Growing our faith in God
For the Christian, growing our faith in God is the work of a lifetime.
It is wading into a lake with no shoreline, luxuriating and inquiring, knowing we can never plumb the depths. There is no uniform or ‘right’ way to approach this growing, yet, for those starting out on this adventure it might be helpful to elaborate some ways in which this growth may manifest. The suggestion here is that growing in faith affects the following four things: trust, obedience, outlook, and joy.
One of the most common refrains in Scripture is “fear not”. God is the one who created the cosmos in love, and elected to be for us and for our freedom. However, due to the estrangement caused by sin, we struggle to trust God and so seek to ground our lives on other foundations. Growing in faith means growing in trust that God is indeed for us, present with us, and victorious over all that assails us.
This trust emboldens us to change. Growing in faith means growing in obedience to the call of God on our lives. We are a commissioned people, called to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8), to be ambassadors of reconciliation, and to become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:20-21).
To live this kind of life, our outlooks must be transformed so that we encounter the world as Christ did. To grow in faith means to grow in love for humanity and creation – it is to see that Christ has overcome the dividing walls of hostility human societies erect (Eph 2:14). That all our hierarchies are obliterated before the judgment seat of God – leaving only images of God (Gen 1:26).
Finally, having been rightly oriented in the world, we begin to experience ever-new depths of enjoyment of God, and of the good gifts of God. The warmth of the morning sun, the beat of our favourite song, the colour of native flowers in bloom, the sound of a friend’s laughter – when we recognise these wonders as echoes of God’s declaration of “very good” at the beginning of creation, echoes reverberating across time and space before finding their end in God, we have grown in our faith in God.
Growing in faith is a lived reality, marked by trust, obedience, transformation, and enjoyment of God, the beginning and end of all things, who holds us – all of us – in the depths of an eternal and dependable love.
Helpful books about Growing our Faith in God:
Knowing Christ Crucified, M. Shawn Copeland
Being Disciples, Rowan Williams
When in Romans, Beverly Roberts Gaventa
A Very Good Gospel, Lisa Sharon Harper
Fire By Night, Michelle Florer-Bixler
Rainbow Spirit Theology, The Rainbow Spirit Elders
Christian Faith, B.A. Gerrish
Hospitality and the Other, Amos Yong
– List compiled by Growing in Faith Circle Panel Member Liam Miller.
Listen to Liam’s Podcast LOVE, RINSE, REPEAT for some excellent interviews with authors on Growing Faith, Discipleship and more.
If you are passionate about learning more and contributing to what it means for us to grow in faith as Disciples of Christ, you might be interested in joining the Growing in Faith Circle.