Where does your faith come from? How do you increase your faith? It’s worth knowing since no one wants to be like the anxious disciple from Luke 12:28 and be called ‘O ye of little faith.’
All you need is God right?
The obvious answer is that our faith comes from God and to increase our faith, we need more of God. This could mean more prayer and devotional time. While this is true and our faith is ultimately a gift from God, this answer is not always the most helpful or complete.
This is similar to the question: How did you come to faith in Christ? Some Christians answer with something like, “God filled my heart and opened my eyes” or “God revealed himself to me.” Both are great answers that speak to the grace, power and sovereignty of God but I don’t know if that really answers the question of how.
God, His People and His Word
I would like the gospel and the word of God to be affirmed more often in our conversations. The answer I want to hear more often is something like, “The gospel was preached to me and I believed! That’s how God revealed himself to me and that’s why I believe.” I think that is the beauty of how God works and how he uses his people and his word. That’s the message behind Romans 10:14-17:
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
The message is clear. People will not come to faith in Christ unless someone preaches the gospel! So there is nothing wrong with proclaiming that when asked how you yourself came to faith. Don’t feel like you are taking away anything from God by mentioning the work of man. Whoever preached to you was faithful and God is glorified in that.
So going back to the question: How do you increase your faith? The answer is in verse 17. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. By studying the word of God and increasing in biblical knowledge, your faith can increase.
Book Smart vs. Street Smart
Many Christian’s wrongfully downplay bible knowledge as if book smart Christians won’t survive in a world where you need to be street smart. It is as if being able to pray and being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit trumps theological knowledge in the real world. Don’t get me wrong, I realize biblical knowledge can be abused, misused or under utilized but that’s no reason to always downplay it.
I think Romans 10 teaches that you won’t be any kind of smart without book smarts. Prayer and Holy Spirit calling is important but how will you know how to pray or recognize the Spirit without the word of God embedded in your heart and mind? Sound theology and sound doctrine leads to sound practice. This is why reading your bible is important. This is why being preached the word regularly is important. It helps you pray better, discern the will of God better and minister to others better.
This also means we need to study God’s word carefully. If our faith increases with our increase in biblical knowledge, it would be worth learning how to study the bible more deeply. The bible is not something we should just skim through looking for those sweet nuggets to tweet or post up on Facebook. We need to dig into every word with proper interpretation. Pastors need to preach the whole counsel of God and provide useful applications. The more you hear and read the word of God and the more you understand it, the more faith you will have.