In Matthew 8, the disciples become afraid when the boat they were in was tossed about in a dangerous storm. When they sought help from Jesus, He said to them “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
When you are in the midst of difficult circumstances, you may identify well with these men of “little faith.” Knowing that this is not how God would have us to endure the storms of life, we ask ourselves “How can I increase my faith?”
In Luke 17:5, the apostles spoke to Jesus and said “Increase our faith!” What was Jesus’ response? He told them “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
The Lord told them that it was not the size of their faith but the power of God that matters most.
So, if you feel that your faith is small, take comfort in our Lord’s reminder that small faith in a great God is sufficient. That being said, it is not inappropriate to continually seek to strengthen our faith in Christ.
But how can we do this? We must begin by understanding what faith is.
CH Spurgeon defined faith by saying that it is made up of three things: Knowledge, belief, and trust.
We know that ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God’ (Romans 10:17), and if you are to increase in your knowledge you must be reading your Bible regularly. As you read, pray that the Spirit would help you to understand your study of Scripture.
Referred to as “illumination,” the Holy Spirit guides us in all truth (John 16:13) and enlightens our hearts and minds to understand God’s will for our lives (Ephesians 1:17-18).
If you want to increase your faith, you must be in the Word of God. As your knowledge increases and as the Holy Spirit reveals these truths to you, your affection for and faith in the Savior will increase.
Ask yourself, what areas of the Bible do you need to understand more about? How will you give priority to reading the Word to increase your knowledge?
Secondly, faith involves believing what is revealed to us in Scripture. Faith is not simply an intellectual acceptance of facts, but we must believe what God has revealed to us in His Word in order to place our trust in it.
We believe in the truth of Scripture just as we believe in anything else. I have never been to France, but I believe that it is there. This is not blind faith, but a belief based on solid evidence that it does. It is the same with God; we cannot see Him, but there is evidence all around us that He exists. Best of all, He gave us Scripture to know more about Him. In the Bible, we read that faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
So when we believe in what God has revealed to us in Scripture, it is not a blind leap in the dark. It is concluding that, based on the evidence in the world and in the Bible, that God exists and His Word is true.
Meditate on the truths of Scripture. Consider the many ways that God has revealed Himself in the natural world. Reflect on His faithfulness to you in the past. Revel in the beauty of the Gospel. Such activity will help to increase your belief in the truth given to us in Scripture.
Lastly, we are to trust in the truth of the Bible. Can you appreciate the difference between believing what is in the Bible and placing your trust in it?
We don’t merely try to understand what is true or agree that something is true, but we trust that something is true. Otherwise, we are like people who know that a chair can support our weight, believe that a particular chair is safe to sit in, and yet refuse to sit down (just in case). Is that a demonstration of faith in the integrity of the chair? Not at all.
It is one thing to believe that a certain chair will support you without breaking, it is quite another to have a seat in it. We are called to trust in Him in our daily life.
Commit yourself completely to Christ and trust in His goodness to carry you through times of doubt and difficulty. We have to actively place our trust that God is able to just as He says He will do. We must trust that He can even carry us over even an ocean of doubt.
When we put our trust in the goodness of God it means that we are not relying on our works – or even the strength of our faith – to sustain us. Instead, we are relying 100% on the Grace of God and in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Where can you step out in your life to trust the promises God makes to you in Scripture? As you continue to do this and see that God is faithful, you will increase your faith.
Knowledge, belief, and trust. That’s what faith is all about. Spurgeon said in All of Grace that “Faith is believing that Christ is what He is said to be, and that He will do what He has promised to do, and then to expect this of Him.”
Pray for God to increase your faith and set your mind to know more about Him and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is revealed in Scripture. And in the meantime, know that the strength or weakness of your faith is not what begins or maintains a relationship with God through Jesus. It is the strength of God’s grace that saves us. Look to Jesus; focus on knowing, believing, and trusting in Him.
And be comforted by the words of our Lord in Luke 17. God does not require great faith, but faith – even small faith the size of a mustard seed.
Hold on to the faith you have, and like blowing on the embers of a campfire feed it with increased knowledge, belief, and trust and pray that God would work in you a blazing fire of faith in Him.