Growing Your Faith-Part 1
How do you grow your faith?
When people say “I want to grow in my faith,” what do they mean?
They may mean many different things.
It may mean they want to simply believe there is a God or believe in God. It might mean they want to start going to church more regularly. It could mean they want to start reading the Bible or read it more regularly.
It could also mean they want to deepen their personal relationship with God, or have more faith in Him and His ways, which are the ideas I am going to explore here.
Strengthening & Deepening Our Relationship With God
If “I want to grow in my faith” means “to strengthen my personal relationship with God,” it seems to me we are very much on the right track of what God wants.
Much like a plant grows roots deeply into rich soil, which strengthens and sustains the plant, so it is in our relationship with God. We need to be close to Him and have our roots in God and in our relationship with Him and in His Word, His will, and His ways. This will supply us with spiritual nutrition and living water for our lives.
Know and Be One
To really know someone, you have to be in a close relationship with them. To know someone, you have to spend a lot of time with them, be vulnerable with them, and listen to them. In the case of a spouse, you actually are so close with them that the “two become one flesh.”
When Jesus is praying in the garden of Gethsemane before going to be crucified on the cross for all of us, he prayed for us to KNOW God and Jesus Christ:
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
(John 17:3 ESV)
In the garden, Jesus also prayed for all of us “who will believe” to be ONE with God and with Jesus:
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(John 17:20-23 NIV)
I remember the day several years ago that it dawned on me, while reading this passage, Jesus actually prayed for me, and for all of us, over 2,000 years before we got here. And His prayer was not for us to have riches, or an easy life that is free from struggles of all varieties. His prayer was “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” He prayed for us to be ONE with Him and God the Father.
Abide in Jesus, the Vine
As recorded earlier in the Gospel of John, Jesus is teaching His disciples to abide in Him. Abide means to reside, to stay in close relationship, to dwell with.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself,
unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:4-5 ESV)
To abide with Jesus is to stay close to Him, to make your daily home base with Him, to walk with Him closely, as you would with someone with whom you are in a very close relationship.
Having Faith in God’s Ways, Not Our Own
If “I want to grow my faith” means “I want to increase my level of faith in God and His ways,” we are also on the right track.
We like to focus on what we see with our human eyes, but God likes us to focus on what we see with our eyes of faith, namely Him and His plans, promises, and truths. The Bible puts it like this:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV)
…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4: 18 ESV)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
(Colossians 3:2 ESV)
By growing closer to God and deepening our relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, we will also increase our level of faith in Him and His ways, instead of having so much faith in the things of this world and the things that we try to control ourselves.
Staying focused on God, helps us remember
- It’s not about “me”
- It’s about His vision and purpose
- It’s about His love and redemption of His hurting people
We need to come to the difficult, but life-changing conclusion that His way is always better than our way. Not easier—better.
In the next post, “Growing Your Faith-Part 2,” we will look at some practical “how-to’s” to put these ideas into action to grow our faith.