How to Grow in My Faith!
Dr. Steve McSwain shares important lessons in how to grow in faith.
"I know in whom I have believed and I'm persuaded…" said Saint Paul. For a long time, I thought Paul was expressing here what I felt I should be able to express about my own faith - "I have NO doubts…I'm convinced and so never fear or question that God is going to take care of me, not only in this life, but in the life to come."
I would say things like that and I'm sure that those who heard me make such declarations thought to themselves, "Wow, he's so confident in his faith." Or, "He seems to have such fearlessness…and, so much faith." Or, "I wish I could be like him."
No you don't.
It was a facade, for the most part. I was not being, however, intentionally misleading. I just did not know better. I mistakenly thought all "sincere" and "real" Christians made such Pauline declarations and, as a consequence, I suppose I thought, "If I say similar things out loud perhaps I'll be a confident person of faith, too."
What I did not know is that it seldom works that way.
I am not doubting that Paul was making a sincere confession and, the older and wiser and more genuinely I become a person of faith, the more I realize inner peace, trust, and confidence - or, you might say, the more "by faith" I genuinely live.
The capacity to believe is a divine gift of grace. You're born with it. No child worries whether his mother and father will feed him…care for his every need. They just instinctively believe…know they will.
Until they don't.
This is what happens to us…life's experiences don't always work perfectly and natural faith…the capacity to believe gets for all of us a little undermined. If you were raised by highly dysfunctional parents, faith might have been vastly undermined.
In either instance, learning how to believe again…how to live by faith AGAIN, is a learned capacity and, for some of us, may take years. So, how do you grow in your faith? Here are two suggestions...
First, do not confuse pronouncements people make about faith…or, that you may make about your faith, for the actual practice of faith itself. For example, I used to worry a great deal about where my next paying job was coming from. My experience has taught me, however, over and over again that, when I stay focused on what God has given me to do, I always make it just fine. I always have plenty of work to do.
Now, while I know that in my head and sometimes even in my heart, there are still times, even to this day, when a residue of doubt appears when a new challenge presents itself.