How to Grow Stronger in Your Faith

Man Lifting Dumb Bells

God Wants Your Faith to Grow Strong

It is God's will that your faith should grow strong. God desires to rescue you from spiritual despondency and bring you to a place of blessedness. In His sermon on the mount, Christ declared a blessing to those who sense their need for spiritual fulfillment:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3, ESV). 

The Bible teaches that your faith can grow strong and also increase. For example, the Bible records that Abraham "grew strong in his faith" (Romans 4:20, ESV). The disciples, too, pleaded with the Lord to "increase" their "faith" (Luke 17:5, NKJV). 

Growing a deeper faith in God is a lifelong pursuit. There is never a point where you can say that your faith is so strong so much that it is impregnable. There is always room for growth - a high bar to reach. 

A strong faith in God is no guarantee that you will not pass through the fires of temptations and trials. Believing in God does not cushion you from life's disappointments. True faith assures you that the testing fires are inevitable, but God will deliver you through them. 

Enough said let’s get down to our list on how to grow stronger faith.

As a pastor I have often been asked, "How can I grow stronger in my faith?” Here is how: 

  1. Develop a Lifestyle of Prayer

Man standing in a prayer posture

To grow stronger in your faith, you need to develop a lifestyle of prayer. The only way you enter into God's presence is through prayers. Prayer is a conversation with the Creator of the universe, and to grow your faith; you need to keep that conversation going.

When you love someone, you make it your goal to keep in touch with the person. In the same way, your love for God will motivate you to stay in touch with Him through prayer. Milian Lauritz Andreasen, in his book "Prayer," agrees that your love for God should be the motivating factor in your prayers:

"We pray because we love Him who first loved us and because we find in Him a satisfaction of the soul not obtainable elsewhere. We pray not to get what we want but to find out what He wants. We pray not to get Him to change His mind but to have our minds changed. We pray not to have Him change His plans for us, but to ask Him to help us willingly to accept His plans. We pray not primarily to avoid pain but for the strength to bear it. We pray not to be taken out of this world but to be kept faithful while in it. We pray not to escape hardship or trials but for patience to endure them. We pray not to escape work, but for wisdom to know how to do it and do it well. We pray first and last because we love Him who has loved us because we treasure His fellowship and that of the saints." Milian Lauritz Andreasen, Prayer p. 17

God loves to hear you pray that's why He urges you to "come boldly unto the throne of grace" and "obtain mercy" (Hebrews 4:16, KJV).

There are prayers that God answers instantly. For example, prayer for forgiveness and deeper spiritual experience will get an instant answer. The apostle John affirms it this way:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:19, KJV).

God wills that you should be forgiven and cleansed. John further says, 

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us (1 John 5:14, KJV).

Praying in line with the will of God positions you to receive instant answers from Him. Seeking pardon for your sin is something which is in harmony with the will of God. Forgiveness is a good thing, and God withholds nothing good from His people: 

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11, ESV)

When you seek to be made right with God through the merits of Christ, you desire a good thing. God will never "withhold" forgiveness from you if you seek it. Your heavenly Father is ever ready to forgive and cleanse you. Christ invites you to:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8, ESV)

God is more than willing to bestow His special blessings upon you. The only thing that is keeping you from these blessings is unbelief. And just like the father who brought his demon-possessed son to Christ for deliverance, you need to pray to God to rescue you from "unbelief." The Bible records:

Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24-25, NKJV)

Unbelief is a stumbling block to receiving your blessings from God. When you pray, you need to ask God to save you from unbelief.
Prayer is your defense against temptation. When you feel afraid, claim God's promises. When you feel guilty, ask God for forgiveness. When you are happy, raise your voice in sweet adoration. When you feel lost, pray for direction. When in need, ask, and you shall receive.

Integrate prayer in all aspects of your life. If you would like to dig deeper into the science of prayer you can read the books; Prayer: The Ultimate Conversation by Charles F. Stanley and also read Brenda Walsh's book "Passionate Prayer."

2. Wait on the Lord 

man and woman seated on a bench waiting

To deepen your faith in God, you need to learn how to exercise patience. 

There are times when you pray, and instead of getting an answer, you get a deafening silence, or you don't get the answer you expect. Exercising patience during those trying moments can test your faith. During these challenging times, you feel like you have stagnated. God appears to be far off or as though He has forgotten you. If that sounds like something you are going through, you need to learn to wait on God. Why is that so, you ask? Simple, because sometimes, God in His sovereignty chooses not to answer your prayers in a moment or in the way you want Him to. God's answers and promises know no delay or haste. 

Waiting is not easy; nevertheless, the word of God admonishes you to wait on the Lord:

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. (Psalm 27:14, ESV)

Faith and patience are indispensable twins. Faith is what encourages you to hope in the Lord, and patience encourages you to endure the difficult moments. If you would want to study further the science of patience read Keith Knoche's book, Lord, Give Me Patience--But Hurry up About It

3. Soak in the Word of God

A man studying the bible with notes besides

The Bible - the word of God - is the medium through which God communicates His knowledge. There is no better way of growing deeper in your faith life than studying the word of God. The scriptures are the active ingredient for strengthening your faith as the apostle Paul declares:

So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17, KJV)

The Greek word translated “hearing” in this verse is ᾰ̓κούω (akouo) and it means to hear and understand at the same time. So, faith comes by hearing and understanding the word of God. 

Your eternal destiny also hinges on the saving knowledge of God. Jesus prayed:

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3, NKJV)

The word of God is a fountain of knowledge that leads to eternal life. When you study the scriptures, you gain saving knowledge of the true God and Jesus the Christ. 

If you want to strengthen and grow your faith, you will study the word of God daily like the noble Bereans. The apostle Paul records that:

These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11, NKJV) 

Just like the Bereans, you will create time every day to drink deep from the well of God's word through study. 

Also, as you study, pray for spiritual insight. For example, the Bible records that David prayed for discernment while studying the Torah (law or Pentateuch): 

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. (Psalm 119:18, ESV)

When you pray for insight to understand God's word, God will reveal "wondrous things" to you. You will grow stronger in faith as you study, internalize, absorb, memorize, meditate, and apply biblical principles in your life. It is by soaking in the word of God that you can understand and appreciate God's love and goodness towards you. A good start to help you understand and study the Bible deeper is Gordon D. Fee's book "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth" 

4. Receive the Word of God

A bride holding a Bible with bridegroom behind

Studying the word of God is accumulating divine knowledge - but there is more to it. To build your faith in God, you need to receive the word of God. 

But what does it mean to receive the word of God? Receiving the word of God means to heed and apply the promises and principles of the word of God in your day-to-day life. It means to live out the truths you discover in the Bible. In other words, you are not only a "hearer" but also a "doer of the word" as James puts it:

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:21-22, NKJV)

The "doing" spoken of here comes from a living faith in Christ, not as a means to earn credit with God. It is easy to trust in your strength and abilities instead of wholly depending on God's enabling and transforming power. Your service to God should spring forth from a motive of appreciation of the salvific act of Christ on the cross. When you base your Christian service on love, your "doing" becomes the "works of faith" (that is a by-product of faith).

The word of God, when received, is life-changing. It also acts as a shield against the temptations of sin. The Psalmist speaking to God said:

Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11, NKJV)

The Bible is the agent through which God will bring about transformation in your life.

How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. (Psalm 119:9, NKJV)

Barry C. Black, the current US senate chaplain, shared a personal story about his adolescent years' struggles. A friend invited Black to accompany him on a revenge mission against another teen. On their way to execute their plans, Black stopped in his tracks. A Bible verse he had committed to memory came to mind: 

"You shall not follow a crowd to do evil" (Exodus 23:2a, NKJV)

At that very moment, Black turned to his friend and told him to his face that he had changed his mind about accompanying him to commit a crime. Black immediately started walking home as fast as he could. The young man was left bewildered, but he was determined to follow through with his plan. And, so, Black's friend went ahead with his plan and murdered another teen in cold blood. The police arrested the young man, and the courts sentenced him to death. Barry C. Black was saved from this ordeal because he chose to listen and heed God's word. You can read the story of his life in his book "From the Hood to the Hill: A Story of Overcoming" here.

Study and apply God's word in your life. Receive and heed every word - it might save you some day!

5. Share the Word of God

To nurture and strengthen your faith in God, you need to share the glad tidings of salvation with your family, neighbors, and friends. 

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Isaiah 52:7, NKJV).

In the ancient near eastern countries, a messenger (of either bad news or good news) would endure so many things. A messenger could encounter wild animals, robbers, and sometimes hostile enemy troops. These risks would not deter a faithful messenger as he traversed valleys, hills, and plains bearing the news. The news could be of a victory on a battlefield or peace accords between warring nations and tribes. The above verse (Isaiah 52:7) primarily celebrates one such messenger - a messenger who bears good news and gives hope to the people of God. The apostle Paul in the New Testament (Romans 10:14,15) applies this scripture in a secondary sense to the witnesses and bearers of the good news of salvation. They, too (the New Testament messengers) risked everything to testify of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ to the near lands and outposts. 

Sharing the word of God is an opportunity for you to witness first-hand the power of God transforming other people's lives. There is an indescribable joy that comes with evangelizing our friends and seeing them changed. There is nothing more fulfilling to an evangelist than to witness lives being transformed by God through his or her ministry. Seeing your friends transformed through your witness builds and strengthens your faith. The opposite is also true - when you don't share the word of God with others, you stagnate in your faith. 
Sharing the word of God also helps make truth stick in your mind.

So, share the hope that is in you; this will strengthen your faith. If you would like to study further the art and craft of persuasion then read Mark Finley's book, Persuasion.

6. Fellowship with Others

A Group of People Praying

To grow strong in your Christian faith, you need to fellowship with other Christians. You need the support system of the community of faith. In the New Testament, after sharing the gospel and winning new believers to the faith, the apostles would encourage them to join their fellowship. The apostle John while writing to the new converts in the first century, urged them to continue in their fellowship:

That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3, ESV)

Fellowship with other Christians encourages and builds your faith. It is an opportunity for you to draw inspiration from the life and testimony of fellow believers who may be in a better or worse situation than yours. The apostle Paul encouraged the Thessalonian Christian to continue in fellowship:

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonian 5:11, ESV)

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17, ESV)

You meet with other Christians to sharpen each other's faith. 

In the early days of Christianity, most believers experienced persecution from the non-believing Jews and the Romans. During these trying moments, they would find solace and encouragement in drawing together in fellowship. The apostle Paul recognized this and instructed them not to neglect meeting together.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25, NKJV)

To strengthen your faith, you need to join a fellowship near you. If you would like to study further the need for community in discipleship, read J.T. English's book Deep Discipleship: How the Church Can Make Whole Disciples of Jesus

7. Forgive: Let Go Grudges and Bitterness

Sad or angry woman looking pensively

To strengthen your faith, you need to learn the art and science of forgiveness. Forgiveness brings healing to your heart and releases you from people who hurt you. Harboring grudges and bitterness adversely affects your health and wears off your bones. Solomon records that:

A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones. (Proverbs 14:30, ESV).

Not only do grudges and bitterness affect your bones, but they also affect your mind, mood, and spirits. Bible wisdom states that:

A joyful heart makes a cheerful countenance, but sorrow of the heart crushes the spirit. (Proverbs 15:13)

These negative emotions (grudges, bitterness, anger, revengeful thoughts) can lead you to depression and anxiety or an early grave if not well managed. The biblical record puts it this way: 

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. (Job 5:2)

Also, bitterness negatively affects your spiritual life and denies you the privilege of enjoying the present.
Instead of shouldering the burden of guilt ask God to forgive you.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9, NIV)

Forgive yourself, forgive others, and accept God's forgiveness. If you would like to read stories of people who overcame bitterness in their lives, then read the book "The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories from Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable" by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt

8. Sing and Listen to Gospel Music

A man holding a microphone and stand belting out a song

Music is a powerful instrument for helping you grow spiritually. The hymn writers and other Christian songwriters composed and wrote their songs out of an overflow of their individual religious experiences. Most of these composers went through experiences similar to your own. The hymns remind you that the events and circumstances in your life are not unique to you only. Many other believers in ages past have gone through more difficult moments and wrote, composed, and even sung about it. So it is true that "no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man" (1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV).

Christian music is a potent portion for driving home the truth of the word of God. Sacred music encourages you to go deeper in faith. Christ-centric music uplifts and connects your soul to God. James encourages you to sing when in trouble:

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. (James 5:13, NIV)

Christian music transforms you from the inside and fills you with peace and gratitude to God. Joan Huyser-Honig, in her article Musical Theology: Past lessons, Present Perspectives, states that: 
"Understanding and applying musical theology deepens worshipers' experience of God, and better prepares them to share God's Word in the world."
Whenever you feel down in your spiritual life, sing a hymn or a contemporary gospel song to uplift your spirits, and encourage your Christian faith. If you are interested in knowing more about the impact of godly music on faith, read this article by BJ Gonzalvo on How Music Leads to God

9. Show Generosity Towards the Less Fortunate

young men sharing pizza
To strengthen your faith in God, you need to start helping the needy. Exercising a spirit of benevolence empties you of selfishness and enables you to build a Christ-like character. A generous spirit brings fulfillment in your life as well as spiritual progress. By giving liberally to the poor, you recognize God as the owner of everything. The Bible gives this promise:

Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse. (Proverbs 28:27, ESV)

Whatever you do to the less fortunate members of society is remembered and recorded by God.

And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' (Matthew 25:40)

True Bible religion is never lacking in acts of kindness.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27, ESV).

The apostle Paul further reminds you to take advantage of the many opportunities out there to do good without discriminating. 

So then, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10, ESV)

Acts of benevolence are the hallmarks of true Christians. The Bible encourages you to help the needy among us. Christ taught that every kind deed you do to others is as if you did it to Christ Himself.

For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. (Matthew 25:35-36)

You are a steward of Christ's greater riches (both material and spiritual). Bless others with your means as much as you can. You will be surprised how much your faith will grow strong. You can also read about the difference between Christian philanthropy and secular philanthropy here.

10. Volunteer in Community Service Drives

Man cleaning windows in a community apartment

To grow your faith, volunteer in your local community welfare drives. Volunteer in some rehabilitation centers, orphanages, elderly homes, the and even the Red Cross. John, the apostle, advised the new believers love in deed and truth:

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18, ESV).

Participate in free food distribution to the needy and environmental cleaning efforts. Remember, the Bible encourages you to use your God-given resources to serve the poor and less privileged members of your society. The apostle Peter states:'

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace (1 Peter 4:10).

We are to carry each other's burden as as Paul reminded the Galatians:

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2, ESV)
Remember the words of Christ:
“The greatest among you will be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)

Paul records that from the beginning you were "created to do good works" (Ephesians 2:10). So, volunteer wherever possible. One of the best books on the importance of Christian volunteerism is the book, The Volunteer Effect: How Your Church Can Find, Train, and Keep Volunteers Who Make a Difference by Jason Young.

Strong Faith Assures You of God's Presence

Remember, you are not alone. True faith assures you of God's presence in your life. For example, Terry Anderson, a peacemaker, who was once held captive by Islamic fundamentalists in Lebanon, testified that what kept him alive during that trying period was a consciousness that he was not alone. Anderson acknowledged that:

"Faith is what you find when you're alone and find that you are not alone." ~ Terry Anderson

In his book, "Healing Psalms: The Dialogues with God That Help You Cope with Life," Joshua O. Haberman quotes Ignazio Silone - a novelist and politician. Silone wrote:

"He who has faith is never alone. But the atheist is always alone, even if from morning to night he lives in crowded streets." ~ Ignazio Silone 

Final Takeaway:
You are not alone. God is with you, and He will help you grow stronger in faith. 

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