Anyone who has ever stepped foot inside a church has heard “read your bible, go to church, and pray,” driven into the ground when preaching the subject of faith, but let’s be real for a moment. In the modern world, people don’t go to church as often as they should, don’t pray as often as they should, and especially don’t read the bible regularly (or at all for that matter). So if no one is as dedicated as we should be on the Big Three of building faith, what are some other just as effective, if not more effective ways to build faith? In my personal journey, I’ve come to discover those Big Three are important, but in this modern lax society we live in today, in terms of importance, the Big Three doesn’t fall into the top three most important ways to build faith for me. Don’t get me wrong, they are extremely important, but if we Christians aren’t putting them into action, then they simply won’t work. So let’s check out the 10 best ways I’ve found to build and maintain faith in my spiritual walk with Jesus Christ.
#10 – Don’t Skip Out on Church
I know what you’re thinking–this one of the Big Three! But hear me out. I can’t number how many times I’ve asked a person to come to church and they replied “I don’t need church to build my relationship with God.” Which may be true, but I’ve also noticed these people have the least faith and are frequently the most stressed in terms of their overall life. While it is true, we don’t have to go to church for a great relationship with God, but ask yourself, have you or anyone you’ve ever met became closer to God, or gained a stronger relationship with God by crossing out church? I doubt it. In Matthew 18:20, its says “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them (KJV).” Meaning, the place we feel and meet God the most is when we’re at church surrounded by like-minded believers. So how can we grow our faith if we’re avoiding the place we feel God’s presence the most? It’s not likely we will grow. Instead, we may gradually feel a lesser connection with God. In Psalms 84:4, it says, “blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah,” meaning God acknowledges our presence in His house and blesses us accordingly. So if your faith or life isn’t going how you think it should, maybe you should start by attending church this Sunday. Don’t forget, the church isn’t the building, it’s the people within it.
#9 – Get Rid of Your Biggest Sin
We all have that one big sin—the one that’s the hardest to stop doing or rid from our lives. From gossip to pornography, and from material spending to stealing, whatever your poison may be, it’s a stronghold that separates us from the presence of God. It’s happened from the very beginning. The only thing that cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden and God’s presence was sin. This is still true today. Often times when we lack faith and don’t hear the voice of God, or feel his presence, it’s because there’s a sin blocking our connection. I don’t have to tell you what that sin is, because the moment you read the first sentence, you already pinpointed your biggest sin in your mind. So what do you do next? How do you rid it from your life? Let’s be honest, it’s easier said than done. First, you have to acknowledge your sin is causing a distance between you and your Heavenly Father and repent. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Meaning, every moment we have a chance to start our relationship fresh with Christ, and he’s waiting for you to freshen it up. Ok, so you’ve done that—you’ve repented and have a clean start. So how do you get rid of that sin you ask? Let me start by saying, the word repent doesn’t mean to ask forgiveness and keep doing the same sin, it means to turn away from it. Getting rid of the sin is as simple as literally getting rid of it. For example, if you find yourself confronted with gossip, simply change the subject, or ask to talk about a more important issue—there’s plenty. Or, if you struggle with pornography, throw away your collection, and if it’s an online issue, ask a trusted friend to set up a Parental Control password on your electronic device to block those sites (I’ve actually done this for a friend). Cut up credit cards or reduce the limits to combat materialism. Get the picture? It works—but don’t forget, all the while, practice the other points and pray, because the closer we are to God, the further we’re away from sin, making it easier to resist.
#8 – Don’t Feel Discouraged About Having Weak Faith
One of the greatest things about God is that he understands and recognizes we’re weak, and still loves us and accepts us for it. So much so that God actually works it out where our weakness gives us perfect strength through him. In 2nd Corinthians 12:9, it says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” How awesome is that? Paul literally says he’d rather be joyful in his spiritual and physical weaknesses because they get him closer to God. God loves when we recognize we need him, so the reason he’s always close is because he’s always ready to reach out his arms and catch us. Why are we strong in our weakness? The reason is brilliantly simple. The reason we have the greatest faith in our weakest moments is because this is normally the moment we call on God the most. I mean, who needs God when everything’s going perfect, right? (Insert sarcasm) But seriously, in these beautiful moments, usually all the faith we have left is the faith that God’s there, and that he hears our prayers. That’s all the faith we need for a miracle to happen. Ultimately, that’s all faith is—is knowing God’s there and that he’s in control. So the next time you feel faithless or discouraged because you haven’t felt a move of God in a while, just know your already closer to Christ than you’ve ever been. Still don’t believe me? “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (ESV).” – Psalms 34:18
#7 – Think of Your Relationship with God as a Parent/Child Relationship
Let me start off by saying we Christians and people in general need to learn the difference between a need and a want. Simply recognizing these two extremely distinctive definitions before you make decisions in life greatly reduces stress and can positively affect your finances. Now, for some reason God’s children (Christians) love to doubt God when it comes to providing the simplest life necessities: food, clothing, roof over your head, etc., yet we need to reach a point to recognize God has us covered on all the essentials. Matthew 6:8 says, “…your Father knows what you need before you ask him (ESV).” So if God knows what we need before we ask, don’t you think he already has it in the works for us to receive? Of course! We simply have to show a little faith and it’s ours. The easiest way to think about it is like a Parent/child relationship. Everyone is either a parent, or knows of someone who has or is about to have a child. Now typically, when parents are expecting a child, they don’t wait until the child is born to start buying clothes, diapers, wipes, bottles, bibs, etc. They know and prepare what the child needs before it leaves the womb, so why wouldn’t our Heavenly Father do the same for us? He does! God details this specifically in Jeremiah 1:5 saying, before he formed you in the womb he knew you. Matthew 6 also says, if he loves the grass and the birds enough to feed and water them, how much more does he love us and want to take care of us? Answer—so much more. Let’s not forget these are the essential items; the necessities. Therefore, if he provides the necessities, he’ll also provide the wants: mortgages, vehicles, money, etc. It always works out. Also, we Christians need to quit being discouraged when we pray for something we want but don’t receive. Most likely, we aren’t ready for it or we simply don’t need it. For example, an eight-year-old child asks his parents for a car. In most cases, the parents will say no. But why? The child wants one though, right? It’s because necessity trumps want. It’s the same in Gods eyes. The parents (god in this examaple), knows the child isn’t ready and they don’t need one at this moment. Simultaneously, realize when God says no, it doesn’t always mean no, ever. It can mean, “not right now.” The child will eventually get a car when he/she is of age and legally ready. I’m explaining all of this to say, have faith God’s taking care of you, giving you what you need, and nothing you don’t at that moment. Have faith you’re where you need to be. Believe me, when it’s time to move out or move up, God will move you.
#6 – Recognize God’s Power
Colossians 1:16 says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:” Now I could stop right there, but I’ll elaborate. God created everything! Which means if he created then, he’s still creating now, and your reward is one faithful prayer away from being answered. Worry is the enemy of faith. Every time we worry about something we are inadvertently telling God we don’t believe he can make it happen, therefore, when we worry it most likely won’t happen. I mean, would you want to give someone a gift if they kept calling you a liar? I doubt it. It’s the same for God. When we worry that God won’t provide for us we’re calling him a liar because he’s promised multiple times he can, and will. Your problems in life are never, and will never be bigger than God. Realize God knows what problems you’ll be facing ten years from now, so whatever you face is just a stepping stone for God to make you into a stronger person, and for you to help others conquer the problems you’ve already beaten. The only thing holding God back in your life is you! So have some faith and let Christ work.
#5 – Read Your Bible Specifically on Faith
Again, I know this is part of the Big Three: church, read, pray, but—you guessed it, we’re going to be realistic about it. Whenever you’re running low on faith and you feel distant from God, or your worrying about a struggle in your life, read God’s Word on faith specifically. The reason I say specifically is because reading the bible is great, but just opening it up to a random book and chapter will not get you very far. For example, what if I’m needing marriage advice but I randomly open the bible and start reading the begat section of Genesis? It simply wouldn’t be beneficial for my growth or my marriage. It’s the same with faith. If you’re running low on faith, don’t just open your bible just to read scripture that has nothing to do with faith. Search for scripture specifically on faith. Too simple, right? That’s because it is. I often hear, “I don’t know where to start reading.” My answer to that is, start online. Google verses on faith. If you need marriage advice, Google verses on marriage. Don’t be afraid to use technology to grow your spiritual relationship with God. Most of my reading is on a bible app I’ve downloaded to my phone. Don’t be afraid to look up a passage online. For some reason, many Christians believe we should just know where to find scripture and that’s false. Unless you’ve memorize the entire bible, you’re often going to need help searching. Remember, it doesn’t show spiritual weakness to look up scripture, it shows a willingness for spiritual growth. Here are some awesome faith-renewing verses to start with: Romans 10:17, Hebrews 11:1, Proverbs 3:5-6, 2nd Corinthians 5:7, Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:22-24.
#4 – Acknowledge Your Blessings
I’ve come across hundreds of Christians that don’t believe they receive blessings, or get blessings as often as they should. I’ve even had a few people become jealous and angry with me when I tell them how much God has blessed me and my family. I’ve come to learn that I am no more or less blessed than they are, but that the only difference between them and I was perspective. I would see these Christians complaining about not receiving blessings, but at the same time, they have beautiful homes, healthy children, faithful husbands and wives, good jobs, and countless other details they would overlook. Let me stress, you will never feel blessed if you don’t acknowledge the blessing you already have. Often, I tell people of the miracles God has done in my life, like getting lunch bought for me when I was broke, driving home from another state on empty, or being offered a job I never applied for, and I’m often met with the same replies of “oh, that was awesome luck” or “oh, that was just a coincidence.” If you believe every blessing is a coincidence, then you will never be blessed. If you believe you’re lucky, you’ll never believe you’re blessed. Believe me when I say, there is no such thing as coincidence, and there’s no such thing as luck. As I said above, God already has all your provisions laid out for you like expecting parents. Believing in luck and coincidence is toxic for a Christina for two reasons. Firstly, because as mentioned, it disregards every blessing God gives to you. Secondly, they are extremely prideful characteristics. Believing in luck is telling God you are solely responsible for everything you have, when in reality he owns everything and gave you everything you have (Psalms 89:11). Don’t forget, pride is what got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven, e.g. it’s dangerous! Acknowledging the blessings God has given you can rapidly build your faith, because it reminds you that if God has carried you this far, he can carry you even further, and if he’s blessed you this much, he can bless you even further. I recommend to everyone struggling with faith to keep a blessings jar. My wife and I started this and it has built our faith tremendously. How it works is, every time you’re blessed, write it on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. It can be anything from a wage increase, to a gift from a friend, to an answered prayer. Then, whenever you’re running low on faith, open the jar and start reading all that God has done for you and I can guarantee your faith will be renewed. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says he has plans for each and every one of us, and they are to prosper us, and give us hope and a future. Everything that has happened to you, is happening to you, and will happen to you is all part of God’s plan. Common sense tells us that for something to be planned, it didn’t happen by coincidence. Planning and coincidence are contradictory. Therefore, the simple fact that you were born and are alive means it’s part of Gods plan. So when good things happen to you, thank God for that blessing he planned just for you and remember what he’s done!
#3 – Quit Worrying. Pray, and then Forget It
We live in a society today where worrying seems like a natural part of life, and that is the opposite of what life should be like for a Christian. Worrying is dangerous, and it’s the single greatest destroyer of faith. How, you ask? It’s because worry is the enemy of faith; to simplify, worry is the exact opposite of faith. The more we worry, the lower our faith becomes, and vice versa. The less we worry, the greater our faith becomes. As Christians, we should be living with absolutely no fear in life and no fear in death, but for one reason or another, we have absolute faith that God will take care of our future eternity, but we have issues believing he will take care of our present reality. Philippians 4:6-7 says to worry about nothing, but if you do, bring your worries and your requests to God and have peace that he will take care of it. The problem is, we bring our requests to God but still continue to worry. This defeats that prayer. How? Well, Mark 11:24 says, whatever you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive it, and you will receive it. It doesn’t say, after you pray, keep worrying, and then you will receive it. The key word here is believe, which means, have faith in your prayer and your God. Hebrews 11:6 says, without faith it is impossible to please God. So why would God be pleased if you continue to worry when you’ve already made the problem known to him? Continuing to worry means you didn’t give your issue over completely and you don’t really trust him to come through. There’s two steps to prayer: to pray, and to have faith. The issue is, in order to have faith, we cannot worry, so how is this accomplished? I’ve found the easiest way to have faith is to forget the worry. I know this sounds impossible, but it’s not. It’s not literally forgetting your problems, it’s forgetting to worry about them. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to worry. Over time, I’ve found the best way to forget to worry and not allow yourself to dwell on the problem is to force praise. Which brings us to the next point.
#2 – Force Praise
Some months ago my youngest son (two years old at the time) woke up one morning and was no longer able to use his legs. He couldn’t walk, and each time he tried he would cry out in pain and frustration that he couldn’t. Rightfully so, my wife and I were frantic, confused, and scared for what this could mean for his life and ours. The first thing I thought to do was pray, even though we both feared the worst. I didn’t know why this was happening but I settled on the fact that God would take care of it. Was I worried? Yes. Did I let the worry overtake my faith? No. The only way I was able to do this was through music. For days, while we were awaiting the result from all the tests my son was undergoing, I carried my headphones around with me, and every time I began to fear the worst, I turned on worship music and began to praise God. The more I worshipped, the less I worried. After days of worshiping and praying, my son began to walk again as if it never happened. Forcing praise is just that, it puts yourself in a position where you can’t help but praise God, and by result, worry can’t help but fade away. I truly believe that if I let worry consume us during this time, our prayers would’ve never been answered. Worship music is my way of forcing praise, and I encourage everyone to try it during their trials, but there are multiple ways to force praise. You can listen to worship music like I do, or you can go to church, listen to sermons online or podcasts, or simply talk to a like-minded believer that can pray with you and speak love and encouragement into your life. Don’t take for granted the resources God has given you to worship him. Use them to forget worry and force praise and believing.
#1 – Remember Your Past Victories
Every Christian new or old has had a prayer answered on one occasion or another, but why is it, that when God gives us a victory or brings us through a storm, we doubt he’ll bring us through the next? Does God have a limit on his blessings or his love? No. But for some reason we forget what he’s already done in our lives. We’ve prayed over sicknesses; he’s healed them. We’ve prayed over bill’s; he’s paid them. We’ve prayed over friends and family; he’s saved them. We’ve prayed over church families; he’s blessed them. So why is it that every problem that arises we start to doubt again? It’s simply because we forget. Human’s are forgetful creatures. Think about it—how many times have we walked into a room and forgotten why, and how often we’ve lost our keys. We simply forget, and it’s no different for the victories God’s given us. There’s good news! This can be overcome by some points I’ve already discussed, which are acknowledging your blessings, making a way to remember them (blessings jar), and recognizing God’s power.
Acknowledge: Speak of your blessings, tell people. The more we talk about something, the greater that memory gets ingrained in our minds. We tell exciting stories over and over again to people who’ve heard them a million times, but when it comes to acknowledging our blessings we think we’re being boastful. There’s nothing boastful about acknowledging what God’s given you. It’s only when we believe the blessings were done on our own that there’s an issue. Psalms 34:1 says, “I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Meaning, you can talk about his blessings all you want!
Remember: Make a way to remember your answered prayers and blessings. How important is this? Well important enough for God to command all throughout the bible for men to build monuments to remember what he’s done for them. Moses built an altar of stones to commemorate God’s covenant with Israel. Joshua was commanded to have the twelve tribes come together and build a memorial of their crossing the Jordan river. Also, let’s not forget the biggest longest lasting monument God set himself—the rainbow, God’s memorial promise of not flooding the entire earth again. Whether you start a blessings jar, make a blessings wall, or practice talking about what God has done in your life, remembering your past victories are critical in building and maintaining faith.
Recognize: Once you practice acknowledging your blessings and remembering your past victories, recognizing God’s power will come naturally. Soon you will start to realize that miracles to us are as natural to God as breathing. Your way of thinking will no longer be “what if God doesn’t” but “when God does.” 1st Corinthians 2:9 says, eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, nor is it thought up in the hearts of man what God has prepared for us that love him. Which means, we can’t even comprehend God’s power, so our understanding of how God is going to take care of our problem is grossly limited. Understanding God, and recognizing God’s power are two different things. I don’t understand God; I cannot because my mind cannot wrap around him, but I can recognize God’s power. I recognize he is more than able to provide, sustain, protect and bring me through anything life can throw my way, especially since he created it all, and everything is his already.
As Christians, we must do our absolute best to build and keep our faith. Why? Because Hebrews 11:6 says we cannot please God without faith. Without faith, we’re not fully believing in him or his power. I understand all too well building faith isn’t easy, but strong faith isn’t going to come without a purposeful method of achieving more faith. You cannot simply pray for more faith and do nothing. A conscious effort is needed. Reading your bible, praying, and going to church is just a fraction of effort needed to have a strong faithful relationship with God. If you aren’t utilizing the Big Three as often as you should, I encourage you to take these 10 steps to grow your relationship with Jesus Christ. There’s one promise I can make, and that promise is, you won’t regret it.