In a previous lesson entitled “102 – What is Faith?” we learnt that to understand what faith is, is to understand that God’s Word is creative in nature and therefore always true.
In “103 – Living by Faith” we learnt that teaching people to live by faith is teaching them to live according to the understanding of what faith is: expecting the Word of God to do what it says and to depend upon the Word to do the thing which is by it spoken.
In “104 – Great Faith and Little Faith” we learnt that little faith lives by faith sometimes, but not all of the time. Little faith is not a pleasant life. Great faith lives by faith all of the time and it is a pleasant life.
In this lesson “105 – Growing Your Faith” we will look at how to cultivate faith. The cultivating of faith is by practice to cause to grow confidence in the power of God’s Word to fulfil itself and dependence upon that Word to fulfil itself. When we cultivate our faith it will grow from little faith to great faith.
1. What prevents the exercising of great faith?
Matthew 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou ________?
NOTE: It is impossible for God to lie (Titus 1:2). When little faith doubts God’s Word, it means that little faith believes that it is possible for God to lie. But God cannot lie because His Word is creative. Therefore, when little faith doubts God’s Word it is actually doubting God’s power. Great faith does not doubt, but depends on God’s Word always.
2. What did the apostles ask Jesus to do?
Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our ________.
NOTE: Jesus told His disciples about their little faith (Matthew 8:26) and therefore it makes sense to ask Him to increase their faith. They had little faith and depended on God’s Word sometimes, but not all of the time. They wanted great faith so that they would depend on God’s Word all of the time. To cultivate dependence on God’s Word to fulfill itself is to cultivate faith.
3. How did Jesus teach them to increase their faith?
Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith ____ 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.
NOTE: Many people misunderstand these words of Jesus. He did not say “faith as much as a grain of mustard seed”, but He said “faith as a grain of mustard seed”. God’s enemy, Satan, is trying to deceive people by making them think that they should be happy with little faith. But Jesus did not teach here that we should have faith as small as a mustard seed. Jesus knew that the mustard seed starts out small, but ends up as a big tree – it has the quality of being the most growing. Jesus was teaching His disciples how to grow little faith into great faith. Though the mustard seed is so small, it still contains the same life principle that produces growth in the biggest tree. When the mustard seed is in the ground, it takes hold of every element that God has provided and it quickly develops a strong and healthy growth. Jesus wants us to have faith like a mustard seed: A faith that takes hold upon God’s Word, and upon all the helpful agencies He has appointed. This is how we should increase our faith.
4. What else, according to Jesus, is important to understand when growing your faith?
Luke 17:7-10 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? 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? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are __________________ servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
NOTE: It is important to understand that God does not owe us anything. But we owe God everything. We belong to Him by creation (Genesis 1:27) and also by redemption (1 Corinthians 6:20). If we did everything perfectly which He has commanded us to do, then we have only done our part which is expected of us. We cannot do more than what is expected of us and gain merit. We should not say “Lord, I have done this for You, so You need to do this for me.” Everything that God does for us is because of His grace and mercy – treating us better than we deserve and giving us gifts that we do not deserve.
5. How can we be sure that we are acting in faith?
Psalm 119:105 Thy ______ is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Romans 10:17 faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the ______ of God.
NOTE: Faith is completely depending upon God’s Word only for the accomplishment of what that Word says. And so we should never forget that where there is no Word of God, there cannot be any faith. Romans 10:17 makes it clear that faith comes by the very Word of God itself, and then where there is no Word of God, there can be no faith. If we want to grow our faith by constantly living by faith, then it is important to make sure that we walk only in the light that shines from God’s Word. Only God’s Word is worthy of faith, and can be depended on. By exercising faith in His Word your faith will grow as you see His promises being fulfilled.
6. How can God’s past dealings in my life help me to grow confidence in His Word?
Deuteronomy 7:18-19 Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well ____________ what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.
Psalm 77:11 I will _________ the works of the LORD:
NOTE: Remembering how God’s Word fulfilled itself in the past gives us confidence that His Word will fulfil itself again in the future. When we have seen something before, then it gives us confidence that it can happen again. We have nothing to fear for the future, except if we forget how faithful God’s Word has been in the past. Writing down and sharing the faithfulness of God’s Word are great ways to remember His power.
7. How can someone else help me to grow confidence in the faithfulness of God’s Word?
John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which __________, He told me all that ever I did.
NOTE: Listening to testimonies about how God’s Word has fulfilled itself in the life of others will help you to grow confidence in His Word. God’s Word can do in your life what it has done in the lives of others. Those who talk about confidence in God’s Word can encourage you to exercise more confidence in His Word. Those who doubt God’s Word can discourage you to exercise more confidence in His Word. If you choose to associate with people who encourage doubt, and not confidence, in God’s Word then it will have a negative impact on your faith (2 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 5:11).
8. What if I stumble and fall along the way?
Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not ___________ for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and _______ up again
NOTE: Don’t plan to fail, but if you do fail, get up. When Peter doubted and started to sink, he cried out to the Lord to save him.
9. How fast can faith grow?
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth _____________
NOTE: There is nothing known to man that will grow so fast as faith, when it is cultivated.
Doubt and unbelief stop us from exercising great faith. To increase our dependence on the power of God’s Word, and thus decrease doubt and unbelief, is to increase our faith. Here are some practical ways from this lesson on how to increase our dependence on the power of God’s Word to fulfil itself:
1. Like the mustard seed takes hold of all the different elements that God has provided for it to grow, so we should take hold of God’s Word and the different agencies that He has given us to grow. We should make sure that everything we do is based on the Word of God. As we exercise faith in His Word, His Word will be fulfilled and we will see His miracles. If God’s Word is the source of our power, then there is no reason to doubt, but relying on something else for power leaves much reason to doubt.
2. We should understand that God owes us nothing, and we owe Him everything. If we have done everything that He has commanded us to do, then we have only done our part. We cannot do more than what is expected of us. Thus everything that we receive from God is not because we deserve it, but because He treats us better than we deserve and gives us gifts that we do not deserve.
3. Remembering how God’s Word fulfilled itself in the past gives us confidence that God’s Word will fulfil itself again. When we forget God’s miracles in the past, it then becomes easy for us to doubt. Sharing God’s miracles in our lives with others is a great way to remember them.
4. Surrounding ourselves with people who encourage us to exercise faith and not doubt is also a great way to increase our dependence on God’s Word. When we listen to testimonies of what God’s Word has done for other people, we become encouraged that His Word can do the same for us.
5. In our walk with God we should not plan to fail. But if we do fail, then we should stand up again and recommit our faithfulness to God’s Word.
Is it your desire to increase your faith by starting to depend on God’s Word more, and to doubt His Word less?