One of my most valued computer documents is called “HOW TO.” It includes reminders and notes of “HOW TO” do almost anything I have done that is outside the common routine.
Don’t you think it would be good right now to add an entry called HOW TO grow faith”?
There is nothing we need more to grow right now than FAITH!
HOW TO grow faith?
1- RIGHT SEED
Let’s start with seeking out the RIGHT SEED. This is Jesus’ first point in His parable of the sower. Anything that grows starts with some kind of seed. FAITH is no exception.
What did Jesus say about the SEED?
Matthew 13:3 3Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.
We get the picture: A sower casting seed where it can grow. Because it is a parable, we know none of it is literal. It must be studied and linked with other scripture before we can understand it fully.
What does the seed represent? Let Jesus explain:
Luke 8:11 11”Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
This agrees with Paul’s words as he identified the source (seed) from which faith comes:
Romans 10:17 17So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The seed is the WORD of God. There is no other seed that can give us the solid EVIDENCE we need to grow our faith. It is the one and ONLY source of solid, valid EVIDENCE.
Not surprising that Paul calls it “the unity of the faith”:
Ephesians 4:13 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
The UNITY of FAITH and KNOWLEDGE.
This one SEED produces ONE FAITH.
Ephesians 4:5–6 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in [
Note here that Paul is not saying God is “in you all” – he only says that God is behind all His creation. The “you” is not in the original Greek. God is “above all and through all and in all.”
Why just “ONE faith? Because it comes from ONE GOD and His pure and eternal Word. We must learn from God about the issues at stake—nothing we can learn from this world. The issues are ETERNAL LIFE and ETERNAL DEATH. There is no other source of knowledge about these issues because we haven’t experienced them, we nor anyone else.
The quality of this SEED is unvarying. External conditions do not affect it. How do we know it is dependably the same?
Hebrews gives it a very singular description:
Hebrews 13:8 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Who is this “Jesus Christ”? It is NOT a Jesus who existed before His Father, who was supposedly “uncreated” yet “begotten.” (That takes too much imagination to understand!)
No, this “Jesus Christ” is a personification of the message Jesus taught, the life He exemplified, the words He proclaimed, the truth He lived. It is what we call the “spiritual” Christ because it was all about His message to the world and the pattern of life He showed.
But to be of benefit, to bring conviction to the heart, that seed must be properly received and understood. This requires us to study, as Paul said,
2 Timothy 2:15 15Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Now that we have decided on the SEED that will grow faith, we need to think about WATER for the SEED.
2- RIGHT WATER
What water does this seed need? Where does it come from?
The Psalmist tells us about the RIGHT source of WATER:
Psalm 1:1–3 1Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
A tree growing by the rivers of water – water from the garden of God. The Psalmist says more about this water:
Psalm 65:9 9You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water;
Jeremiah says it also. Plants growing by this living water spread out their roots by God’s RIVER.
Jeremiah 17:7–8 7”Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. 8For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Jesus in His final message in Revelation says of this water that it is the LIFE GIVING water supporting the fruit-bearing trees that will thrive alongside this spiritual river in the New Jerusalem.
Revelation 22:1–2 1And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Then, if we expect our seed to GROW, we need to think seriously about one vital issue: the soil.
3- RIGHT SOIL
The RIGHT SEED, perfect though it be, and watered with the RIGHT WATER needs one thing more to grow: it must fall into the RIGHT SOIL to grow well.
All soils are not equal. What did Jesus say in His parable about the kind of soil that produces growth?
Luke 8:15 15… that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Good ground consists of “an honest and good heart.” There are fundamental qualities of character the “good ground” must have –or develop – in order to produce good fruit.
Honest soil? Most of us have a stronger instinct to save face and justify ourselves than to acknowledge a truth—especially about ourselves. To be strictly honest even in our own minds can be difficult. This is Paul’s message to the Corinthians:
2 Corinthians 10:4–5 4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…
If OUR soil is to grow FAITH seed, this means letting OUR ideas go, in favor of “obedience to Christ.”
We naturally cling to our own opinions, our doubts, our objections, our imaginations even after they have been proven groundless. What does Scripture say about this?
1 Timothy 6:3 3If any man … consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
“Doctrine that is according to godliness” – here is the soil and the only soil that will grow FAITH. This means we are not pleasing other people who don’t know God, not even pleasing ourselves, but doctrine that centers on godliness, which means
the right way to relate to others,
the right way to speak,
the right way to live.
This is what the GOOD SEED sown in the GOOD SOIL of an honest and good heart will produce, and the result will be growing FAITH.
“Honest and good” soil means dedicated soil. Soil unmixed with this world’s interests.
Naturally our minds flit here and there with every passing distraction and interest. Lots of old nature and this world mixed in. We cannot allow this “mixture” of soil and expect to develop a strong faith. What did Paul say about himself and his single minded focus?
Philippians 3:13–14 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul said “This ONE thing I do.” It is so easy to dilute our faith with the profitless interests of this world. A little here, a little there, and our time is gone—and what good is growing in our heart of hearts? What are we feeding our faith to make it GROW?
We need to plant the seed and pay attention to what our minds are dwelling on, to be sure it is conducive to growing faith and virtue.
Then when we have
The RIGHT Seed
The RIGHT Water
The RIGHT Soil
THEN we will be growing FAITH, and can look forward to an abundant harvest in the NEW WORLD that is coming.
The better attention we give to each of these, the more effort we invest in right thinking, right understanding, and right living, the stronger our faith will grow.
And grow. And grow. And GROW – even to LIFE ETERNAL!