How Does One Get Faith?
"Jesus said to him, 'Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” John 20:29 When I first came to the Lord, I asked something similar to Thomas's request to visually see the nail-prints in Christ's hands. I was aware that I had no faith at that point, so I asked the Lord to do some feat that would make me more able to believe. He answered me, "Believe first, and then you will see." I was a bit indignant at that answer, because I thought it was a legitimate request; after all, I was trying to believe, couldn't he see that! But he answered that prayer. Eventually I came to see that faith does not come by seeing supernatural signs. Satan can perform supernatural signs, and loves to; and by them many, many are deceived. As it turned out in my case, the man who brought me to the Lord counseled me to read the Word of God every single day. So I began. And that's where I found faith. The first thing I noticed was the "types." I had never heard of "types." As I read through the Bible, the Spirit of God showed me what I called "pictures of Jesus" in the stories of the Old Testament – and that absolutely astounded me. I would come to learn that there are many throughout the Bible. "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me." John 5:39 My favorite has always been the picture of father Abraham taking his beloved son Isaac up Mount Moriah to sacrifice him there, recorded in Genesis chapter 22. He placed the wood for the altar on Isaac's back as they went up the mount, such a beautiful picture of Jesus being sent by the Father up Mount Moriah, the cross on his back, to be sacrificed there. When the altar was prepared, God directed Abraham to substitute a ram in place of his son, showing a picture of a substitutionary sacrifice, just as Jesus Christ would later be a substitutionary sacrifice, dying in OUR place on that cross of wood. And there are many, many more such "pictures of Christ" throughout the Scriptures. This is what created faith in me. I realized that there was no way the consistency of so many portrayals of Christ in the Old Testament could possibly be coincidence, and that God had chosen this way to validate his Word. Later on, I began to see that the Bible is also filled with prophecy. There are hundreds of direct prophecies about Jesus throughout the Old Testament, that were fulfilled in his mission on this earth when he came to die in our place. And I later would learn that there are many, many more that speak of his second coming. When you see the exactness of the prophecies of his first coming having been literally fulfilled, it becomes obvious that likewise, the prophecies of his second coming will also be literally fulfilled. Friends, if you're struggling with faith, don't ask for signs. The Scriptures make it clear that seeing something supernatural is not what creates faith in a person, so if that's you, stop seeking faith by this means. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus recorded in Luke 16:19-31, the rich man in hell asked that Lazarus be sent to his five brothers to persuade them not to come to such a horrible place of torment as he was in. Abraham replied that if they do not believe the Bible, not even a supernatural miracle will persuade them. "But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead." Luke 16:31 How DOES faith come then? "So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the WORD of God." Romans 10:17 There are two Greek words for "word." One is logos which is the written word, and the other is rhema, which is the Word spoken. In this Scripture the Lord is saying that faith comes when the Spirit of God speaks a rhema to your heart, not in a supernatural sign, but the spoken word which creates faith in the hearer. You can read the Bible as literature for all of your life and never grow in faith. But if you take the Word of God seeking to learn from him, the Holy Spirit will reveal things to you, he will enlighten you "Line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). I've been reading the Word of God daily for many years, and it never ceases to amaze me how even now I "see" things in the Scriptures that I never noticed before. It's quite amazing. But it must be led by the Spirit of God. Back to the original passage in John above, in a few verses before that, we see Jesus imparting the Spirit of God to the disciples. "So Jesus said to them again, 'Peace to you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you.' And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" John 20:21-22 If you have not experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not yet imparted the Holy Spirit to you, ASK him to make that a reality in your life. Do not be afraid - as Jesus said above, "Peace to you!" When he imparts his Holy Spirit to you, the Word of God will come alive to you. You will have new eyes to see and new ears to hear, indeed, you will be born again into a brand new life. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATION; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 All you need to do is humbly ASK. Then pick up the Manufacturer's Handbook, the Word of God, and read it.