Have you ever wished you had more faith? Learn how to increase your faith in God with these steps from the Bible.
In our text, the Lord Jesus Christ taught the disciples some hard lessons on forgiveness.
“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”
Forgiveness is necessary. God forgave us. He expects us to forgive others. We must even forgive the same person repeatedly if they repent. This revelation blew the disciples’ minds!
Forgiveness is one of the most challenging duties of the Christian life. It is contrary to fleshly wisdom. It requires elevation of petty feelings of offense, anger, malice, and revenge.The Bible gives us four ways to increase our faith. Click To Tweet
Unforgiveness is a sin. It is one of the most hurtful and ignored sins among Christians.
This article is not about forgiveness. Although forgiveness is a worthy study, we don’t have the space in this article to discuss forgiveness, the levels of forgiveness, and how to forgive.
Today, we focus on the phrase, “Increase our faith.”
The Disciples recognized that they didn’t have the strong faith required to take the next step of obedience. They needed more faith!
The idea that we need more faith to accomplish God’s will can be applied to many areas of life. As you grow in grace, your faith will need to increase.
Some people have stopped following Christ because they sense their inability to obey what God commanded. The Apostles recognized that they didn’t have what they needed, but the Lord did. They asked Him to increase their faith.
INCREASE OUR FAITH!
What a compelling request!
This request acknowledges the:
- presence of faith.
- the imperfection of their faith.
- desire to increase faith.
The Apostles’ prayer of “increase our faith” is not a request for faith, but a plea to increase the depth of their faith.
E.M Bounds made the following observations about faith.
“Faith is not an abstract belief in the Word of God, nor a mere mental credence, nor a simple assent of the understanding and will; nor is it a passive acceptance of facts, however sacred or thorough. Faith is an operation of God, a Divine illumination, a holy energy implanted by the Word of God and the Spirit in the human soul—a spiritual, Divine principle which takes of the Supernatural and makes it a thing apprehendable by the faculties of time and sense.”
Let’s consider four statements as an introduction before we look at the four ways to increase our faith.
The Christian Life begins with saving faith.
This is the kind of faith that results in forgiveness of sin and the salvation of the soul. Saving faith is a reliance on the truth of the Gospel as revealed in the Word of God.
“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
1 John 5:13
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
When we agree with God that we are sinners in need of a Saviour and believe in our hearts that Christ died on the Cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again, we become the children of God.
This belief is the beginning of Christian faith.
Faith Can Grow.
After we are saved, our faith begins to grow.
Just as a newborn baby, must gain strength and learn to crawl, the new Christian feeds on the Word of God and matures.
1 Peter 2:2
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
The disciples prayer for more faith in our text shows that faith can grow. Examine these Bible verses that discuss the growth of faith.
2 Thessalonians 1:3
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;”
It is exciting to see a Christian’s faith grow!
2 Corinthians 10:15
“Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,”
It is the hope of every pastor, parent, teacher, and mentor that our charges grow into Christian maturity with increased faith in God.
Faith comes from God.
Where does faith come from?
God created us as creatures of faith, as we discussed in a previous article.
Faith comes from God!
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of our faith!
God has given to every man the measure of faith.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Only God can increase our faith.
As our faith grows, all other graces increase.
Since faith in God and His Word is the foundation of the Christian life, when our faith grows, it benefits every area of our lives.More faith means we are more like Jesus. Click To Tweet
More faith equals:
- more love.
- more joy.
- more peace.
- more longsuffering.
- more gentleness.
- more goodness.
- more meekness.
- more temperance.
- more righteousness.
- more holiness.
- more obedience.
- more virtue.
You get the idea!
More faith means we are more like Jesus. We can live by faith!
This unknown hymn appeared in Bristol Hymns in 1870.
1 Jesus, our faith increase;
Fast knit, O Lord, to Thee,
Around us bind the bond of peace,
The Spirit’s unity.
2 One God and Father ours,
One Christ his gift of love,
One Spirit shed in living showers,
One home prepared above.
3 To one glad hope we cling,
Through Jesus’ life and death;
One theme of saving grace we sing,
And ours one common faith.
4 Then grant us, Lord, one mind,
One will in all our ways,
One heart to Thine own truth inclined,
One mouth to speak Thy praise.
Now that we have learned that faith can increase, it comes from God, and it improves every area of our lives, the only question is…
How can we increase our faith?
The Bible gives us four ways to increase our faith.
1. Prayer Increases our Faith.
“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”
Pray for increased faith.
How often do you pray for more faith? Why not make this request part of your daily prayers.
Certainly, God answers prayer. Our Lord wants our faith to increase more than we do. This is a prayer that He will answer!
Pray for help with unbelief.
“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
2. Understanding the Power of Faith Increases our Faith.
“And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”
This truth is the first thing our Lord taught the disciples in response to their prayer for increased faith. It doesn’t take a lot of faith to make a big impact. Even a small amount of faith can move mountains!
This tremendous truth should encourage your heart. You don’t need a lifetime to acquire vast amounts of faith to do great things for God. Years of seminary or suffering are not required to live by faith. The smallest increase in your faith is life-altering.
The nature and meaning of faith is understood by its actions rather than a dictionary definition. Ask for more faith. Claim the results. Live today like you would if you had the faith that you want.
Don’t sit around waiting to be zapped with a bright light from Heaven or sprinkled with fairy dust. DO WHAT YOU KNOW TO DO. Ultimately, faith is defined by its actions.
A lack of faith is evidenced by the absence of action. The presence of faith is proven by acts of faith.
Do you have even a small amount of faith? Then see what God can do with that as you pray for more.
Faith is not something that happens to you. Faith is something you exercise. Choose to trust God. Commit to obey Him regardless of details. Do what you know He wants before you have it all figured out. That is faith!
Understanding this simple truth will change your life.
3. Hearing the Word of God Increases Our Faith.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Reading the Bible is necessary and has its place. However, this verse places emphasis on hearing God’s Word.
Why? There is science behind hearing God’s Word.
“A study conducted by the Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior found that our brains are actually more likely to create meaningful imagery when we listen to a story — as opposed to when it’s read in a traditional format — because it allows more room for our brain’s visual processes to kick into gear.” ~ Chirp Books
Once again, God Almighty was light years ahead of humans.
Reading is beneficial. Reading is active while hearing is passive. An audiobook will progress without you even if your mind wanders. Reading requires attention and builds your ability to focus your mind.Personal faith grows as you hear God’s Word. Click To Tweet
It seems that our minds process concepts and technicalities better while reading and process stories and imagery better while listening. (Psychology Today Article)
The most effective way to learn the meaning and application of the Bible is by listening to Bible-based, Spirit-filled preaching. Nothin can replace the preaching of God’s Word.
Our Lord ordained preaching to save souls and teach His Word.
1 Corinthians 1:21
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
Nothing can replace the preaching of God’s Word in your life.
“And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.”
The most effective way to absorb the most Bible in context is to listen to it while reading it. The speaker sets the pace, and your eyes on the Word keep you focused. But that is not feasible most of the time. The easiest way to “hear” the Word of God is reading out loud.
Make time to read the Bible, listen to the Word of God, and/or do both simultaneously. Put it in your schedule.
Something like this sample schedule might work for you.
- Read while listening during your morning devotions.
- Listen to the audio Bible or preaching while in the car or using headphones during the day.
- Read at lunch or at night before bed.
It has never been easier to listen to God’s Word and Bible preaching than it is with today’s technology. Take advantage of it and watch your faith increase.
The following verse gives the progression of faith.
“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
The Word must increase through preaching, teaching, and soul winning. Then souls are born again by putting their personal faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Then people are obedient to the faith. They trust Christ and begin living for Him daily.
Personal faith grows as you hear God’s Word.
Faith in your community can grow as you increase the opportunities for people to hear of the Word.
Preach the Word. Organize a scheduled soul-winning program. Take the Bible into Nursing Homes, schools, jails, rehab centers, and prisons. Preach Christ! Some will be saved. Some will complain. Just keep preaching the Gospel. Faith will spread.
4. Prayer and Fasting Increases Our Faith
“Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Our Lord explained to the disciples that they lacked the spiritual power to exorcise this particular evil spirit. They needed to fast and pray for this kind of foe.
Fasting is a lost Bible Doctrine and Practice.
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines fasting as abstaining from food.
F`AST, n. Abstinence from food; properly a total abstinence, but it is used also for an abstinence from particular kinds of food, for a certain time.
2. Voluntary abstinence from food, as a religious mortification or humiliation; either total or partial abstinence from customary food, with a view to mortify the appetites, or to express grief and affliction on account of some calamity, or to deprecate an expected evil.
Fasting has significant effects on the mind and body. It is one of the few physical things we can do that affect the whole trinity of man: body, soul, and spirit.
Fasting humbles the soul.
“But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; And my prayer returned into mine own bosom.”
It’s amazing how going without food for a few days puts everything in perspective.
Fasting afflicts the body and strengthens the will.
“When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, That was to my reproach.”
Fasting exerts the will over the body. It weakens the flesh. A proud heart and rebellious tendencies wane when we are confronted with the weakness of our physical being.
Fasting draws us closer to God.
“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, And thine health shall spring forth speedily: And thy righteousness shall go before thee; The glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; Thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, The putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;”
With our flesh weakened and our soul humbled, our desperate need for God becomes apparent. Fasting detoxifies us from worldliness putting the spotlight on God. The fog of worldly confusion lifts as we see God for who we are and Who He is. Our reliance on Him increases as we acknowledge our weakness.
Fasting increases our faith and supercharges our prayers!
Your faith can increase! Imagine how your heart will be comforted, you life bettered, and your impact for eternity increased when your faith grows.
Cry out to Jesus with the Apostles today! Lord, Increase our faith!
Put these four Bible methods to increase your faith in practice today.
You can listen to the audio sermon preached from this Bible study below.