HOW TO GROW IN FAITH

By: Sam Fife

 

 

  This study is for those who at the time they enter into a faith battle do not quite have enough faith to win the victory. As they learn these scriptural teachings on how to increase their faith and day by day, they can hasten the victory in the faith battle.

  Our scripture text is found in Luke 17:5-10.

Luke 17: 5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?

9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.

10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

 

  There are certain divine principles that are revealed to us in the scriptures, which are principles through which we can increase our faith daily. We are going to talk about five of them in this message.

 

RIGHT ATTITUDE

  The first one has to do with the attitude with which we go about seeking an increase in our faith. We must build upon this foundation!

  Too many people do not have great faith because of their wrong attitude. You will notice in our scripture text, the apostles came to Jesus and said, “Lord, increase our faith.” They had recognized their need for more faith. This is one of the most important steps, as far as attitude is concerned, in order to grow in faith. We must recognize, we do not have all we need and that we do need more.

  You see, when the apostles met Jesus, they thought they had about as much faith as any other man, all that was necessary. They had no desire for an increase. Then as they walked with Jesus, they saw what He did through prayer. The blind eyes were opened, the deaf ears were unstopped, the lame walked. They suddenly began to realize that they needed to pray with more faith. They had a change of attitude and so they began to desire more faith.

  Then, on their second step, they made this mistake, the same one most people make even today. These apostles came to Jesus and said, “Lord, you increase our faith. We do not want to have to do anything. We do not want you to do anything in us. We just want you to give us more faith. This is the way most Christians fell today, “Lord, give us more faith.” They want God to hand them more faith, and therefore, more power on a silver platter, so that they can have more blessings. They want to come to Jesus but they do not want to do anything themselves. They just want to say, “Jesus, you give me more faith. Lord, you increase my faith. Lord, you do it all.”

  This was the attitude of the apostles and this is the attitude of most Christians. It is something that must be dealt with severely in order for us to grow, in faith and Jesus did deal with this attitude severely. He answered them with a parable.

  He said, “Which one of you who has a servant, when he comes home from the field tired after plowing all day, will say to him, “You have done enough for one day. You do not have to work anymore, sit and rest. I will gird myself and feed you.” Jesus said, “No, you do not say that to him. On the contrary, you say, “You still have not done enough; your days work is not finished. There is more yet for you to do; gird yourself and let me sit down, and you feed me supper.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Even so if you will have even more faith, when you have done all that is commanded of you, you should say, “I am an unprofitable servant.”

  What Jesus was saying is, if you want more faith, do not take this attitude, the one that says that you have done enough; you need not do any more. Jesus was saying, “Those who would have great faith are those who will take this attitude, after having done all, I am still an unprofitable servant,” and this is very true.

  Most of us, when we have kept a certain little set of moral rules, take this is our attitude, “Well, I have done enough.” We swell up and puff up in pride. We take the attitude we are very profitable servants of God. Then when we do not have great faith and see the power of God in our lives, we fail to recognize that it is because we are yet unprofitable servants. We think there is something wrong with God or with His Word.

  In order to grow in faith, we need to deal with this attitude of spiritual laziness and most have it. This is what that attitude sounds like; “Well, I’m a good Christian, I’m a profitable servant, surely God ought to do this for me if He is going to do anything for anybody.” We need to deal with this attitude! The one that says, Lord, you increase our faith, they wanting God to do something for them, not wanting Him to work anything in them, to build up their faith. We must put forth certain efforts and we must continually be reaching out for more. We must seek God more! We must pray more! We must commune more with God! As we do these things, we will grow in faith. No one who comes to God with the attitude in which the apostles came, “Lord, give me more faith, I don’t want to have to do anything. I do not want to put forth any effort. I don’t want you to work anything in me, just hand it to me on a silver platter,” they will not grow in faith. Let us instead always have this attitude, seeing our need to seek God more, to pray more, to read God’s Word more, to commune more with God, it is that person, Jesus says, who will grow in faith.

 

FEED UPON THE WORD OF GOD

 

  When we have dealt with the wrong attitude and turned ourselves to the right attitude concerning this matter, there are certain principles that are revealed in the scriptures. Principles, which can help us, grow in faith.

  The first one is found in Romans 10: 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. We grow in faith by feeding upon the Word of God. Whether it is by hearing it being preached, or reading it ourselves. Whether it is by discussing it with others, it makes no difference. However, the Word of God enters into our hearts; it becomes food for our soul and for our spirit. We grow stronger because of it.

  Jesus said to Satan during the great temptation in the wilderness, Lu 4:4 It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God. Here Jesus was saying that man can not have life by natural bread alone, but by every word that cometh forth out of the mouth of God. Jesus was quoting to Satan a verse from Deuteronomy. Where God spoke through Moses to the children of Israel in the wilderness: Deuteronomy 8 : 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

   Bread as used by Moses, and by Jesus, was symbolic of everything that is material or natural. God was saying that man must come to know that life does not come by the material or natural bread, or material things alone. Man also must have the Word of God in order to live and have life. This is because man is not just a material physical being. Man is also a spiritua1, being. Material bread can suffice for the physical part of man but a man must also have spiritual bread, the Word of God. In order for the spiritual part of man’s being, man’s spirit to be strong in faith it must feed on the Words of God.

  Through the eating of physical bread, man can grow strong physically, and his body will grow strong. However, he must also feed upon the spiritual bread, in order to be strong spiritually or strong in faith. The two parts of man’s nature must be satisfied, the two needs must be fed the foods that is appropriate for itself. The physical bread cannot meet the needs of the spirit, only the spiritual bread can do that.

  We know what would happen if we stopped eating physical bread. Our physical body would become so weak it would not be able to stand. If you do not eat your dinner tonight, your physical body will be weaker than it would have been if you had eaten. If you miss your breakfast the next morning, it will be much weaker. If you go on this way long enough your physical body will become so weak it would not be able to stand.

  Even so, every spiritual meal a Christian misses causes them to grow weaker spiritually. This is why so many are so spiritually weak, weak in faith. They have not been feeding their spirits on the Word of God. We can only be spiritually strong if we feed on spiritual food, the Word of God. Only then can we have life, peace, joy, happiness, faith and power.

  It is a sad commentary that every Christian eats three natural meals a day because he knows that he must do so in order to keep his body strong physically, but they eat only one spiritual meal a week when they go to church on Sunday morning. Many Christians do not even get that. No wonder they are so spiritually weak. No wonder they do not have faith. No wonder they get sick and cannot get their healings. It is because they do not hear, read and feed upon the Word of God.

  If you would be strong in faith, eat three spiritual meals a day. Read you Bible three times every day. It does not matter if you do not understanding it all. The Spirit of God will make it food for your soul. Hear as many sermons as possible, preached by those who are the anointed of God and called to feed God’s people. When ever possible, go to church and listen to anointed ministers ministering the Word of God, so that your soul is fed on God’s Word. Read as much good faith literature as possible that comes from the Word of God. In doing so, you will be feeding your spirit on the Bread of Life. As a result, your faith will automatically increase. If you pour positive truths from God’s Word and anointed literature written by servants of God, who speak and preach positive truths into your hearts. If you pour this into your conscious mind it will flow over into your subconscious and your faith will automatically grow. You will begin to see the power of God in your 1ife. It is an absolute, scientific principle that if you do not hear the Word of God, you will be spiritually weak. The same as the person who ceases to eat physical food to the point where their physical bodies drop over and are no longer able to stand.

 

 

ASSOCIATE WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE

 

  A third principle that is of extreme value in growing in faith is to be particular concerning your associations. If we are seeking to grow in faith and the majority of our associations are people who have no faith, People who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who do not believe God’s Word, who do not talk faith, whose conversation are always worldly. It will be twice, yea, ten times as hard for us to grow in faith. Associate with those who have and talk faith. Seek out people who believe the truth and are positive in their attitude towards God and toward His Word, toward the power that is in the name of Jesus.

  The Bible says, “Romans 14: 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.” It is impossible for us to live unto ourselves. It is impossible for us to keep other people from affecting us either positively or negatively. We as human beings in our associations with one another, without even trying, will affect one another by lifting up one another or by dragging one another down. We will either be lifted up or drug down negatively. “No man liveth only unto himself!”

  We are affected by our associations with others, by their conversa-tions and actions, whether we like it or not, whether we want to be or not. We wi1l be affected unless we put forth an effort to see to it that we are not affected in a negative way. We certainly will be affected negatively, and our faith will be drug down.

  Let me give you a little illustration. The wife wakes up early in the morning feeling full of joy, but then the husband comes to the breakfast table, sticks his face out from behind the newspaper, looking sour at the whole world. Immediately she is drug down in her spirit. He affected her negatively, even though he has yet to say a word; he just has to be there, he does not even have to say a word. Unless she is prepared to resist his negative attitude, to recognize it, and turn herse1f away from it, it will affect her negatively and drag her down.

  As a minister, I have often seen the church congregation come in on Sunday morning, many of the people filled with joy, faith, and peace in God. Then, four or five people the devi1 has been deceiving, or a husband and wife who have been arguing come in. Their faces would be all sour and so are their attitudes. Before you know it, the spiritual atmosphere in the whole congregation is drug down to the point where every one feels it and every body is drug down!

  Let me repeat: either our associations will be up lifting in faith or others will drag us down in faith. Therefore, when we are seeking to grow in faith we should separate ourselves, whenever possible, from all of those people who are negative in their attitude toward God. Let us separate ourselves unto those who are positive in their attitude toward God. If we do, we will increase in faith.

  If we have not become strong enough ourselves to associate with those negative minded people, then separate yourselves in the spirit, so that their negativity does not affect you, as some of us who are stronger Christians can do. We should then try to separate ourselves from them physically, whenever possible. We should try to have no associations with them, whatsoever. This is very important, particularly for someone in a faith battle, wanting to receive a healing or to win a victory in faith.

 

ASSOCIATE WITH POSITIVE THINGS

 

  If we are seeking to grow in faith, we should be very careful in our associations and with our so-called pleasures and amusements. So few people know that reading magazines, or having an unhealthy interest in the daily newspaper and most certainly television, are adverse negative forces in the world that can drag our faith down and keep us from growing in the faith.

  Most of that presented in the newspapers is negativism. Most of that presented on television is negativism. Most of that presented in most of the magazines of our world today are negative thoughts and ideas. We pick up the newspaper and read of wars, murders and strife. There is continual strife between individuals, nations and politicians. There is nothing but negativism, and more negativism. It presents to our subcon-scious nothing but the idea that the world is in a hopeless condition and that there is nothing that even God or anyone else can do about it. It is a drag upon our faith. When we subject ourselves to this, day after day, it will definitely hinder our growth in the faith. If we shut out those things and instead, we allow only those things that are positive to enter into our sub consciousness, only the literature that is positive, if we can even separate ourselves from reading the daily paper, from the great amount of negativism that it contains. Then we will increase in faith! If we do not cut these things out of our lives, we will not be able to increase in the faith.

  Dear Christian friends, all the devil wants from you is your time! He does not particularly care whether he has you engrossed in deep sin or not. He does not particularly care whether you spend your time in the bar rooms or not. He does not even particularly care whether you engage in adultery, murder, thievery, if he can just get your time. Doing seemingly harmless things, which are not positive, which are not faith building, which are not feeding your spirit, (reading negative magazines, watching television day after day, wasting your time in things that do not edify or build you up spiritually), he does not care if you ever commit a terrible sin or not. He has you exactly where he wants you. He can make you sick and keep you sick. He can make you suffer and keep your body suffering. He can rob you of all faith let alone from growing up in the faith.

  If you want to grow in faith, you must learn to redeem your time. You must learn to spend more time in those things and in those activities, which are positive, which build you up spiritually. You must separate yourselves from those negative activities, which tear down!

  Idle conversation with friends is one of the devil’s greatest weapons to rob Christians of their power and to keep them from growing in faith. Jesus said in His Word, that we will give an account of every idle word; He did not mean to imply that someday, way out in the future, in some far off heaven, God will say, “You spoke so many idle words, give an account of it.” (Matthew 12:36)

  Jesus meant that every hour that we could have spent in positive activities, which could build faith in us, building the power of God in our lives; we will have to give an account for every one of these idle words. Suffering because of our lack of faith, lacking power, through pain and sickness, through all these things we suffer here on earth. And as a result, we have no faith and no power with God.

  If we would have great faith, we must pour into our consciousness only that which is positive and shut out all that is negative. A wise man once said, “I consider my mind a store house, and if I put in it only that which is good, then when I need that which is good I can go to it and draw out only that which is good.” Indeed this is a very wise man.

 

EXERCISE THAT WHICH YOU HAVE

 

  The next and last great principle we will consider is how to grow in faith. The divine law of using what you have will bring more of the same. These scriptures are expressing this law to us in many ways.

  Jesus said in Matthew 25: 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath . The more we have and the more we use it, the more it will bring to us. Invest what you have, and it will bring more.

  There is a divine law revealed to us in nature. A great key to truth is given to us in Romans 1 : 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

   The invisible truths of God have been before us since the foundation of the world, being seen in those things visible. Here the Bible tells us that the hidden things of God, the truths of God have always been visible before us since the world began. They are visible in things that are made, in things that we call nature.

  God in His wisdom before the world was, fore-knowing all things, made the visible things of nature symbols of the great spiritual truths of God. This is why the Bible uses water as a symbol of the Holy Spirit and a serpent a symbol of the devil and a seed as a symbol for the Word of God. This is not because the Spirit who inspired and authored the scriptures simply decided to use these as symbols, but because the Spirit of God who knows and searches the deep things of God knew that God made natural laws to be symbols of spiritual laws. God made all visible things symbolic of spiritual truths. This is why Jesus was always drawing upon nature to teach truth. He did this not because He just wanted to use these things of nature as parables or illustrations. He knew the principles in nature were divine, irrevocable principles and that they revealed divine, irrevocable spiritual laws!

  There is one principle in the natural, physical realm, and it reveals a great spiritual law. This is the principle of exercise. The more we exercise our physical muscles, the stronger they get. The less we use them, the weaker they become, this is a truth we all know.

  Let anyone of us lay down in bed and not move for three weeks. Our physical muscles would become so weak that we would not be able to stand. This is because we did not use them, and they have grown weak. On the other hand, those young men who use the barbells and lifting weights continually, exercising their physical muscles day by day, grow stronger physically. Their physical muscles grow stronger and stronger. It is a divine principle and it always works, in the realm of the physical, and it is a divine principle in the realm of the spiritual. The more we exercise spiritual our senses, the more we use what we have, the stronger we become. Use what you have and you will receive more. The less we exercise our spiritual senses (those senses by which we believe) the weaker we become.

  This is why so many Christians in the world today are so weak spiritually. They have not exercised their spiritual senses. They have not gotten in the battle for God. This is one of the greatest ways to get spiritual exercise. These Christians have not read the Word, have not prayed, and have not communed with God. They have become so weak through plain lack of exercise that they have no faith, no strength, and no power.

  The Bible makes it clear, that spiritual exercise, is very profitable The apostle Paul wrote to his young son in the faith, Timothy: 1Timothy 4: 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

  In the book of Hebrews the 5 th chapter, the last versa says, verse: 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

   Therefore, it is an absolute, divine principle, that if we start using the faith that we have, it will grow stronger. It makes no difference how weak a person has become in the physical, if he starts exercising his muscles, they will grow stronger . As we pointed out earlier, we can lay on a bed three weeks and not use our physical muscles. They will become so weak that we cannot move. However, as soon as we rise up and start exercising, no matter how weak they have become, they will begin to grow stronger. Even so, with your spiritual senses, no matter how weak they have become, the day that we start to use them and exercise them, they will grow stronger. The more we use the faith that we have, the stronger it will become.

  Some time ago, a man came to me with a serious need for healing. At the point when he came, he belonged to a church that did not believe God heals today. They did not preach or emphasize healing through faith. Therefore, he did not have the faith he needed for his healing. He had a disc that had dissolved in his back and his doctor had told him there was no way to replace it and he was continually in tremendous pain. The doctor told him he would have to learn to live with it.

  I took him to the Bible and showed him that God’s law of faith was sufficient to replace the disc in his back, and give him a new one. Knowing that he did not have the required amount of faith to perform this miracle, I challenged him, “If you will kneel by your bedside one hour every day or night, whenever you have time, just kneel there believing that because you are kneeling there believing, God will heal your back. Do this until the healing comes. I will guarantee it and stake my life, that the healing will come. It is not necessary for you to say a word, just kneel there believing, that you have received it. Start with the faith that you have right now. Kneel there one hour every day believing, believing by faith that because you are kneeling there, believing God and He will give you a new disc in your back and keep praying until it comes. I will guarantee you, it will come!

  You see, I was working upon God’s divine law. I knew that this man did not have the required amount of faith for his healing at that time. I also knew that if he exercised his spiritual senses, one hour every day, and if he took the faith that he did have and began to use it, exercising his power to believe, one hour every day, his power would increase, and he would reach the required amount of faith needed for his healing. Then, the healing would come!

  It is God’s divine law, and it cannot be broken. Exercise your spiritual senses, and they will grow. There is no person who is so sick that he cannot be healed through faith. There is no one anywhere so crippled that their healing cannot come. There is no affliction so serious that it cannot be healed. There is no person who does not have enough faith, at any point to begin their faith battle, and use the faith that they have. If they do, the more they use it the more their faith will increase until their healing comes.

  Romans 12:3 says, “ For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

  Everyone has a measure of faith. If he takes what he has and begins using it daily, (let me speak very plainly to you dear friend), no matter how afflicted you are, no matter how handicapped you are, no matter if you sit in a wheelchair and cannot even stand up. If you .will spend one hour every day believing, because you are believing, God will heal you. God is healing you, the work is done, then every hour that you spend exercising your spiritual ability to believe, your faith will increase day by day, hour by hour until the healing comes. Remember to follow the other principles that we have revealed here: THE RIGHT ATTITUDE, FEED UPON GOD’S WORD, associate with POSITIVE PEOPLE AND POSITIVE THINGS. Especially if you do these things, you shall be healed!

 

   All scriptural quotes from the King James AV 1769.


   
Copyright 2004 International Ministerial Association. All Right Reserved.