How do we learn to have faith? Is it acquired through osmosis by being part of a Christian family? Is it something that grows over time? How do we grow in faith? More importantly, how do we instill our faith in God, in our children and other family members?
"Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might" (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, NASB).
The verse above is called the Shema. It is a term given to a set of daily prayers recited by members of the Jewish faith. The Shema is recited twice a day, during morning and evening prayers and is the last thing on the lips of the dying. It is considered a commandment or mitzvah, separate from the commandment simply to pray.
As the stepson of a devout Jew, Jesus would have been under Joseph's instruction and that of the local leaders of his synagogue. The Shema would have been one of the first prayers Joseph taught Jesus. As we read further on in the verse, we can see why Jesus knew the Scriptures so well, for it says:
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7, NASB).
How does our faith in God grow? For that matter, how does our love for God grow? How do we know it is real? According to the verses above, we are to spend every day in His Word. We are to teach our children about God through His Word. God's Word should be on our minds when we are sitting in our house, out for a walk, lying down to sleep and the first thing we think about when we wake up. This is how we show God our love for Him and how we grow in our faith.
You cannot know God if you don't spend any time in His Word. For example, when I first met my husband, I didn't know him. I knew he was handsome and soft-spoken, but I didn't know the real him. As I spent more time with him, I discovered he had a wicked sense of humour, loved race cars (in particular Formula 1), and was a genius when it came to computers. He was an introvert who was attracted to an extrovert, but the more I got to know him, the more I loved him.
My relationship with Jim was a long-distance one, and we ran up some costly phone bills talking to each other every day. I couldn't stand being away from him. He was always on my mind. My heart soared when the phone rang, and when I saw him in person, I was over the moon. I loved my husband with all my heart, soul, and mind. This year we will celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary.
How do you love God? Do you long to be in His Word as much as you long to be with the ones you love? If you don't, your faith won't grow, and your love for God won't either. Faith and love are tied up together, and the only way to grow in your faith and love God with all your heart, soul and mind, is to spend time getting to know Him through the Scriptures.
Do you want to grow in your faith? Then get to know God. Spend time in His Word.