Mar 8, 2024

How Can I Grow in My Faith?

3 Min Read

Imagine a drowning man in a stormy sea who is thrown a lifebelt. In desperation, he grabs hold of it, clings to it, gets within it. At last, he begins to ride the fearful waves. Still full of terrors and doubts, he is troubled lest the lifebelt should somehow fail him, and he be swallowed by the deeps. Imagine he notices that the lifebelt has a small waterproof booklet attached to it. The anxious man—despite the circumstances—begins to read and discovers that the booklet extols the virtues of his life preserver. He reads of the materials from which it is made, the features of its design, and its phenomenal qualities of buoyancy and reliability. He reads of how thoroughly it has been tested, how it has borne the heaviest weights in the fiercest seas, and that no one holding to it has ever drowned. As he reads, his confidence increases.

Is he still amidst the storms of the sea? Yes. Might some occasional great waves still cause him deep concern? Yes. Is he any safer or more secure than he was? No. He is just as safe and secure as when he first laid hold of that life preserver, only now he has greater and ever-growing confidence in its capacity to hold him up through all the dangers and troubles he faces, until he is finally plucked from the waters and brought safely to land.

Admitting the limitations of the illustration, let me suggest some parallels for the growth of faith. When a sinner first trusts in Jesus, that sinner is saved and safe. No one and nothing can pluck him out of the hands of Jesus. He is as secure as he can ever be. But he may not fully understand his security. He knows enough to come to Christ but needs to know more of the Christ to whom he has come. His confidence will only increase as he knows more of the Savior in whom he trusts. How can this be brought about?

Spiritual growth comes through the Scriptures. This is the book which not only makes a man wise for salvation through faith in Christ, but also makes the man of God complete.

First of all, spiritual growth comes through the Scriptures. This is the book which not only makes a man wise for salvation through faith in Christ, but also makes the man of God complete. Christians always need the gospel. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Christ, to consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus (Heb. 3:1). Notice how against all the snares and sorrows of Christian life, all the distractions and deceits of false teaching, the Apostles set Christ and Him crucified before the eyes of God’s people for the increase of their faith. By studying Christ in the Scriptures, we are looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and so our faith grows.

A second way to grow in faith is through praying to God for His Spirit to work greater faith. He is the giver of faith, and so He must be the One who strengthens it. The disciples prayed, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). A troubled father cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Such prayers remind us that true faith can be weaker or stronger and show us that one of the ways in which faith is increased is by asking for it. In answer, Christ shows us more of Himself. Perhaps we do not have because we have not asked (James 4:2)?

Another sweet way to increase faith is fellowship with the saints. The world will sap our faith and Satan will assault it, diverting us from Christ, distracting us from truth, and demanding our attention for other things. One delightful way to counteract this is to spend time with God’s people, speaking of what belongs to the kingdom (Mal. 3:16–18). In such communion with the saints, our sense of heavenly things is refreshed and restored, and comforts are communicated (1 Thess. 4:18, 5:11).

That brings us to experience—both our own and that of others. Reading our Bibles sets before us how the faith of God’s people increases through trials. Abraham, the father of the faithful, had both testings and triumphs of faith (Rom. 4:20). The psalmists strengthened themselves by remembering God’s past works. It is valuable to read of and listen to other believers, past and present, regarding how the Lord has sustained and helped them. Consider that every wave that does not sink us proves again the solidity of the Rock on whom we stand, the efficacy of our great Life Preserver.

It is not simply our faith that saves us. There is a danger of trusting in the strength of our faith, rather than trusting in the Lord Himself. It is Christ who saves us by faith. Christ is the strong man to whom faith is attached, and it is Him in whom we trust, and He who saves. As we look to Him, our faith must increase. Thus, in the words of Isaac Watts:

Should all the hosts of death,
And powers of hell unknown,
Put their most dreadful forms
Of rage and malice on,
I shall be safe, for Christ displays
Superior power and guardian grace.