I. Faith is a “spiritual substance” within you that can grow and or decrease. The Bible says:
” Faith is the basis of everything we hope for and the evidence of things that we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
I believe that this verse is telling us that faith is a “spiritual substance” that operates on the inside of us and that it is capable of “growing or waning.”
II. The Bible also tells us that we are all given a “measure” of faith in which to work. The verse tells us that is:
“… God has dealt with each one a MEASURE OF FAITH …” (Romans 12:3).
The best way to understand faith and how to work within us is on a scale of 1-10. 10 is the highest amount of faith you can have, and 1 is the lowest amount of trust you can have.
Most people start at the lower end of that range – in categories 1-3. And that doesn’t matter to God! One of the most surprising insights that I feel God has given me about this is as follows:
I believe this comes from the Holy Spirit. He said to me: If the Bible says that faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain, what do you think faith can do about the size of a golf ball? Or faith the size of a baseball? Or faith the size of a basketball?” This means that your faith can grow or decrease.
Mustard seeds are considered to be one of the smallest of all seeds. The analogy above tells us two things:
That your faith can “grow” with and in God over time – from a mustard seed size – to a golf ball size – to a baseball size – to basketball size, etc. The verse that specifically tells us that our faith levels are capable of GROWING is:
… because your FAITH GROW EXCEEDINGLY.. (2 Thessalonians 1:3).
However, look closely at the above analogy. The Bible states faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains! That means we do not have to have faith up in the 5-8 category to get God to become active in our lives. All we need is a tiny amount of faith to get the “show” going with God.
In other words, on a scale of 1-10, all you need is the amount of faith “1” to make God start moving in your life – and almost everyone has at least “1” number of faith.
When you watch other people, explain this analogy to them. Explain to them that they do not need to have great faith to make God very active in their lives. God will take any amount of faith to begin, and He will start the development process in your life with only a small amount of faith!
How to Increase Your Faith
Now how is faith “built” in a higher range from time to time. The Bible says:
So faith comes from hearing by the word of Christ.
Hearing means the Word enters the mind either through reading the Bible or hearing someone who preaches or teaches about the Bible.
What the Bible says is that if people keep reading to understand the Bible, then a low amount of faith will begin to grow. Why?
Because your mind receives information and knowledge about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and all their ways, when you start reading all about God in the Bible, and all the miracles that He has done – your level of faith will begin to grow because you start believing what you read. The Holy Spirit will also bear witness in you that what you read is the real “truth of God.”The exciting thing is that the Holy Spirit will “build” your faith inside and cause faith to grow to a higher range. This is something “magical” that He did for all of us. Suddenly, your faith has just changed from “1” to “2.”
Then a little further down the road, your faith will grow from a “2” to a “3” – and so on and so on. However, the Holy Spirit will not cause your faith to grow unless you are seeking knowledge about God. And the Bible is the #1 source of knowledge that we have about God on this earth.
If you don’t continue to seek after knowledge about God, your faith will “stagnate” – it will stop growing!
That is why the Bible says that your faith grows by “hearing the word of God.” In other words, your faith grows as you increase your knowledge about God – primarily through the study of Scripture. When you are “hearing the Word of God” – you are developing your understanding of God, and that is what will cause the Holy Spirit to raise your levels of faith to higher levels on the scale of 1-10.
An excellent example of all of the above are the healing verses in the Bible. Sometimes it may take faith up in the 3-4 category to pull down a healing miracle from God. The way that done is that the person needing the healing needs to meditate on, chew on the verses about divine healing. When you start reading all of the healings that Jesus did, all the cures that the apostles did and all of the prayer verses on how God can heal and answer your prayers – your faith will start to grow and build up on the inside of you. Maybe from a 1 to a 3 or 4. That 3 or 4 may be just enough faith and belief that God needs to heal you. But before He treats you – He wants your faith built up to that range.
And it is built up to that range by soaking” into all the Bible verses about healing. Your faith is growing as you are “hearing” the Word of God on this issue. Hearing, in this case, means you are reading the verses for yourself and believing what you are reading.
It’s the “Word and the Spirit” working together that will cause your faith to increase over time. When you start reading and studying Scripture to increase your knowledge about God, and at the same time establish a personal relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – you have set a fuse to powerful bomb – a “1-2 punch” so to speak.
You have to have both – “knowledge” that the Word gives you and “power” that the Holy Spirit will flow through you by establishing a personal relationship with God and studying the Bible for increased knowledge about God. Do both of those, and over some time your faith levels will eventually grow from the 1-2 levels to the 8-10 levels.
Smith Wigglesworth called the “apostle of faith” because his level of faith operates in the range of 9-10 with God. That is why he has such a dramatic miracle in his ministry. He has a high level of faith in trusting God for significant miracles, and God does a greater miracle for this person – only because he has a level of faith operating at a higher range, and the only book he has ever read is the Bible!
That is why getting your faith levels up in the 5-10 category is so powerful. God will be able to do mightier and more powerful miracles through you if your faith is operating at those higher levels!
But faith does not grow overnight. This is a development process that has taken place for years – not months. That is why the apostle Paul calls our journey with God a struggle for faith. We must strive so that our level of faith increases with time with God.
How Your Faith Can Decrease
Just as your faith can grow, it can also decrease. Bad things can happen to you. You feel like you’ve just hit with a number four times. Suddenly, you feel your faith “going down” from 5 to 2. You have to “fight” to get it back to 5. Do this like athletes do when they experience a decline. It’s the same way in God’s realm. From time to time, you have to give yourself “small talk” so as not to let your level of faith fall too low for too long a time when difficulties hit you. You have to tell yourself that you are not crazy, that God has been with you all this time, that there is a reason for this difficulty, that you cannot give up and God will ultimately save you.
Pretty soon, your mind will start believing what your “pep talks” are telling you to believe, the Holy Spirit then starts to move back upon you, and you feel your faith start moving back up to the level where it just knocked off of. That is how you “stay in the game.”
And from time to time, God will arrange to test your faith levels – to see if you will still believe in Him and what He wants to do with your life. He will sometimes “allow” adversity to hit you. It is easy to have high levels of faith when everything is going great. But let adversity strike, and a lot of Christians will all of sudden “lose their faith” in God. How could God do this to me? I must be on the wrong playing field.
The story of Moses and the Israelites in the wilderness is a perfect example. All Israelis over the age of 20 did not make it into the Promised Land because their faith did not operate at a high enough level to believe that God could defeat the giants and fortresses they saw in the Promised Land.
They did not have enough faith in God to defeat their enemies in the Promised Land. God did not allow them to enter and only allowed Joshua, Caleb, and the younger generation under 20 years to come there – they had a high enough level of trust in God so they could defeat the giants and give them this land! And God proved it! Joshua won and got every ounce of land he stepped on. All because of their strong faith and trust in God.