Faith. Trust. Believing. These are important elements of any relationship but especially important in our relationship with God. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God,” so it makes sense to figure out how to strengthen it, right?
Romans 12:3 tells us we’ve each been given “a measure of faith” that helps us assess ourselves with sober judgement. So, let’s begin…
Faith Builder #1: Know the Maker of Promises
If a salesman comes to my door and promises his particular company can provide the best internet service I’ve ever had, I guarantee I’ll politely tell him, “No, thank you,” and close the door.
Let’s say my best friend comes over ten minutes later and tells me her family has just switched to that salesman’s internet company—and it’s the fastest, cheapest, bestestestest internet company ever—I will run down the street to find that salesman and immediately sign up!
Why? Because I know my friend, and I trust her because I know her.
Knowing the Savior
It’s impossible to trust a God we don’t know. Suspicion and misperceptions taint our view of an impersonal deity. Even the disciples, who walked with Jesus on this earth every day for three years, needed personal tutoring sessions to clear up their misperceptions about Yahweh—the Jewish God of their fathers that they’d heard about all their lives. Jesus often took them to solitary places where He could reveal the truth about Himself and the Father.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” Mark 6:31-32
After three years, these men knew Jesus. They trusted Him. But even the disciples doubted after Jesus’s crucifixion and needed to be reassured when He appeared to them after His resurrection.
Notice the disciples’ deeper level of knowing came after a severe tragedy—a shaking of their faith. It’s a theme we see repeated frequently in Scripture. Look at Job, for instance:
“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” Job 1:1
Job was a righteous man who knew God well. He was so righteous that God even pointed him out to Satan. Yet still…Job didn’t know God as fully as he would know God after suffering. How do we know this? Because after Job’s suffering, he said to God:
“My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
Even righteous Job, who knew God so well, still had more of God to know. And the only way to plumb the depths of God’s mystery is to slog through the hardships He allows into our lives.
Faith Builder #2: Know the Promises
Using our previous “what if” scenario: If that same internet salesman comes to my door and somehow convinces me to install his product, I now have this awesome, amazingly fast and efficient internet service. He then blathers on about the capability to stream Netflix, engage in real-time gaming, and download iTunes and videos in a flash.
Let’s imagine I know nothing about Netflix, real-time games, or iTunes, and I only use my internet to send emails. The next day, when my email server changes their format or crashes, I immediately blame the new internet provider and cancel the service.
Bad move. Why? I should have spent a little time mining the gold right at my fingertips! I could have found a dozen other email providers and accessed unlimited entertainment options as well.
In the midst of suffering, hardship, and trials, we’re seldom in the mood to hear well-intended advice. So please hear the golden advice now…
Learn God’s promises before, during, and after the problems hit.
Here a few intentional, positive ways to do that:
- Spend more time reading God’s Word.
- Use a special mark in your Bible when you read a promise (maybe a specific color highlighter or a box around the words, etc.).
- Buy a Bible promise booklet (CLICK HERE for an example I’ve found helpful).
Guard Against Cherry Picking
Nowhere in Scripture does it promise that God will give you a red corvette. I’ve heard this Scripture abused too often:
“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
The abuse happens when we emphasize the second half of the sentence and give little thought to the first phrase. If we truly delight ourselves in the Lord, the desires of our hearts will line up with His desires. That’s where the knowing God part becomes so important.
It’s only when we know God AND His promises that our faith grows in proper proportion. As we search for God’s promises in Scripture, my prayer is that we’ll search with our hearts attuned to His still, small voice.
- It’s impossible to trust a God we don’t know.
- We plumb the depths of God’s mystery by slogging thru the hardships He allows in our lives.
- It’s only when we know God AND His promises that our faith grows in proper proportion.
- Is there one of God’s promises that is especially precious to you?