In II THESSALONIANS 1:3, Paul commended the church for its growing faith. He
said, "...your faith groweth exceedingly and the charity of every one of
you all toward each other aboundeth." Even in the midst of trouble and
trials, these new-born” babes” in Christ, were making spiritual
pro-gress. Wouldn't it be great if this could be said of each and every one
of us? Growing in faith is necessary and vital to our salvation. But, what does
it mean to grow in faith?
Let us consider that growing in faith involves at least three basic elements. First, growing in faith demands that we listen to the will of God. Paul wrote in ROMANS 10:17, that “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Therefore, to grow in faith one must study the scriptures, which are the inspired Word of God. We will never possess assurance or confident trust in God if we do not participate in a proper and diligent study of the Bible.To study the Bible requires more than just a sitting and casual reading of a few verses daily. We will never grow if we do not desire to be fed with the Word. As milk is essential to the growth of a baby, so is the milk and meat of the Word essential to the growth of a Christian. We are told in I PETER 2:2,”As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby.” Saving, active, and growing faith cannot be sustained without a steady diet of Bible study. The Christian who is growing in faith has abundantly filled his life with the words of Christ remember the instruction of Paul in COLOSSIANS 3:16,”Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wis-dom...”. The weak Christian lacks the strength to quench the fiery darts of the wicked because he has neglected to take up the shield of faith spoken of in EPHESIANS 6:16,”Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked.” John reminds us in I JOHN 5:4,”For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Faith is the victory that overcomes the world,but it is only victorious when it grows and it grows by the means of the knowledge of God's will.
Second, growing in faith demands that we live the will of God. Faith apart from works is barren, useless, and dead. James makes that clear to us in JAMES 2:17,”Even so faith, if it hath not works is dead, being alone.” It will never save. If you want to make your calling and election sure, then your faith must grow by adding to it the Christian graces given in II PETER 1:5-8, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, god-liness; and to godliness, brtherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” You must acquire knowledge and learn to use it wisely and with all patience, godliness, and brotherly kindness. A growing faith is active, doing, and responsive. Only the man who believes and obeys can be blessed in his deeds. JAMES 1:25, states,”But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deeds.” Only the man who exercises his faith can be said to possess a growing faith. Only when one acts upon what he reads can it be said that he possesses a growing faith.
Third, growing in faith demands that we love the will of God.We see in I JOHN 4:18, that "...perfect love casteth out fear...”, and each of us should grow in faith enough to serve God because we love Him, instead of being entirely motivated out of a fear of going to hell. A Christian who has grown in faith does not view the commandments of God as grievous or burdensome, but as an honor and a privilege.John states in I JOHN 5:3,”For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not grievous.” He keeps the commandments because he loves God and seeks to please Him (2 Tim. 2:4).
Those who keep the commandments of God out of convenience or for the favor of man such as an individual who attends worship merely to please his spouse or parents or simply to avoid hell, do not possess a faith that groweth exceedingly. Growing faith learns the joy and happiness of serving God. It loves the will of God and will hunger and thirst for its precepts. Such a faith is aware of the words of Jesus in MATTHEW 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” It yearns for its decrees and finds solace in its instruction.
A growing faith discovers peace and strength incomprehensible to the world. Peace spoken of in PHILIPPIANS 4:7, as “...the peace of God, which passeth all understanding...” A growing faith is manifested by the one who can, like the psalmist, in PSALMS 119:97 say "Oh, how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day."
Have you progressed in your faith enough to say that you listen to, live, and love the will of God? Has your faith grown exceedingly? Or do you find yourself like many professing to be Christians whose faith and spirituality have become dormant. Study again the Word of God that it might cut to the thoughts and intents of your heart and motivate you to experience, once again, the graciousness of God. May your faith grow exceedingly. May you then be as stated in COLOSSIANS 1:23, "...continue in the faith, grounded and settled...not moved away," so that on that great and final day, Christ may present you holy and blameless and unreprovable before our grand and glorious Judge.
By Johnny Webb