Why is lack of faith such a common struggle?
We are to walk by faith as Christians. In fact, it is by God's grace, through faith, that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8). Hebrews 11:6 says: "And without faith it is impossible to please him [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Walking by faith requires practice—it does not just happen on its own. Faith is like a muscle that needs to be strengthened.
Right at the beginning, we should clarify that faith is not blind belief that is supposed to somehow magically exist without any proof or evidence. Rather, faith is total confidence—a belief that is grounded in trusting the person of God and His character. This confident trust is something that grows over time. The struggle with faith enters the picture when we try to balance truths we can see with truths that we cannot see: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). We can easily grasp a truth for which we can see the full physical evidence, but the truth of the gospel is one that cannot be seen in the flesh but must be believed (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Christianity is entirely founded on a belief in God that is activated by putting our faith in the works and person of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible serves as a record of God's faithfulness to people since creation and a signpost of His faithfulness that is yet to come.
When we come into a place of faith, naturally, there will be opposition. The accepted cultural norms and beliefs within the world, the sinful desires of our flesh, and the attempted deceptions from Satan and his demons are all things that will be issues we have to face and rise up against. How can we do this? By taking up the Word of God, which is the shield of faith: "In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one" (Ephesians 6:16). The Word of God helps us to remember God's faithfulness, giving us continued confidence in His goodness.
The primary cause for our lack of faith is that we do not have an actual relationship with the God we claim to put our faith in. Just as we don't trust strangers in our day-to-day interactions, we cannot fully trust a God who is a stranger to us. As we invest in our relationship with God, we get to know Him better and develop a greater level of trust in Him and His ways because we see them in action. It's hard to place faith in someone who is a stranger to us. The answer is to get to know God.
How can we increase our faith? By growing in our knowledge and understanding of the Word of God and by spending time in prayer, getting to know Him and His character: "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). We can hear the Word by going to church, spending time in personal Bible reading and prayer, listening to sermons online, or being part of a Bible study, to name a few.
Keeping our faith strong requires discipline and an investment of our time and mental energy. There will be natural ebbs and flows, but we must stay close to Christ. If it were easy to follow Christ and be filled with faith, everyone would be. Even the Israelites struggled with their faith in the desert after God had freed them from slavery in Egypt and led them safely through the wilderness (Exodus 32:1–6).
There will always be things that cause us to have doubts or struggle with a lack of faith. The good news is that even when we feel faithless, God will always be faithful to us (2 Timothy 2:13). We have to prioritize bringing to mind the goodness of God and how He has been faithful to us in the past. This will increase our faith and give us strength for the days to come: "For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness" (Psalm 33:4).
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