Faith is opening our hearts to what Christ has to give; and yielding our lives to what he desires. In other words, we give our life to Christ and we receive Christ’s life in return.
As we live in faith, people, events, and circumstances will attempt to chink and to erode this foundation. The foundation of faith will weaken unless we constantly give it the attention of maintenance and upkeep. Here are five ways to strengthen and support your faith.
Look at the author of faith. Jesus originated the idea of faith. He, also, carries it through to completion. The more we know Jesus the greater confidence we will demonstrate in stepping out on faith. Peter walked on the water knowing Jesus was present. The four men who lowered their friend through the thatch roof to Jesus had seen this miracle man work. It was not their enormous faith that enabled these people to accomplish great things. Instead, it was the gaze onto the person of Christ.
Follow the examples of faith. Hebrews 11, the Hall of Fame of Faith, contains the lives of many men and women who demonstrated a remarkable faith throughout Biblical history. The lives of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, and David are recorded as a source of encouragement and example. Their lives of faith should be examined thoroughly. History also offers examples to follow. The biographies of great men and women of God should be required reading for all Christians. Especially those who want their faith strengthened. For example, William Carey, the first modern missionary, traveled to India. His mission work started schools, churches, and translated the Bible into many languages and dialects. George Mueller, a pastor in England during the eighteenth century, lived by faith. He founded orphanages that cared for the neglected children of England. During his lifetime 7.5 million dollars was raised to educate 123,000 students and support 189 missionaries. He never made a plea, or sent out a brochure, or had a direct mail campaign. He trusted in God for all of his needs. Also, we should discover the unsung heroes of faith in our own lives. Heroic men and women of faith are around if we will only notice. People of faith leave clues of their vibrant faith. Make a personal study of finding those clues.
Take a risk. Faith is risky business. Kierkegaard wrote, “Without risk there is no faith.” For faith to grow we venture out beyond our own abilities and resources. Out on the limb, doing the impossible, we test the resources of God and depend totally on Him. Faith is always costly and expensive. But people of faith have learned to give all they have to God and to trust him to give back all that they need. That’s scary. But the only way for our faith to grow. When we risk the greater God works in our lives. Even when it means asking for forgiveness, tithing, quitting a job, or making a stand.
Exercise your faith. If faith is not “up and doing” it atrophies. Like our muscles if they aren’t continually exercised they become weak. Jack Taylor noted, “A faith that does not walk will soon be too weak to stand.” We should exercise our faith every chance we get. Continually search for ways to put muscle on faith. For instance, what about increasing your faith by giving more time and money to Christian causes? Or praying boldly for God using you in his service daily? Or looking for opportunities to witness in everyday life?
Expect results. We must see God work. We can be challenged to believe, to follow examples, and to exercise our faith, but if we never see anything happen, we will soon give up. So, look for and expect God to work when you walk in faith. When we step out on faith God works and provides results. William Carey, the cobbler who became the first missionary, said, “Attempt great things from God; expect great things from God.” Faith is not believing God can do wonders. It is believing God will. We limit God when we don’t expect results. As our faith matures the foundation of this new life strengthens and develops. A change occurs. The believer begins to look and act in a new manner. As our faith becomes distinctive so does our life.
Recently I wrote a book on Psalm 23, Soul Therapy: The Healing Words of Psalm 23, that speaks to the heart, quiets your spirit, and eases loneliness. This psalm is a picture of contentment; it represents that mental state and physical place for which everyone longs. I share how Psalm 23 can comfort and empower your life. Click here to claim your copy.