When talking about Christianity, faith is an important cornerstone. We know the Bible says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). But it is more difficult to explain how one is supposed to increase faith. When discussing “faith” it is important to identify what one means since the word is used in a variety of ways. There is a sense in which faith is used in contrast to “the law” meaning the Law of Moses. Faith in this sense is symbolic of the entirety of the New Testament teaching (see Galatians 3:2ff). There is another sense in which “faith” is used to signify acknowledgment or belief in God and Christ (see Mark 11:22 for an example). The last usage of “faith” involves a confidence and trust that one can place in God.
Mark 4:35-41, “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “ Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him.”
A verse that is helpful in how to increase that confidence we have in God is Roman 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So one way to increase your faith is to spend more time in the Word. When you read about the care and love that God has showed to His creation, you cannot help but to feel more confident that He will come through for you as well.
But there is another passage which may hold a key about this. In Luke 17:5-10 there is a plea from the Apostles for Jesus to increase their faith. If you read this passage carefully, the main point seems to be that Jesus wanted them to become so submissive in their roles as servants of God, that no reward or thank you would be necessary. This is a heavy request. Jesus seems to be saying, if you really want to test your faith in God, take away the reward for service and examine yourself. In other words, is your faith so strong in God that if there was no heaven, would you still serve Him?
It’s a sobering question. I hope that we all desire to increase our faith, not for the reward, but for our Lord’s good pleasure.