“Increase our faith!” the apostles begged Jesus in Luke 17:5. Loving the Lord, and seeing all that He was, they desired still to have more faith. And they downright begged for it.
Are you in the same boat? I am. More Jesus. I want more of You!
But how? If the disciples who walked and talked and ate and slept with Jesus weren’t filled to their satisfaction, how are we to accomplish this? Is asking Jesus for more faith the way to go, or is it futile? Is there another way?
The good news is, there are indeed ways to increase your faith. The sometimes frustrating news is that they take time and effort.
Have you ever asked God for a change in your character? Patience? Help with parenting? Development of a deeper love for someone who rubs you the wrong way? Faith?
How does He respond? Does He immediately change your heart and transform you to have the characteristic you’ve asked for? Likely not.
Instead, when we ask God to help us with our own character development, He generally answers us by giving us opportunities to develop this characteristic. He wants us to be molded with practice and experience. Sound familiar?
When you ask God to help you not to yell at a particular child, does He immediately stop you from yelling? Or does He give you opportunities to develop your grace-giving, calm demeanor and heart? (Yes, the second one.)
If we want to increase our faith, it is absolutely appropriate to ask God for help. And, He will likely present to you an opportunity for you to grow your faith. Here are three areas we can work on to grow our faith.
Give God Your Time
Although some of us may have a ton of wealth or education while others never do, there is one thing that all of us are given the same of. We are all given 24 hours in our days. We are all given 7 days in our weeks.
We are all given the same amount of time. We all get to choose what to do with our hours and our days. We all have to evaluate how valuable our time is, and subsequently what we will do with the time we are given.
Will we give part of each day to God? Or do we believe we don’t “have time” to read our bibles, pray, or otherwise spend quiet time with our King?
For some, faith is that “I won’t be able to get [fill in the blank] done if I spend time reading my bible today.” Perhaps what is needed is to take the leap of faith and just do it.
Pick 15 minutes or half an hour to sit quietly and read, pray, journal, research, reflect, etc. Do it every day and see if the Lord doesn’t use it to increase your faith that you will have time to get everything done each day that “needs” to be done.
In fact, once you get into your new schedule, don’t be surprised if your 15 minutes turns into 45 minutes, or an hour.
Give God Your Money
Most Christians who do not tithe or give to charity, are not doing it because they don’t want to give money to the church or the needy. I firmly believe that.
When you have an honest conversation with someone who will admit that they either don’t give or don’t give as much as they would like, most will tell you they just “can’t afford” to tithe or give to charity (or give more). I believe this. I believe that people believe in their hearts they can’t give 10% or 15% or whatever amount they feel they should.
Are you familiar with Malachi 3:10?
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
God specifically tells us to test Him in this one way. Tithing is an act of faith–faith that when we give to God (what is already His anyway), that He will provide our needs.
Test Him. See how He increases your faith.
Give God Your Future
We all have dreams of what we want to be “when we grow up.” Those of us who are wise (which I admit was not me), ask the Lord early on what we can do to please Him and what He would like us to do with our lives to further His Kingdom.
I didn’t make this decision until into my 30s. While this may seem early to some, I often wonder what my life would have been like–how my faith would have increased–if only I’d asked Him earlier. Of course I asked several times. And I was probably listening too. But in my heart I had ideas and fantasies of what I could do for God instead of just submitting to what His will was.
Asking the Lord how we could spend our time pleasing Him and then following through is a step of faith. We are demonstrating that He knows what is best for our future. And then we are submitting to His will instead of insisting on our own. This is not an easy step for most.
Repeatedly trusting the Lord with our future instead of fighting the grain for our own visions will gradually increase our faith in His perfect plan.
Giving God our time, our money, and our future are three things most Christians would agree they want to do. What happens to some is that they just don’t submit these three things to God. It’s hard in a world that celebrates independence to hand over these things to someone else.
As easy as it is to understand that God’s got it all under control and will take care of us in His perfect way, it’s much harder to live that understanding out with faith. Taking the leap, and giving these three areas of our lives to God is actually what is needed to develop a deeper faith that He will provide these three things in return.
Do you have an awesome story of submission to God and how He provided for you? I’d love to hear it.