(Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog)
Our Christian life is a life of faith, and the Bible says that as believers, we walk by faith, not by sight. But in our experience, especially when we encounter difficult circumstances, we often become discouraged and find it hard to put our trust in God. We try to believe, but sometimes it feels like we simply don’t have enough faith.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us faith substantiates things we hope for and convinces us of things we can’t see. We all certainly want to experience this in our daily Christian walk, but how do we have this faith? How can we be strengthened in our faith, especially in the face of difficulty?
To answer these questions, let’s take a look at some key verses about faith.
We have a spirit of faith
Second Corinthians 4:13 says:
“Having the same spirit of faith according to that which is written, ‘I believed, therefore I spoke,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak.”
Note 2 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version explains what this spirit of faith is:
“The spirit of faith is the Holy Spirit mingled with our human spirit. We must exercise such a spirit to believe and to speak, like the psalmist, the things we have experienced of the Lord, especially His death and resurrection. Faith is in our spirit, which is mingled with the Holy Spirit, not in our mind. Doubts are in our mind. Here spirit indicates that it is by the mingled spirit that the apostles lived a crucified life in resurrection for the carrying out of their ministry.”
Faith is located in our human spirit. When we believed in Christ, we were regenerated; our spirit was enlivened and became a spirit of faith. Now, whenever our difficult situations cause us to experience doubts in our mind, we can and must exercise our spirit of faith to contact the Lord who is in our spirit. As a result, we will find faith in our spirit.
Day by day, we need to exercise our spirit of faith, but how do we do this?
Exercising our spirit of faith
The same verse also says, “I believed, therefore I spoke.” One of the best ways we can exercise our spirit of faith is to speak. But what should we say and to whom should we speak?
First, we can speak the Word of God to ourselves and to the Lord. The more we speak His Word, the more faith we have.
For instance, let’s say we read Matthew 28:20: “Behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age.” We can declare the facts in this verse, saying, “Thank You, Lord, You are with me all the days! Your Word says this! I believe Your Word.” As we speak the living and true Word of God, our spirit of faith is strengthened.
Second, we can also speak to others, telling them about Christ or sharing something we’ve enjoyed from His Word. When we preach the gospel to others, not only do they benefit, but so do we. In fact, as we speak, our own faith is fortified.
Faith first came to us when we heard the word of Christ. After our initial salvation, our faith continues to be strengthened as we read and speak the Word of God.
Looking away unto Jesus
In Hebrews 12:2, we find another way to be strengthened in our faith:
“Looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.”
What do we look away from? We need to look away from all the things in our lives that distract us from the Lord, including troubles and anxieties. Instead, we should look unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
But how do we do this? Note 2 on “looking away” in the Recovery Version says:
“The wonderful Jesus, who is enthroned in heaven and crowned with glory and honor (2:9), is the greatest attraction in the universe. He is like an immense magnet, drawing all His seekers to Him. It is by being attracted by His charming beauty that we look away from all things other than Him. Without such a charming object, how could we look away from so many distracting things on this earth?”
As we look away from everything unto Jesus, He fills us with faith. Note 3 on this verse tells us how this happens:
“When we look unto Jesus, He as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) transfuses us with Himself, with His believing element. Then, spontaneously, a kind of believing arises in our being, and we have the faith to believe in Him. This faith is not of ourselves but of Him who imparts Himself as the believing element into us that He may believe for us. Hence, He Himself is our faith. We live by Him as our faith; i.e., we live by His faith (Gal. 2:20), not by our own.”
Some practical ways we can look unto Jesus are by praying, reading the Word of God, and singing. For instance, the chorus of a classic hymn says this:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
(You can read the rest of the lyrics and hear the tune here.)
When we exercise our spirit to turn our eyes upon Jesus, all of our troubles and anxieties fade away and we’re strengthened in our faith to live the Christian life.