As Christians, one of our goals is to increase our faith in God. How can we do this? The apostles once asked God to increase their faith as well: "The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith!' And the Lord said, 'If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, "Be uprooted and planted in the sea," and it would obey you'" (Luke 17:5-6).
In this context, the Lord had just taught His disciples to forgive those who sinned against them "seven times" and repented (vv. 1-4). The disciples wanted more faith to be able to forgive as they should. Jesus responded by saying that the faith of a mustard seed was enough to move a tree into the sea. His response made it clear that only a small increase in faith was required to forgive as He commanded.
The same is also often true in our own desire to grow in faith. We think we need a giant increase in faith to obey God, but He indicates that simply obeying Him with small steps of increasing faith is more than sufficient.
There are some practical ways to increase our faith as well. We can start by obeying what we do know about following God. James 1:22 says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." We are to apply what we do know is true.
We should also continue to grow in our knowledge of God to grow in faith. Jesus offered a great example of this when He faced the temptation of Satan in the wilderness. On all three occasions, Jesus responded to temptation by quoting Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). If we desire to increase our faith and better withstand temptation, growing in our knowledge of Scripture is vital.
We also increase our faith by how we serve God. In Hebrews 11, we read of many great biblical leaders who were known for their faith. In each case, they faithfully served God. Abraham was willing to leave his homeland for a place he did not know. Moses returned to Egypt to free the Israelite slaves. We are called to serve God regardless of the degree of difficulty to increase our faith.
Being surrounded by others who are also seeking to grow in faith, and recalling examples such as the people mentioned in Hebrews 11, can also be of great help to increasing our own faith. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Earlier, the writer of Hebrews exhorted, " And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Prayer is also a way to increase our faith as it helps us maintain an active relationship with God. In prayer we can also ask God to increase our faith. God knows our heart and longs to answer according to His will. Our growth in faith is certainly His will for our lives and a prayer He will grant.
As believers, our desire to grow in faith should be accompanied by actions that match this desire. We can grow through applying what we do know, growing in God's Word, serving God, surrounding ourselves with others who are growing in faith, and prayer. Even a small increase in faith is significant and worth the effort in our walk with God.
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