Faith is the foundation of Christianity, but how do you develop maintain and strengthen it? What exemplifies a normal Christian life? Faith is very much like a muscle, it gains strength through being repeatedly exercised.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
The above question is not an easy one to answer. In fact, there are several answers.
One way Christian faith grows is by continually reading God’s word in the Bible. The more you learn, the more your faith can be reinforced.
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Another way is through prayer. Not only praying for the things you want or need for yourself, but through prayer for others, for their needs and well-being, as well as for love and peace, and that God’s will for the Earth be done.
Through all of the above, in reading and studying God’s word, as well as through prayer, by continual repetition, one’s faith is strengthened. But there are further ways to build faith, which will be discussed below.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
The late Reverend Billy Graham, speaking on faith, says: “New believers in Jesus Christ may receive false impressions of the normal Christian life.” Graham warns that some preachers “glamorize the Christian experience by making it sound is carefree and positive” as possible. This causes some believers “to begin their Christian walk on an emotional high,” Graham says, and “experience the world in a rosy glow.”
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
–2 Timothy 4:7
Secondly, faith is about building up resilience in order to remain steadfast when faced with challenges.
Reverend Graham warns that there is a danger at looking at the world through rose colored glasses because “being a Christian does not exempt us from tough training, which may mean suffering.” He warns we need to “be prepared for the tough days ahead.”
Graham reminds us that all humans share in suffering, whether they are Christian or unbeliever, and that Christ himself lived as a human being while he was on the Earth and experienced suffering.
On the subject of faith, Jesus said:
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
– Mark 11:24
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,”
One of the most important books outlining the foundational principles of the faithful living is “The Normal Christian Life” by Watchman Nee, which as of 2009 had already sold over a million copies. The author was a Chinese Christian martyr who spent the last twenty years of his life in prison. His suffering exemplified commitment to Christian faith. His words on living the Christian life and developing faith are just as potent today, timeless.
During the thirty years of his ministry, Nee wrote many important books about the Bible and Christian life. Room does not permit a lengthy discussion here, but Watchman Nee is an important Christian figure whose books and teaching are well worth further research.
“But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
Another way faith grows is by a thorough investigation of the Bible and by researching his prophecies. In fact, prophecies are a way in which God shows us the truth of the Bible and the supernatural power of His word. Prophecies that occurred hundreds or even thousands of years before can be compared to historical accounts outside of the Bible. One example is the biblical prophecies of the prophet Daniel regarding Alexander the great, which occurred centuries in advance. Daniel accurately predicted how the relatives of Alexander the Great would not inherit his rule, but be murdered and how four generals would take over control of the the Greek-Macedonian empire and turn it into four kingdoms. History shows this is true.
The prophet Isaiah also accurately predicted that Persian leader Cyrus the Great would destroy Babylon and subdue Egypt, as well as allow the Jewish exiles to go free. All of this was prophesied by Isaiah some 150 years before Cyrus was born. The prophecy came true roughly 201 years later.