I wanted to ask about how to grow in faith. It seems, as of late, that I am lacking in faith and I am having less regard to what I say and think.
How did you deal with lapses in faith and how was it when you first started out as a Christian?
UK Apologetics Reply:
Firstly, you have already told me a few things about yourself (in previous emails) and I do know you are quite young and have not been a Christian believer for long, so you need to be patient with your own progress.
Faith is built up by prayer and Bible study. The closer you tend to stay to God the closer He tends to stay to you. Look at this:
9. If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11. As Scripture says, "Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame." 12. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13. for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 14. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15. And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" 16. But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" 17. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Romans 10:9-17).
For all those who are being called, reading the Scriptures will tend to build up faith, as will boldly and openly professing Christ before others: 'For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.' (verse 10). Notice the final verse of those verses especially.
Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Verse 17).
Spend some time reading about Jesus in the Gospels, then read the teaching of Paul the Apostle in the New Testament epistles. Notice what the writer of Hebrews points out:
For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. (Hebrews 4:2; NKJV).
A Sign Of True Calling
So, for some, the hearing and reading of Scripture does not build up faith. This, in my opinion, is one of the surest signs of Christian calling. A Christian will find their heart warmed and their faith strengthened by the hearing and reading of Scripture, but for others, Scripture just provokes endless questions of an argumentative nature. I don't mean sensible and reasonable questions which, of course, are always good. I refer to those few whose questions always tend to have a negative slant, they are never satisfied, sometimes they even come to think that they have some special knowledge or their own special understanding of certain Scriptures, but faith and true understanding doesn't seem to grow in them.
So, in general terms, the closer you stay to God the closer He will stay to you.
To go deeper on faith, and to learn how so many abuse the correct biblical teaching, it might be helpful to read All About Faith; What Is Faith? What ISN'T Faith?
Robin A. Brace. December 1st, 2016.