There’s a beautiful story in Mark Chapter 9 of a man asking Jesus to heal his son. In His desperation he calls out, “Lord IF you can do something, please help him!” Jesus sharply replies, “IF?” When the man realizes his mistake, he says, “Lord I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus heals the man’s son, of course, but did the father’s faith increase from this miracle? Did he get excited about the “Christian way” for a while, before fading away? Though this isn’t written, and I would like to think that he stayed faithful.
But what about us? Have we allowed the miraculous moments we experience in our lives to enliven our faith and keep it strong or do we burn out after a brief, zealous period?
God shines into our lives constantly, so even if He does not heal us when we’re sick or we haven’t seen signs and wonders, we can still know Him by paying attention to our lives and how He works in them. If we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear, we will see Him and know Him.
How can we get to that point of faith with so much negativity leading us away from it?
Let’s start at the beginning. First, where does faith come from?
Faith, along with hope and love, is a spiritual gift bestowed by God to every human being that enters us through His grace at our baptism. It is a freely given gift that we do not work for or earn. We don’t receive it by exercising and eating well, by checking boxes, or having special talents. We simply receive it because God loves us unconditionally.
Though it’s a gift, we do have some control. We can refuse this gift and lose our access to it. We can leave it untapped as we focus on other things we think are more important. Or we can grow it, like we would do with a houseplant that requires watering and sunlight. We can water and grow this gift of Faith that God has given us.
How then can we do this?
It’s all about your spiritual position. If you look on a map or a globe, you can see England is just as far north as Canada. Why then is Canada a snowy tundra in winter while England’s climate is vastly different? This is due to England’s geographic position.
The Gulf Stream is an ocean current that takes warm waters from the Caribbean across the Atlantic to Northwest Europe. Because of these waters, England does not experience the same harsh winters Canada does.
We can experience something similar with our spiritual position. We need to prepare ourselves spiritually for the increase in faith we’d like from God. Much like a wide receiver in a football game running out to catch a pass, if he is looking in the opposite direction with his arms by his side, he will have a harder time catching the ball. However, if he knows where the ball is, has his hands up ready to make a catch, he will be better prepared.
We need to apply this to our spiritual life if we want to increase our faith. We need to ensure we are spiritually where we need to be and there are certain things, we can assure in our lives in order to make the catch and receive the warmer waters of faith.
Here are some practices that will help you spiritually position yourself to increase your faith:
- Study others showcasing great faith.
Faith is contagious. By learning great stories of true faith, you will find yourself inspired and longing to showcase your faith as well. Read stories of the saints and look for modern testimonies telling of men and women proving their great faith in God.
- Avoid things that hurt your relationship with God.
By choosing things other than God, you are going to exercise the wrong muscles in your heart and potentially weaken your faith. When we give in to lying, cheating, lust, and hedonism, we are essentially making those things our gods instead of Jesus, and increasing our faith in the wrong things. Saying no to them is a big yes to God and will help you grow in your faith.
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- Talk to God in prayer throughout your day.
Choose three times each day when you are going to sit and share your thoughts with God. Sit in quiet reflection of Him. Set an alarm on your phone to ensure you don’t forget.
- Ask big things of God.
Show God you trust Him by asking big things of Him. Even if you’re still feeling kind of shaky in your faith, actions speak louder than feelings. If you strive to ignore your feelings and act on what you know is right, you will eventually shape your mind and heart to follow along with your actions and your feelings will eventually follow suit. Don’t test God by jumping in front of a car expecting Him to save you, but put incredible requests in His hands so He can come through for you. Just remember that God is just as faithful by not giving you what you want as well.
- Repeat the words of the father in Mark chapter nine as a mantra: “Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief.”
Repeat this phrase several times a day both to remind yourself and to pray. The words will eventually wash away your doubts like water from a faucet cleans your hands.
Do you have any other ideas on how we can spiritually position ourselves to be where God wants us to be in order to grow in our faith? Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!