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How can I increase my faith?

"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." —Hebrews 11:6

If you deeply desire a stronger faith in God, then you're already one step closer, friend. You've recognized the value of learning to depend on God, trust Him, and turn to Him in all circumstances. Hebrews 13:5b reminds us that God "will never leave you nor forsake you." He is dependable and will always be there for you, so He's a friend worth keeping.

1. Get God.

Your number one support in finding more faith in God is God Himself (Corinthians 4:7). God is the source of all our strength and determination. And you know what? God is a given! He is right there for you right now. So you’ve got one thing checked off and DONE.

2a. Get to know God better...through His Word.

That may seem like a trite answer, but the reality is that it's hard to trust someone you don't really know. This step is a 2-parter: reading God's Word plus talking to Him on a regular basis. Just like getting to know a new friend, spending time with someone in order to develop our relationship with them is key.

The Bible tells us about God's character, His mercy on His people, and how He loves us today and has saved us (Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 2:2; John 17:3). The Bible is God's instruction book for us on how to live our lives for the betterment of our hearts and our relationship with others and how to solve many of life's problems (2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 12:2). As we learn more about Him, we can discover just how trustworthy God is and how He has come through for people in the past—no matter what the situation. Seeing how God has been trustworthy for others helps us to trust Him when the time comes for us.

2b. Get to know God better...through conversation.

Talking to God regularly is essential as you develop your faith and grow your relationship with Him (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18). If you're not used to praying, it might feel weird at first, but keep at it (Jeremiah 33:3). Tell Him everything. He can handle whatever you dish out. Be joyful, be angry, be sad, be funny—be yourself! God knows everything you're going to say already, so He won't be shocked or offended by your prayers (Philippians 4:6; Romans 8:26; Matthew 6:7). He's interested in your life and wants a closer relationship with you too.

"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." —Romans 10:17

Be sure to stop and listen as well. God may not speak audibly (though sometimes it may feel like He does!), but He whispers to your heart (Matthew 7:7). If you don't take a moment to be still and listen to His direction, you may miss it. Reading the Bible (particularly the Psalms) is a great starting point for meditating on God as you allow Him to speak to your heart. Read a portion of His Word, then ask Him to reveal His heart to you. For example, take a moment to read Psalm 46, then sit quietly with God, listening for what He has to say to you today. (ALSO SEE: What's the right way to pray?)

3. Be willing to change for the better.

Having a stronger faith means having a willingness to set aside (and eventually leave behind) what's holding you back from Christlikeness. Sometimes following God doesn't make sense to the world, but we can trust that His will is the right way. Romans 12:2 tells us, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

It’s not always going to be easy to leave those things behind, but that's a part of the strengthening and growing process for your faith. Making hard choices, getting uncomfortable in following God, taking the chances He asks us to make are all ways to develop new, better habits, godly attitudes, and compassionate perspectives. All this difficulty is totally worth it; we will be more like Jesus as we die to our old selves and old ways (John 3:3-7; Matthew 16:24-25).

How can I tell if my faith is increasing?

As your faith grows, the evidence of the Holy Spirit living within you will become clearer (John 14:17). The Bible calls this the "fruit of the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that these "spiritual fruits" are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When you begin seeing these traits in your life and feel them in your heart, then you'll know your faith is growing. (ALSO SEE: What does it mean if I don't see fruit in my life?)

"Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done." —Colossians 2:7

Sometimes growing your faith can be a scary endeavor. We often end up doing things that don't come naturally, stretch our patience, shake up relationships, or add extra time and effort (1 Peter 1:6-9). You can always count on sinful temptations to block you, but you can also always count on God to provide a way to escape those temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13). Look for those escape routes and TAKE THEM. God's got your back every step of the way. And we'll be here for you too as you learn to live your life for Him!

TL;DR

If you deeply desire a stronger faith in God, then you've taken the first step (Hebrews 11:6). God is dependable and will always be there for you, so He's a friend worth keeping. Just like getting to know a new friend, spending time with God will help develop your relationship with Him. Read His Word, the Bible, and talk to Him regularly. Be willing to change for the better when the tough choices come along (Romans 12:2). When you see the fruit of the Spirit in your life, you'll know your faith is increasing (Galatians 5:22-23).

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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