When it comes to gauging a person’s faith in God, one must ask themselves, “how well do they know about god?”
Many believers claim that they do know God, but did this knowledge come from their own imagination of who and what God really is?
Did it come from the Bible or any other sources?
Maybe the knowledge a believer claims to have came from their own human calculations based on what they have read and heard.
Where does our faith stand on?
Despite the answer to that question and wherever they’re at in terms of their faith, can they hold onto that faith until the very end of their life spans?
It’s important to address this because many believers, especially younger ones, when something goes wrong with their lives, they tend to lose that faith and even sometimes decide to not believe in God anymore.
When do people lose faith?
For example; when something as huge and tragic like a loss of a loved one happens. After sincerely praying to God with the hope that He will answer such prayer and keep the dying loved one alive, only for him/her not to make it in the end, leaving the believer to be disappointed and lose faith.
Another big cause in losing their faith is through education.
Many may find that whatever they believe in is full of holes, which gives the impression that scientific knowledge and their beliefs may conflict with one another.
Another huge cause is developing the mindset that values individualism rather than submitting to authority. As our American society progresses into something that heavily promotes self-determination, individuals tend to stray away from faith in an authority figure in favor of having complete control over their own lives and idealism.
There’s the corruption and toxicity that happens within religious communities. For example; the Westboro Baptist Church which turned away many from Christianity due to their extreme hatred towards LGBT+ people, military service members, and other religious groups.
Another huge example would be the many church pastors that were convicted with pedophilia and rape. There are even countless other factors that may lead others to lose their faith or stray away from it.
How to Increase Faith
Regardless of whatever reason that causes you to lose your faith in God, there are still ways that can help you rebuild it. A great way to increase your faith is by getting to know the true God.
You can think of it like getting to know a friend. How do you increase your trust in one of your friends? You have to know that friend very well. You need to know that this friend is someone that you can depend on.
Not only that, you have to be someone the very same friend can depend on as well. If this friend promises you something, you have to understand the conditions and the results of either keeping or breaking this promise.
Let’s say a friend promised to buy you a movie ticket to see Frozen 2 if you help him/her decorate a birthday card for another friend. You can either choose to help with decorating the birthday card or not.
If you don’t, but your friend refuses to buy you the ticket even after constantly bringing up that promise to buy it, can you really blame your friend for it? Of course not, because you have to hold your end of the promise too.
Building Trust in God
Let’s say you do help your friend and he/she rewards you with the ticket just as promised, not only are you able to watch Frozen 2 in theaters, but you have further grown your mutual trust between you and your friend.
Just like how you build your trust with a friend by getting to know their character, their secrets, and understanding and fulfilling promises being made, you build your faith in God by truly getting to know God’s character, His secrets, and understanding and fulfilling his promises.
How to Know Him More
The earliest step in doing so is to have the desire to truly know and understand God, and to humble yourself despite how much you think you know.
In Jeremiah 29:13 (RSV), it says “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart”.
The reason why it’s important to address this is because even throughout biblical history, there were people who think they know God for whatever reason it is such as just because they memorized scripture and practiced tradition, but have proven that they don’t really know anything.
In the Old Testament, there are prophecies regarding a messiah to come. At the time of the first coming, the Jews who were supposedly God’s chosen people thought they knew God and his scripture well since they have studied it so diligently.
However, they weren’t able to recognize Jesus as that messiah that was prophesied and they even persecuted him.
In John 5:38 (RSV), Jesus said, “and you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent”. Because the Jews were full of the knowledge of God that they think they have, there wasn’t really much room in them for more.
Having a Humble Heart
An example from the Bible of someone who desires to truly know and understand God and his scripture would be the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8.
In this story, as the eunuch reads a passage in Isaiah, he acknowledges that he does not understand what he is reading. Philip, a believer who was taught about the gospel, was commanded by an angel to go to the chariot where the eunuch is.
He saw that the eunuch humbly desires to understand what he is reading, so he explained the passage clearly to him.
This goes to show that if we really seek knowledge and understanding of God, we will find it, and such true knowledge and understanding shall be the foundation of the growth in our faith.