The only reason I used the phrase “trying to increase your faith” in the title of this article is because I do believe that there must be a willingness on our part to follow God when he is seeking to increase our faith. God won’t increase your faith if you reject his offer. If we resist, the opportunities for growth he is giving us will be wasted.
So here are 3 signs to look for if you want to take advantage of your opportunity to increase your faith by the grace of God.
1. God Often Increases Our Faith By Using Our Unanswered Questions to Motivate Us to Grow
There’s a difference between not knowing and not believing. There’s a difference between having questions and having doubt. Many people feel they must know everything about God to believe anything about God. But that’s just not the case. Jesus doesn’t tell us it’s wrong to have questions. He tells us it’s wrong to have doubt. Notice what happened with Thomas to in John 20:25-27. It states:
25But [Thomas] said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
Jesus didn’t shame Thomas for having questions. In fact, in verse 27 Jesus gave Thomas the evidence he asked for in verse 25. So Jesus was not upset about Thomas’ questions. But he was disappointed by Thomas disbelief.
I believe God allows questions to arise in our minds as a way of drawing us closer to him, as a way of maturing our relationship with him. Big questions about God don’t need to be big barriers between us and him. God wants the questions in our lives to be bridges to him. He wants our search for answers to increase our faith, not decrease it. Sometimes without a burning question in our minds, we would never read our Bibles and seek Jesus like we would if we didn’t have these types of questions. So there is zero problems with having hard questions for God, but the problem lies when we ask those questions in doubt rather than in faith. For example, James 1:5-8 states:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Notice that our lack of wisdom is actually used here as a reason to seek God more. The difference between people who have a lot of faith in God compared to those who have very little or none at all is not that the people with faith don’t have questions. Rather, those with faith allow their questions to draw them deeper into studying God’s word and seeking God personally, which in turn then increases their faith.
2. God Will Often Increase Your Faith in Him Through Relationship Pains
In the beginning of starting the coaching relationship I have with all the new members to AGW University, one of the opening questions I have them answer is, “When and how did you come to have a relationship with Jesus Christ?”
It’s truly remarkable how many people first turned to God during a very painful season of life because of a broken relationship. When we are at our lowest, that is oftentimes the point when we seek God the hardest. As Jeremiah 29:13 states, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Many times we seek the Lord with all of our heart when we finally realize how broken our hearts truly are. And sometimes nothing reveals our brokenness more than a relationship heartache.
So if you are going through a very painful time because of a breakup, a bad relationship, problems in your current relationship, or simply because of an unmet desire for the marriage you desperately want – God desires to use this pain to increase your faith in him. It won’t happen on its own. But if you don’t waste your pain and you turn to the Lord in the midst of your suffering and heartache, God can use this painful season to draw you closer to him and to mature you as a follower of Christ.
3. When You Feel Called to Do Something That Feels Too Hard for You, This Is Often a Sign that God Wants to Increase Your Faith in Him
Notice what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. It reads:
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Notice that God did not change Paul’s circumstance but he did change Paul so he was able to glorify God in his circumstances. Just like we all do, Paul asked God to take away what he felt was too much for him to bear. Sometimes God will do that, but sometimes he won’t. In those moments, God desires to increase our faith by showing us that his grace is sufficient for us. Through this trial, Paul realized something truly life-changing, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Likewise, God often calls us to do something that we feel is too much for us so that we will depend on his grace and thus increase our faith in the Lord. As Warren Wiersbe put it, “God does not give us tasks equal to our strength, but rather wants to give us strength equal to our tasks.”
So if you feel like God is calling you to do something that is just too hard for you, this could be a sign that he is using this as an opportunity to increase your faith.