Faith is such an important aspect of the Christian walk.
This is something that none of us would dispute.
Faith is what our entire salvation and relationship with God is based on. It is also what enables us to walk in a holy Christ-like life.
For this reason, I want to share with you four key truths to hold onto that will help you establish a deeper level of faith in your life today.
1. Faith might look risky but should never feel risky
Contrary to the famous John Wimber quote (“Faith is spelled R-I-S-K”), faith is most definitely not spelled “R-I-S-K”.[Tweet “Faith is NOT spelled ‘R-I-S-K'”]
Now I want to say up front that there is a very good chance as you step out in what God is asking you to do, people might think it’s risky.
I think this is truth in which the saying primary finds its roots.
However, while walking in faith might look risky, to those around you it should never feel risky to you.
Why do I say that?[Tweet “Because if your faith feels risky then it’s not faith. It’s doubt.”]
When we look at the word doubt in our Bible we can see that in the Greek it simply means to have two thoughts. If we are thinking something contrary to what God is saying, it cannot be faith it is doubt.
Faith is simply to accept what God is saying.
If we are unwavering in what we believe God is saying there is no risk. It’s only when we dabble the waters of faith with muddy unbelief that it becomes risky.
Obviously this is not a message to condemn anyone, we all have doubts at times.
But let’s not get into the practice of calling our doubt “faith” in an effort to try to make ourselves feel better about it.
It’s perfectly okay to explain that faith might look risky to other people. However if we teach people that they should feel risky about acting in faith they won’t know how to differentiate between faith and doubt!
In saying this, if we feel that we have faith and yet still have some doubts – it’s okay to act in this situation. I’m not promoting complacency until we have everything perfect.
I certainly don’t have perfect faith at all times and God is still choosing to use me.
The important thing is that we recognise the doubt. In doing this the doubt loses its power as we consciously remind ourselves of what is true and what is not, what is from God and what is from us.
2. You are not called to grow your faith
Despite what you may have been taught – faith is not something you are required to grow. In fact, it’s something you are only required to have.[Tweet “Faith was never yours to begin with, it’s always been a gift from God.”]
It’s something that He has given you and desires for you to hold on to.
Hebrews 12v2 says that “Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith”.[Tweet “God is where faith comes from and not only that, God is the one who grows it.”]
I like the way Ephesians 2v8 puts it – in this verse Paul says that we are saved by grace, through faith, and even that faith is a gift in case we planned on boasting about that.
We must understand that faith is something that comes from God, we are not able to drum it up ourselves, and we are not able to perfect it ourselves.
As I mentioned in my first point, faith is simply to agree with what God says. That’s why Paul tells the Romans that faith comes by hearing the word of God.[Tweet “When God speaks, we receive faith.”]
He has literally spoken it into existence. Our only job is to hold on to it and not let go.
As a side note here, the “word of God” talked about here is not the Bible, it is the spoken word of God. Now I’m not saying you have to hear God audibly but that faith comes from hearing God’s voice.
This voice might come through a friend, the Bible, a billboard as you drive to work, an audible voice, a still small internal voice or any other means.
But for it to bring forth faith it is important that it is a living spoken word from God to you.
You see, while our faith will grow, it is not our responsibility to do the growing of that faith.
Rather we are called to simply believe what God has said to us and let go of every other belief we have which contradicts this truth.
Growing in faith has never been easier.
This leads me on to my third point.
3. Faith is not a work
When Martin Luther lead the way to reform the church in the 1500’s his primary message was that we were not saved by works but by grace through faith.
What a wonderful truth. But there was a problem, you see most of us like something to work on!
Luckily, we are an ingenious bunch, Luther said it wasn’t by works but by faith, so what did we do?
We turned faith into a work!
We’ve let go of the more obvious “works”, I mean the church today doesn’t have pilgrimages or indulgences to pay which will get you into heaven. However, how many Christians do you know have traveled to a specific location in order to grow in their faith, or felt that they needed to give to a certain ministry to grow in their faith?
We understand that works don’t get us saved but we still kind of think that works will grow our faith.
To grow in faith we have created subtle to-do lists:
- Read your Bible every day
- Pray for at least 30mins at the beginning of the day
- Make sure you attend church once a week
- Make home group at least once every couple of weeks
These are all things you do to grow your faith right?
Well in some ways a byproduct of doing some of these things will be that your faith grows, but only inasmuch as God will speak to you while you do these things. But lets face it, He could talk to you in any other circumstance, even if you didn’t do some of these things.
You see there’s nothing wrong with reading your Bible every day, or giving money to a certain ministry or going to church every week.
It’s just really important that we understand the following:[Tweet “Faith comes by hearing not by doing.”]
Going to church doesn’t grow your faith, but God may speak to you while your church.
Reading your Bible doesn’t grow your faith, but God is very likely to speak to you while you read your Bible.
Going to a specific part of the world won’t grow your faith, but you may find it easier to hear God’s voice there and will in turn end up growing in your faith.
So many people put the cart before the horse in this regard.
We read passages like the one in James which says that faith has works and we instinctively focus on the works.
It’s so important that we understand that we are not supposed to be producing these works ourselves rather faith is supposed to be producing them.
Everyone has works but not everyone has faith, the type of works that James is looking for comes from pure faith.
Let’s focus on our faith, and let’s not turn it into a work but rather just receive it as a gift as we hear God speak to us.
4. There is a difference between knowing and believing.
1 John 4v16 says that “we know and believe that God loves us…”
Isn’t it interesting that John separates knowing and believing? It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch of the imagination to see why.
Let’s face it, we all know that God loves us, but to what degree do we really truly believe that God loves us?
I’m pretty confident that I could say that I know and believe that God loves me. However, the degree to which I know and the degree to which I believe are probably slightly different. And that’s me being very generous to myself!
When I feel that I have a lack of faith in a specific area, I usually find I already know what is true I just don’t believe it.
Now I might believe on some level, but when the rubber hits the road I find I don’t really. The faith I have is not the faith that comes from God, it is a faith that I have built myself.
Ultimately I’ve some knowledge of the truth and I’ve tried to build faith upon it. However, as we’ve seen in the other points, faith is a gift from God that comes solely by hearing His voice.
It’s so important to be able to highlight the difference between what we know and what we believe. When we know that there is a difference between the two we can ask God to speak into the situation.
In fact, sometimes we don’t even know what’s true, those times are probably a little more frequent than we care to admit!
But they are some of my favorite times, because then we just go straight to hearing God’s voice and His gift of faith will establish what we need to know and believe.
God’s voice comes in like a hurricane turning everything upside down. Whenever he speaks there is a gift of faith. It’s a lot easier to believe, when what we are believing is grounded in his voice, and not our vain attempt to believe something.
My prayer is that these four truths about faith have encouraged you that it is easy for you to have faith. That God is speaking into your heart and establishing faith constantly. I believe that even as you read this article God has been speaking to and that your faith has risen.
How have some of these truths change your perspective on faith?