Life’s ups and downs can leave our faith in a precarious position, so how do we increase our faith? The Bible tells us that “faith comes by hearing … the word of God.”1 Let’s unwrap that package, layer-by-layer.
What is faith? Joseph Fort Newman says, “Faith is a fire in the heart,” while Hannah Whitall Smith tells us, “Faith is nothing at all tangible. It is simply believing God.”
Abraham had faith. When God told him to go, he went—without even knowing exactly where.2 Moses had faith. He left Egypt at God’s command, not knowing where he might end up.3 A prostitute named Rahab had faith; she protected the Israelite spies and was in turn protected when God brought the walls of Jericho down all around her.4 God came through for them, and He will come through for us too.
Dear God, my faith is sometimes weak, but You are the solid foundation upon which I can put my trust.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust.”—Psalm 18:2
The people of ancient Israel had long awaited the coming of the Messiah. When He did show up, it was not in robes of finery or trappings of wealth, not at the head of an army or accompanied by the honors of state, but in simplicity, poverty, and love, riding a young donkey.5
When faith comes, it is not always in the package we expect.
Dear God, thank You for coming into my life.
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.”—Matthew 4:16
FAITH COMES BY HEARING…
“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”—Matthew 11:15 NLT
We cannot listen unless we pause what we’re doing and focus. When Samuel heard God’s voice in the night, he responded, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”6
Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, was another listener. We’re told she “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.”7
Jesus went about the country, healing and teaching; news of Him spread and “vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases.”8 But the crowd needed to be quiet in order to hear Him.
We cannot hear unless we listen.
Dear God, help me to stop my own thoughts for just a few moments, to listen, so that I can hear.
FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE WORD…
What caused such a stir in Jerusalem on the day that the followers of Jesus received the infilling of the Holy Ghost?9 There were crowds of people in town for the festival and many were foreigners from as far away as Rome, Egypt, and Asia Minor. Different nationalities speaking different languages, yet everyone in the crowd could understand: “We all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!”10
No matter who we are, God speaks our language. He communicates in words that we can understand. Whether through the Bible, other inspired writings, or in a still small voice11 during our own quiet times with Him, we can get the message.
Dear Lord, I want to hear Your words, to know You better and to receive Your encouragement.
FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE WORD OF GOD.
“Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?”12 The answer is obvious. As Evagrius of Pontus wrote in the 4th century, “God cannot be grasped by the mind. If He could be grasped, He would not be God.” Thankfully, understanding is not a prerequisite for love; we can rest secure in God’s love because God has shown us how much He loves us by sending His Son to die for us.13
Dear God, may I always rest in Your love, even without comprehending its mystery.
“I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.”—Ephesians 3:16–19 CEB
“God is an infinite circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”—St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430)
“I cannot tell where God begins, still less where he ends. But my belief is better expressed if I say there is no end to God’s beginning.”—André Gide (1869–1951)