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10 Tips for Moving Beyond a Shallow Faith

A post on my son Nate’s blog inspired this post. In it he talks about the power of faith and the questions he has about that power.  (It’s important to know that Nate has a weird sense of humor and so he understands more than he pretends he does sometimes.) 

Still, Nate is right.  There are lots of misunderstandings when it comes to faith.  As he mentioned in his post, we read in Scripture that with the faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains and trees, but for me personally, sometimes I struggle just to have faith that God is going to be there when I wake up in the morning.  (Not really to that extreme, but sometimes my faith feels that shallow. Sorry if that disappoints you, but it’s true on some days.)  What is then the power of faith? 

To understand faith I have to put it in terms of a relationship.  When we speak of a Biblical faith, we are speaking in terms of our relationship with God and His son, Jesus Christ.  With that in mind, let me list 10 points to consider about this kind of faith:

1. Faith is defined for us as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1-2) 

2. Faith believes even when it makes no sense to believe, not because of the proof before you, but because of the trust you place in the object of your faith.

3. Faith is based on the will of that person in whom you place your faith, not my will.  You can have faith that the person you love most will never hurt you, for example, but whether they do or not is up to their will, not yours.  

4. Biblical faith is in a person, the person of God.  (God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…they are One.)  Faith is not in me or my abilities, but on God and His abilities.  

5. When Jesus used the illustration of moving mountains He was giving an example of the power of God and how we should place our whole faith in Him.  He was not talking about the power of my ability to have faith, but rather the power of the One in whom we place our faith.  If God’s will is to move a mountain, He will surely move it. You can even ask Him to by faith.  (Remember, Jesus also said, “apart from me you can do nothing”.) 

6. When we talk about faith in God then, we are talking about His will, not our will.  That’s how Jesus taught us to pray….”Our Father, who is in Heaven…thy will be done…” Faith is based on God’s agenda, not my agenda. It’s not your ability to move the mountain, its God’s ability.   It’s not your will to move the mountain; it’s God’s will.

7. When you struggle with faith, you don’t doubt your ability; you doubt God’s ability.  Sometimes we get upset that God hasn’t done something we think He should do, but God never promised to do it.  It may have never been His will.

8. When you pray by faith then, you are praying that you trust God to do His will in your life, based not on your wishes or desires, but on what He has promised to do.  Some things we can always have faith that God will do, because he has promised to do them, such as “love you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3), “work all things for good” (Romans 8:28) and “never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

9. God is trustworthy…worthy of our faith.  I love how The Message Version puts 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!”  Do what?  Do His will. Faith in the person of God is based then on your trust that He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do.   

10. When your faith lines up with God’s will, you can absolutely, positively, unquestionably claim by faith that God’s will be done.  One of the reasons it is so important to know God personally is so that we will know His will, so we can know how to pray in God’s will.  (Romans 12:1-2) 

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Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.