One of the things God’s been teaching me a lot about recently is faith. (When I say God’s been teaching me, I mainly mean through Scriptures and trials.) At first it seemed a little silly to me that, after almost 40 years as a Christian, I would have to be learning about faith. After all, that’s the most basic thing about being a Christian! It was a little humbling to think that that was what I needed to learn about.

growing our faith - guest post Kevin Megill

Growing in faith: a continual process.

But that’s one of the things I’ve been learning about it – that we need to grow in faith throughout our Christian lives. It’s a process that begins at salvation and lasts until we see the Lord face to face.

One of the Scriptures that came alive for me a couple of years ago was this one in 1 Peter 1.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-8, NASB).

Our faith is precious to God

The first thing I noticed in these verses was that my faith is precious to God. God is pleased by my faith. I am supposed to imagine him smiling whenever I decide to trust him more.

Of course, God himself is the author and perfecter of our faith. He is the one who gave me faith in the first place, and he is the one who grows it throughout my life. So when I say that my faith pleases him, I mean that he is pleased by his own work in me! That’s as it should be.

One of the ways he grows faith is by testing it through trials. Gold is valuable, but especially so when it is purified (tested by fire). In the same way – but to an even greater degree – my faith grows in value to God when it has been tested and purified by the trials I endure.

James 1:2-4 has been an important passage for me for years. It says that trials cause us to grow in character. Based on that, I’ve tended to see the point of trials as being my increased obedience. But this passage in 1 Peter reminded me that my trust itself is valuable to God too. Just simply responding in joy or thankfulness when I face trials pleases and glorifies God, even before that faith has had the chance to transform my actions. When my focus is on responding to God with an attitude of trust, rather than just being more obedient, it reminds me how much God loves me and wants a genuine relationship with me.

How many faiths?

When I first started thinking about faith in this verse, I think I had in the back of my mind that there were two different kinds of faith for a Christian: saving faith, and living-as-a-Christian faith.

Faith1: Believing the gospel and getting saved

Faith2: Trusting God courageously as a Christian

I was a little confused about how they were connected to each other.

This verse also talks about persevering-until-the-end faith: “obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls”. It reminded me of Matthew 24:13, “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” So maybe there are three faiths:

Faith1: Believing the gospel and getting saved

Faith2: Trusting God courageously as a Christian

Faith3: Persevering until the end

As I thought more about it, though, I realized that that’s the wrong way to picture it. Our faith, like salvation, is a process. Salvation begins when we are justified (when we “get saved”) and we have eternal life and forgiveness the moment that happens, but salvation doesn’t end there! Our salvation isn’t complete until Christ returns. In the same way, our faith only begins when we get saved. It isn’t complete yet. God grows it slowly over the course of our lives, until when he returns it is a trophy of his transforming grace.

It’s all one faith. It started when I first trusted Christ, and continues to mature and deepen until my life on earth is finished.

faith

FAITH

FAITH

(One faith growing over time.)

This makes a difference to me, when I find myself facing challenges to my faith. What do I do when God is calling me to act boldly and I’m afraid? Or if I am discouraged and condemned, and it’s hard to rejoice in God? Or when I’ve been waiting for years for a prayer to be answered, and I am getting tired of it? What I don’t do is to try to manufacture a completely new faith. Instead, I look within myself for the faith that is already there. I remember how God drew me to the gospel in the first place, and what I saw then for the first time. I tune into the Holy Spirit within me, bearing witness with my spirit. I look to see how the faith God gave me then is the same faith I’m being called to now. I realize God delights in seeing that faith grow. I look forward to the glory that will come one day when that faith is mature.

I hope this is an encouragement to some of you. Keep believing! God is worth it, and he is blessed by your daily decisions to trust him.


Kevin Megill is my husband and works at a local college teaching computer programming, math and philosophy. You can find his personal blog here and his philosophy blog here.


All Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.
Unless otherwise indicated, photos from pixaby.com
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