Christian Biblical Counsel: FAITH, LACK OF

Background

 

Inquirers often express the need for more faith. We could define faith as atotal commitment to everything God is, does, and says. It is staking our lifeon the reality of His trustworthiness. But unless faith becomes operative inour own life, it is only a word. The most well-known definition of faith inScripture is a functional one; it does not tell us what faith actually is, butwhat it will do for us:

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV).

The Gospel is a way of faith. The Christian life is a walk of faith. Faith pleases God and He rewards it: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6, NIV).

 

Helping Strategy

 

For the Non-Christian:

If your inquirer speaks of faith in such a way as to reveal that he or she lacks understanding of saving faith, share the gospel – Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD. Emphasize that only by faith can we know God. Entering into a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ means a commitment by faith to His person and work as expressed in His death on the cross and His resurrection: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). Share about Assurance of Salvation –Christian Biblical Counsel: ASSURANCE OF SALVATION and Christian Biblical Counsel: FINDING ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

.

 

For the Christian:

If your inquirer is a Christian who expresses concern about his or her lack of faith, or who desires to have more faith:

1. Ask:

• Why do you want more faith?

• What do you want faith to do for you?

The problem may be a lack of certainty in his or her relationship with Christ. If this surfaces, share about Assurance – Christian Biblical Counsel: FINDING ASSURANCE OF SALVATION, and read and discuss Ephesians 2:8–9.

2. If he or she seems to have a good understanding of salvation by faith in Christ, then share ideas on increasing faith:

A. A life of faith doesn’t develop instantaneously through some mysterious process. Spiritual discipline leads to deeper faith.

B. Confess your lack of faith to God as sin: “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews

3:12).

C. Highlight the Bible as the source book on faith. There are approximately 500 references to “faith,” “belief,” etc., in the New Testament alone. Read it and study it! Write down every reference to faith, then study each one in its context to determine what God is saying about faith and how you can apply it to your life.

D. Explain the need to exercise faith through a life of prayer. There are references relating faith to prayer, for example Matthew 17:20 and James 5:15. Faith will grow as you experience victories in prayer.

E. Use what you learn about faith, putting it to the test in your life. For example, in Proverbs 3:5–6 God promises His guidance if we meet certain conditions. If you desire the leading of the Lord for some decision you need to make or action you need to take, determine from this passage what God’s conditions are, and meet those conditions, in order to experience the promised guidance.

F. Begin challenging your faith by daring to believe God more and more and by acting on that belief. True faith is dynamic; it results in action! The great heroes of faith (Hebrews 11) were on the move for God! Get involved in Christian service: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

 

Scripture

“I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

“So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God’” (Mark 11:22).

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6–9).

The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996

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