When I was in junior high, I had a fervent desire to become a great basketball player and one day possibly be drafted into the NBA. Now that never became a reality (not even close), but my love for the game was sincere.
I had posters of NBA athletes on the walls of my room; I watched the Chicago Bulls religiously on television; and I wore t-shirts with my favorite players imprinted on the front. Although my desire was genuine, I didn’t get very far in my basketball “career,” because I wasn’t faithful to implement the disciplines needed to improve my skills. My ambitions never amounted to much because they didn’t fuel real action.
Most believers have a sincere desire to be strong in their faith. We desire to live a victorious life in our Savior and be confident in our doctrine. We want to be “ready always to give an answer” to gainsayers and earnest inquirers that ask us for a reason regarding our beliefs.
But heartfelt aspirations alone will not lead us to become who we desire to be without implementing spiritual habits and disciplines. Only as we develop and practice spiritual habits will we be strengthened in our faith by God’s grace.
So what are some practical disciplines that we can implement today to strengthen our faith?
Read God’s Word
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:2–3).
According to Psalm 1, we cannot experience a blessed and prosperous life without daily saturating our minds in God’s Word. In 2 Timothy 3:16–17, Paul told Timothy that the Scriptures are able to make one spiritually mature and fully equipped for life and ministry. Without daily reading the Word of God, we will become spiritually anemic and fruitless.
Study God’s Word
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Every Christian must heed the admonition of “rightly dividing the word of truth.” This requires us to study and diligently exegete the truths contained in the Bible. A good practice would be to periodically select a subject (e.g. the deity of Christ, salvation by faith, a current social issue, etc.) to systematically study and develop a biblical understanding of God’s teachings on the matter.
Memorize God’s Word
“Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart” (Proverbs 7:2–3).
Memorize verses that answer the questions you have had in doctrinal questions. As you commit God’s Word to memory, you’ll be better equipped to give a defense for your faith to others who ask you.
Hear God’s Word
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
We must never grow weary of listening to the teaching and preaching of God’s Word. As we receive truth from biblical teachers who “rightly divide the Word of truth,” our theological understanding will be strengthened. Be faithful to every service and Bible study at your church, and make it a regular habit to read God’s Word throughout the week.
Share God’s Word
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
As we teach what we are learning to others, we become stronger in our faith. When we prepare to teach a class, preach a sermon, disciple a new believer, share the gospel, or teach our children, it compels us to do some critical thinking in order to intelligently explain our theology. It is often the questions that we receive in these settings that drive us to further study the Scriptures which in turn will strengthen our faith.