient and have faith).
#5. Growing in faith requires stepping out in faith
Martin Luther King Jr said it best:
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Faith is a muscle. For it to grow, you have to actually use it. You have to exercise it.
Think about Abraham. He took the first step of being obedient to God’s directive to leave home.
As he travelled in faith, different things unfolded that required him to rise to the occasion with his faith in God.
He didn’t always get it right. But one thing is for sure, he grew from every experience.
Remember: Faith without works is dead faith. Faith is in your feet. You have to take action. Faith is an action word.
If you continue to play it safe by not using your muscle of faith, it will eventually atrophy and die. It’s just the law of biology.
But if you step out in faith, God will respond in kind by honoring your faith. Confidence begets confidence.
Faith begets faith.
The more victories you have, the more you will want to step out.
Growing in faith Bible verses
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:5-6)
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Hebrews 10:17)
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? …Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (James 2:14, 21 – 26)
Growing in faith quotes
I love a good quote. Don’t you?
Granted, there is nothing in a quote that the Bible has not already said. But you know, modern language tends to bring the Bible a little closer home. So here are some growing in faith quotes to ponder.
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. – Rabindranath Tagore
Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth. – Susan L. Taylor
Put your nose into the Bible everyday. It is your spiritual food. And then share it. Make a vow not to be a lukewarm Christian. – Kirk Cameron
Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith. – Henry Ward Beecher
The principle part of faith is patience. – George MacDonald
Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. – Mother Teresa
Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times. – Martin Luther
Growing in faith is so possible
In this post, I shared some practical ideas for how to grow your faith in God. Which one can you start applying today?
Change requires action. Direct and specific and tangible action.
As you are growing in faith you are probably going to be surprised at how different your life is becoming.
I ask one favor of you, when you are seeing the fruits of your growth in faith, share it. Come back to this space, connect with me and share your story.
One great way of continuing your growth is by saying things out loud. That act will give life to your goals. And the more you repeat it, the more you will grow in faith.