We all realize how crucial faith is in our Christian lives. Our recent post entitled “What Is Faith and Where Does It Come From?” answered these commonly asked questions:
- What is faith?
- Where does faith come from?
- How do we obtain faith?
Our Christian life is a life of faith, and the Bible tells us we are to walk not by sight, but by faith. If we think about our experience, we have to admit that when we see difficult or trying things in our environment or our personal situations, we often become discouraged, and find it hard to put our trust in God. We try to believe, yet it seems as if our faith shrinks away.
For our daily Christian walk, and especially when we’re beset with problems and difficulties, how do we have the faith of Hebrews 11:1, faith that substantiates things we hope for and convinces us of things we can’t see with our eyes? How can we be strengthened in our faith, especially in the face of troubles?
We’ll devote this post to some specific ways we can be strengthened in our faith.
1. The spirit of faith
The apostle Paul gives us a very important word in 2 Corinthians 4:13:
“Having the same spirit of faith according to that which is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak.”
Note 2 on this verse in the Recovery Version explains what this spirit of faith is:
“…The spirit of faith is the Holy Spirit mingled with our human spirit. We must exercise such a spirit to believe and to speak, like the psalmist, the things we have experienced of the Lord, especially His death and resurrection. Faith is in our spirit, which is mingled with the Holy Spirit, not in our mind. Doubts are in our mind. Here spirit indicates that it is by the mingled spirit that the apostles lived a crucified life in resurrection for the carrying out of their ministry.”
Faith is located in our spirit. When we believed in Christ, we were regenerated, and our spirit became a spirit of faith. So instead of only mentally considering what we can see—our environment or our difficult situation—and being filled with doubts, we must exercise our spirit of faith to contact the Lord who is in our spirit. As we do this, we find faith in our spirit.
So day by day, we need to exercise our spirit of faith.
2. Exercising our spirit of faith
The same verse, 2 Corinthians 4:13, also says, “I believed…I spoke.” One of the best ways we can exercise our spirit of faith is to speak.
What should we speak and to whom?
First, we can speak and even declare the Word of God to ourselves and to the Lord. The more we speak His Word, the more faith we have.
For instance, let’s say we’re discouraged and we read Matthew 28:20: “Behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age.” We can declare this verse with our spirit of faith saying, “Thank you, Lord, You are with me all the days! Your Word says this! I believe Your Word.” To speak this way is not to employ positive thinking, because what we’re speaking is the living and true Word of God. As we speak this living Word of God, our spirit of faith is strengthened.
Second, we can also speak to others. When we tell others about the Christ we love or share with them something we’ve enjoyed from His Word, both they and we get the benefit. Many of us have discovered that when we preach the gospel to others, our own faith is fortified, and we fall in love with the Lord Jesus in a fresh way.
Just as faith initially came to us through our hearing the word of Christ, our faith afterwards is strengthened by the Word of God. When our spirit of faith is joined to His Word by our speaking it, our faith is nourished and strengthened.
3. Looking away unto Jesus
We find another way to be strengthened in our faith in Hebrews 12:2:
“Looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.”
Instead of sinking into our mind where doubts are by dwelling on the disheartening things in our lives, we can look away from them and look unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who is today in our spirit.
As we look away from everything unto our Lord Jesus, He fills us with faith. Note 3 on the verse above tells us how this happens:
“…When we look unto Jesus, He as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) transfuses us with Himself, with His believing element. Then, spontaneously, a kind of believing arises in our being, and we have the faith to believe in Him. This faith is not of ourselves but of Him who imparts Himself as the believing element into us that He may believe for us. Hence, He Himself is our faith. We live by Him as our faith; i.e., we live by His faith (Gal. 2:20), not by our own.”
By exercising our spirit to contact the Lord in our spirit, we turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in His wonderful face, as the classic hymn says. We get saved from being overcome by our environment, our anxieties, our doubts and fears, and instead we’re filled with love for Him and faith in Him.
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