Love this topic. Love, love, love it.
Because this is all of us at times. You are not the one Christian out there who is struggling, wondering if you really believe or even feeling like you just can’t feel God. We all struggle in different ways at different times.
Why? One thought: because we can’t reach out and touch God with our hands like we can a person, a phone, computer screen or something in the physical world. And in that moment of lack or nothingness, what do we do next? Where do we turn our eyes?
“I lift my eyes up to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
Faith is our freewill choice. It requires believing in what we cannot see. It is an action to take; it requires us to move.
What? Yes, it requires us to not just think about it. We do it.
These posts are a few years old, but Keeping Faith in Trials and Temptations and Keeping Faith in Tough Times offer support with a bunch of comments that might have you nodding your head in agreement.
So let’s unpack this a bit more. Here are six ways to lean in when keeping faith in God is on the top of our hearts.
Ask God for More Faith
Sounds simple. Have you tried it?
James 4:2 says that we do not have because we do not ask.
Jesus said that we should ask, seek and knock. Not my words, His:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt 7:7-8).
And when we enter hard times that just keep getting harder, deeper, more intense… maybe even coupled with feeling less of God at the exact time we want more…in these times we can pray for increased faith. Lord, take me another step; allow me to have more faith in you.
Move in Faith—Experience It
The moment we face choosing to trust God or going it alone—which can happen many times in the course of a Christian’s life—we have an opportunity to put our faith in action.
We might think at times, But I’m tired of always choosing to take the high road. I’m tired of reaching out, giving, etc.
“We walk by faith, not by sight” is what 2 Corinthians 5:7 says. We participate in this process. We make these choices in the quiet of our hearts, when no one would ever know or see. Does it look weak on the outside? Well it requires great strength. We can get that strength from God.
“But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). We are soldiers in faith. We will not always (and in some cases ever) be noticed or thanked by the world around us, and thankfully, because that is not at all the point.
Allow God’s Word to Work in You and Through You
The Bible is called the living word. Hebrews 4:12 tell us, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Have you ever read a Bible verse and it cuts right through all the fluff and gets right to the point in your heart? Maybe it convicts you or maybe it confirms something for you. It is powerful. So if you are “staying in the word,” you are having this living water refresh you, fill you, nourish you, teach you, correct you, redirect you.
Seek Forgiveness When You Mess Up, and Do Better Next Time
We work at it because we want to improve.
Sure, we end up getting ourselves into less-than-favorable situations when we make bad choices, but this is a process, and we’re all in it, and we all mess up. Do you believe what the Bible says?
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
You might think, But I keep messing up! And I feel like maybe God is punishing me.
God will correct us because He’s a good father and He doesn’t want us into the things that will hurt us. But punishing us? No. Have we repented with a heart to do better next time? Look at this exchange between Peter and Jesus…
Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven’ (Matthew 18:21-22).
Find Encouragement in New Places
Where is God calling you to learn more about Him? Maybe you’re trying to read the Bible at home on your own, and it’s a struggle. Some ideas:
- Have you considered watching an online Bible study?
- Listening to a podcast on your drive to work in the morning?
- Do you feel God calling you to a certain ministry?
- Might there be a local congregation with a small group you could enjoy?
- Visited the Christian section of the bookstore lately? Here are some of my favorites
I grew up Catholic, so whenever I attempted “going back to church,” that meant a Catholic mass. One day I met a guy in a coffee shop who invited me to a non-denominational Christian service (that guy is now my husband!). At first it felt strange because it was different than what I knew, but hearing the Bible taught in a way I could understand opened my eyes. After that point, we prayed about where God wanted us to go and after visiting several local congregations, we felt confirmed. My point is just because generations of your family have celebrated their faith in one denomination, there may be something different for you. Ask God where He’s calling you.
Remember What God Has Done in Your Life
Remember that time you experienced God in a way that changed you?
When I feel faith slipping in any way, I think about all the times God showed up over and over again, especially when I was broken and he gave me a new life. I think about these things and remember them in detail. I tell my children and remember how I was so amazed… God is real. This is not just something you believe to believe. He is alive. He touched my life.
How do you share your story with others? With those closest to you? With yourself when you need it the most?
A number of times in the Bible the Israelites recounted how they were led out of Egypt and into the promised land so they wouldn’t forget what the Lord had done. Deuteronomy 6:12 says, “Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. ”
We all can use refreshers. Support. New ideas. Reminders.
And here’s one last one…
Remember when Thomas didn’t believe that Jesus really appeared to the other apostles while he was gone? So then Jesus appeared to Thomas, right there in front of everyone, and Thomas said, “My Lord my God!” What did Jesus say? He said: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).