How do we grow in faith? What do we think ‘faith’ means anyway?
We can be tempted to imagine great faith means the belief that God will heal when we ask him to, or supply finances or a job when we are in need, and of course this is involved, we do ask him for these things. But faith is also trusting him when the going is not smooth and easy, when the sickness continues, the job is lost or a precious relationship crumbles.
We learn on the road to maturity that faith grows well on a knife edge.
If we ask to grow in faith we can imagine we will be infused with a confidence given by God that all will be well. A kind of overnight infusion miracle.
He tells us and shows us differently to that though.
In a nutshell, troubles and trials build faith.
Read Hebrews 11 and imagine yourself in any one of those situations. If those troubles were faced without faith in God, well, they probably wouldn’t have been faced, they would more than likely have been run from.
Why would they, or we, persevere if there was no greater purpose than the here and now?
Such feats are done because God is really there and he is really good.
We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how trouble can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary, we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Romans 3:3-5 The Message
We will see all sorts of things which will challenge us. Situations which will take us to the edge of endurance, and take our emotions to places we haven’t chosen to go, but which grow our trust in him as we see him meet needs, and meet us, time and again.
We grow in faith as we experience the reality of his faithfulness.
Will we shrink back from the prayer, ‘Build my faith, Lord’?
Not if we want to fulfil his purposes.
If our heart is to have him accomplish all he wants to in us and through us we will risk the broken heart and the knife edge for the growth in faith. Because we know we please him when we do, and we love him.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith– of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire– may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9