Has your faith been tested recently or is it being tested right now? Every believer will experience a testing of their faith, at one time or another. Such testing proves the genuineness of our faith. (1 Peter 1:6-7).
The testing often comes by fire, so it is painful. However, you do not have to fear the testing of your faith as long as you do not rely on your own wisdom and strength, but choose to draw closer to God. He is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to endure. (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).
Growing in maturity
It is easy for an immature believer to be overwhelmed by the storms of life and temptations. Faith does not make room for ‘treading water’ and stagnant faith will cause your heart to harden and drift away from God, becoming dull of hearing His voice. Such an example can also erode the faith of those around you. The Book of Hebrews urges readers to go on to maturity in their faith, showing the contrast between babies in the faith and the spiritually mature (Hebrews 5:12-6:1):
Babies in the faith
- They ought to be teachers already, but need to be taught the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.
- They need spiritual milk.
- They are dull of hearing, which means “slow to learn”. They are spiritually lazy, unreceptive and closed to spiritual truths.
Mature in the faith
- They are teachers of the Word.
- They eat solid spiritual food and can understand the deeper spiritual truths.
- They are accustomed to the word of righteousness, having understood it and practiced it.
- Through applying God’s Word their senses have been trained to exercise mature judgment between good and evil.
What then can we do to ensure our faith is growing and not regressing?
Our most important faith builder is to keep conversing with our heavenly Father. There can be no growth in our faith-life without prayer. This is when He deposits more of Himself in us and we are built up in our faith (Jude 1:20).
2. Internalise the Word
Read the Word, study it, memorise it and meditate on it. Be disciplined in your study of the Word and allow it to transform your mind (Romans 12:2). Let God’s Word bring faith to your heart (Rom. 10:17).
3. Practice the Word
It is through obedience and application that God’s standards become your lifestyle – either “use it or lose it”. Your obedience to God shows your faith (Hebrews 3:17-19)!
Look back at times when God has come through for you or when you were intensely aware of His presence (Joshua 4:4-7; Isaiah 63: 11). Perhaps He spoke to you through His Word or has given you a promise. Hold on to that and remind yourself of His character revealed to you in the past.
Many times when our faith is weak or we start having doubts, we are strengthened by worshipping the Lord by ourselves, or in community with other believers. Even if you don’t feel like it, sing a song to the Lord or listen to a worship song. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3).
The body of Christ is edified by its members (1 Corinthians 14:26) and we are mutually encouraged by each other’s faith (Romans 1:12). Do not neglect meeting together, but spur one another on toward love and good works, and encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:24-25).
7. Look to heroes of the faith
There are so many saints mentioned in the Bible whose faith was pleasing to God. It is worth reading Hebrews 11 (“the hall of Faith”) regularly, to remind ourselves of their example. From Abraham, whose faith was credited to him as righteousness, to modern-day saints who followed the Lord with unflinching faith, we can imitate “faith-giants” to help us in our own walk (1 Corinthians 11:1).
8. Fix your eyes on Jesus
Ultimately, Jesus is the Author and the Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Focus on who He is, what He has done for us and where He is now – seated at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest who intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). Beholding Him strengthens our faith.
For His glory!
The end goal of our faith is to glorify God. He is worthy of it all! So let us not become sluggish and dull of hearing, but go on to maturity.
Lord Jesus, whatever it takes, help me to mature in my faith.