Enjoying your latest book, Experiencing Jesus. In another one of your books, I am struggling with how our faith is increased. I believe you mentioned it has to do with duration. I used to use the phrase from faith to faith, as pictured as going from a cup to a bucket, to a barrel, to a channel. Is this a wrong concept of growing in faith? I would appreciate your counsel. Thanks John.
Yours because His
Thanks for your kind comment and thanks for your question! Often, we tend to think faith increases in size, but thinking this way, we make ourselves responsible for mustering more quantity of faith—and this amounts to an unprofitable exercise in self-dependence. Therefore, our understanding of this concept must be clear. Faith is faith. Dependence is dependence. So, what is the nature of the increase of faith?
The question is not how to increase our faith. That comes through looking unto Jesus in conjunction with the Word (Heb. 12:2; Rom. 10:17). The question is the nature of the increase. The passages that address “great faith” and “little faith” reveal three ways faith may be increased.
First, in the most obvious sense, faith may be increased through the number of times that faith is exercised (Matt. 6:30; 16:5-12). You can trust God more than once. If you trusted Him before, you can trust Him again.
Second, faith may be increased in the sense of the degree of difficulty for which faith is exercised (Matt. 8:5-13; 23-27). You can’t believe harder, but there are some things that are harder to believe. An increase can be realized with entering unfamiliar territory; areas where previously you have not stepped out (or even considered stepping out) in faith. These areas are more difficult but only from a human perspective. Take comfort as you recall that there is nothing too difficult for God.
Third, faith may be increased in the sense of the duration of time that faith is exercised on a given issue (Matt. 14:22-33; 15:21-28). The mustard seed passages make this point clear (Matt. 17:20; Luke 17:6). If faith the size of a mustard seed (a very small seed) can move a tree or a mountain, then the issue is not the size of the faith. Both contexts use verb tenses that convey that which is continuous. For a given issue, sometimes enduring faith is needed—especially in the matter of a test of faith.
In my first book, Engine Truths, I emphasized the concept of enduring faith. Over the years I’ve seen more ways faith may be increased. “The Increase of Faith” is the final chapter of my book, The Faith Response, and there you can find this concept addressed at greater length.
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