Often people come to the pastor privately and confess their worries about a weak or non-existent faith. “I don’t even know if I believe anymore. How can I strengthen my faith?” Well, the good news is if you didn’t have any faith in Christ, you wouldn’t even be aware or concerned about your faith. However, it is a fact that the un-holy triad of devil, world and sinful flesh does do its daily work of ripping us away from the specific places where God Himself gives His eternal promise to feed and nourish our faith in Christ.
You see, when it comes to a strong faith, even that is a gracious gift given to undeserving, helpless people. We don’t — properly speaking — grow any part of our Christian faith. God plants and waters and feeds and nourishes us, just like an infant child is totally dependent upon the good graces of his or her parents.
So — how does God in Christ through the Holy Spirit promise to strengthen our weak faith?
The Scriptures reveal that the Holy Spirit uses specific means or channels to create and sustain and grow true faith in Christ and His Gospel — and it doesn’t include religious images that appear on bagels or rock formations or tarot cards. “Where can I be absolutely, positively, 100% sure God is present to do His saving work in our minds and hearts and souls?” It all begins with God’s holy Word in Christ. (See John 6:63; Romans 1:16) Where Christ and his Word are present, God Himself is present to show grace and mercy and forgiveness. Where Christ’s Word is absent, we have no enduring hope or promise that anything good is strengthened. As Saint Paul writes:
“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
Looking to have your faith strengthened? Look to: (a) the Holy Scriptures (the Word of God in, with, and under the prophets and apostles); (b) Holy Baptism (the Word of God in, with and under water); and (c) Holy Communion / The Lord’s Supper (the Word of God in, with and under bread and wine).
When it comes to your faith, it ultimately all rests on the Word of God. Receive God’s strengthening grace through His divinely appointed means. Look to the channels God has ordained to come and save and bless: Christ (the Word made human flesh) and His Word through the Holy Bible, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion.
DAILY LOOK TO THE ETERNAL PROMISES GOD MADE AT YOUR BAPTISM. (Titus 3:5; Matthew 28:19-20)
REGULARLY ATTEND WORSHIP SERVICES WHERE CHRIST AND HIS WORD ARE THE BEGINNING, MIDDLE AND THE END OF WHAT IS BELIEVED, TAUGHT AND CONFESSED. (John 20:21)
RECEIVE THE LORD’S SUPPER OFTEN IN A CONGREGATION THAT DISCERNS THAT THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST IS THERE TO FORGIVE AND STRENGTHEN. (1Corinthians 10:16; Luke 22:14-20)
DAILY RECEIVE CHRIST’S BLESSINGS THROUGH HEARING AND TAKING TO HEART THE WORDS OF SCRIPTURES. (1Timothy 3:14-17)