INSIDE: These are 10 practical ways you can grow your faith. These suggestions are easy to implement. So why not try to do one this week!
When I was a child, I remember an old lady in my church who frequently had conversations with my mum after the service. Her hair was black and thick and had large areas of wirey grey swept up as neatly as she could manage into a bun at the top of her head.
I don’t remember her name. And her face is a blurry memory of wrinkly olive-brown skin. But one thing I can never forget is that every single time she spoke to my mother, she ALWAYS mentioned God.
It didn’t matter if the conversation was about the weather, or the Prime Minister or the lunch that was awaiting us somewhere. Somehow, without fail, the conversation went back to God.
That nameless lady has become a mentor to me. Her unyielding devotion to her Lord is something I’ve always admired. And I’ve found myself thinking – ‘I want to be like that old lady and have that kind of tell-it-like-it-is faith’.
I’m not there yet. But, God willing, I’ll get there someday.
If like me, you have a deep desire to grow your faith, you’re in the right place. Here are ten things you can do that will help grow your faith. Many of these are very simple and can be started today!
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1. Read the Bible alongside a commentary
When I studied Theology at Heythrop College, University of London, I fell in love with the campus library. It was THE most amazing library I had ever seen (possibly with the exception of the British Library). It had row upon row of amazing biblical commentaries, theological and philosophical literature and a basement full of ancient, leather-bound, musky smelling treasures. I could spend hours there. (I have a thing for old books.)
And as I devoured the commentaries, I began seeing more and more things in my daily life through the eyes of the bible. Because I was devouring that literature, it caused thought processes to keep whirring through my mind. And a once fleeting verse like “Jesus wept.” (John 11v35) became pregnant with meaning and possibility.
I began to see simple things like a meal, the clothes I put on and the words that came out of my mouth through the eyes of biblical commentary. And it shone a light on my life compared to Jesus’.
One sure-fire way to grow your faith is to continually see your life compared to that of Jesus. It’s through the constant reminder of what he’s done and what he’s called us to that we can rise up to the purpose for which we’ve been called.
Here are some good commentaries to get you started:
- Believer’s Bible Commentary
- Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
- David Pawson Commentaries (my husband’s favourite speaker)
- Unlocking the Bible by David Pawson (not quite a commentary, but an immensely helpful book for understanding the Bible better!)
- Cambridge Bible Commentaries
- The Oxford Bible Commentary
2. Read a new devotional book
Sometimes, we need inspiration and a call to action from others. That’s what devotional books are to me. They are like the voices of my brothers and sisters in the faith urging me onwards in my marathon towards heaven.
Different devotionals help different people. And I’m glad there are many voices out there to urge us on.
Books that have helped me include:
- A Woman After God’s Own Heart which also comes with a separate study guide.
- Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World which also has a separate study guide.
- The Power of a Praying Woman
To name just a few.
You can also use a devotional plan, like the ones available on this Bible app.
Using an app on your phone also means that you can spend some time in God’s word on your lunch break or when you’re out and about.
What devotional will you next read?
3. Learn a little Hebrew or Greek
Now, before you pass this one off as a task for brainy professor-type people. Realise that fishermen spoke and wrote biblical Greek. The language isn’t difficult. In fact, many of the words we use in English today came from Greek; theology, alpha male, alphabet, phobia, hysteria, graphics and tons more.
Plus, when you get to the root of even a single word in the original biblical language, it opens a floodgate of understanding of the scriptures.
One of the problems with reading the Bible in a translated language (that means English for you and me), is that we are missing out on a HUGE number of references, insinuations and details.
In modern-day Greece, baptisms require full immersion because the original word ‘baptizo’ means plunge or immersion. You couldn’t be sprinkled with water in Greece and be considered baptised.
When you can understand the original language, you are looking more intently at the literal words of God!
For example, the Hebrew word for ‘listen’ is the same word for ‘obey’ and ‘understand’. In English, we’ll use three words to convey these different meanings, but in Hebrew, when you told someone to listen you are really telling them to obey and to understand as well.
Does even that one word make you think differently about what God told Adam in the garden of Eden?: “Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit…” (Genesis 3v17)
Here are a couple books to get you looking behind your English translation at the literal words of God.
4. Pray with another Christian on a regular basis
Arrange to hook up with another Christian, either in person or on the phone and pray together.
The Bible says “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18v20)
Praying with another Christian is helpful for several reasons such as, but not limited to;
- God is present with you when you pray together
- Praying with another person builds your relationship with that person
- Praying for others keeps you outwardly focused
- Confessing your sins to another Christian helps to keep you humble
- Giving thanks in prayer helps to keep you grateful
Can you think of one person you can pray with on a regular basis, whether that’s once a week, every fortnight or even once a month?
5. Attend all your church’s meetings
Immersing yourself in Christian fellowship, discussion and teaching has a knock-on effect. Just like in my point earlier about commentaries, when you proactively immerse your mind in biblical thinking, it’ll be hard not to grow your faith.
The key here is being transparent.
Of course, it’s possible to attend a church meeting seven days a week and remain placid to the plight of the poor. Or unmoved at the horror of your own sin. This happens in every church all over the world.
But if you are transparent with yourself and others, and allow the message of God’s word to sink in when being preached or when having a crucial conversation with another Christian, it’s hard not to grow your faith because you’ll be constantly nudged towards action in one area or another. And God’s word, if you let it in, will accomplish what God desires and will not return empty (Isaiah 55v10-11).
Effectively, you’ll be constantly ‘spurred on toward love and good deeds’(Hebrews 10v24).
6. Sign up for an additional biblical class
If your church has extra Bible study classes, sign up. A disciple is a student. And as a disciple of Jesus, we should make an effort to study.
If your church doesn’t have extra classes, see if there’s a short course or part-time Bible course you can enrol in at a Christian college. Carve out some time in your diary to devote to understanding the Bible on a deeper level. Even for a short season.
If you can’t find any classes to enrol in or don’t have the funds for a formal course, do what I did and start a class yourself.
Find a small group of people who might be interested in studying the Bible in more depth and decide what you will work through first. Or ask your church minister for a good book for group study. And then meet at a regular time even if it’s just two of you.
7. Keep a prayer journal
Having a record of what you’ve been praying about and how God has answered those prayers can really inspire your faith.
It’s easy to forget our blessings and many answered prayers. But when we can look back and identify specific prayers that have been answered, it’s truly faith-building.
God is powerful and constantly at work. Your prayer journal can help you see the many ways he’s been working in your life.
8. Memorise scripture
This is a powerful tool. When Jesus was in the desert and faced Satan’s tempting, he responded each time with scripture.
You and I can harness the power of God’s mighty ‘sword’ by memorising verses. Try memorising a verse a week or every fortnight.
Memorise scripture with your family. My family uses this system to memorise verses and we find it quite effective.
9. Colour Bible verses
Whether or not you’re into the whole mindfulness movement or not, colouring Bible verses is a great option to grow your faith for two reasons;
- It causes you to slow down and be still (Psalm 46v10)
- It causes you to meditate on the verse you are colouring (Psalms 1v2 and 77v12)
Why not add a little colouring session to your quiet times? Or keep a colouring book and pens in your car so that you can reflect on God’s word whilst waiting for your kid to finish their ballet/swimming/kung fu class?
My girls like colouring these books which lie flat and have tear out sheets.
Other Bible colouring books you can try are:
- Inspired to Grace Verses for Women
- Inspired to Grace Coffee & Jesus
- Colour the Psalms
- Colour the Words of Jesus
- Trust in The Lord
- Colour the Proverbs
- Colour the Gospel
10. Take “Action Notes” at church
I just made that term up, but what I mean is very simple. When you are taking notes during the sermon, highlight at least one action that you can implement in the week ahead.
I like to write in a notebook (cause I’m a stationery addict), and I carry a little pencil case with me that has highlighters and coloured pens.
At the end of the sermon, just go through your notes and circle or highlight a single action that you can do during the week.
Then reflect on that action in your quiet times during the week. What can you do this week to complete this God-given assignment?
This does two things;
- It causes you to listen with intent during the sermon as you’ll be looking for a point to take away and implement
- It helps you grow your faith during the week as you purposefully try to act on God’s word that was preached to you.
So there you have it, 10 practical ways to grow your faith and help bring your everyday conversation back to God. Which one could you start this week? Let me know in the comments – I respond to each one! Do you have some other practical ways to grow your faith? I’m all ears!