If you are like me, you can relate to the cry of the man before Jesus when he said in Mark 9:24, I believe; help my unbelief! That man had come to Jesus asking for help with his demon possessed boy. He had faith, but struggled with not having faith. The question then presents itself as how can the needle on my faith gauge tilt more to the side of believing and away from the side of unbelieving? How can my faith be strengthened?
To answer that question, we can turn to the biblical character who epitomizes faith – Abraham. In Romans 4 Paul presents the great gospel truth that Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). His faith was such that God chalked that up as righteousness in Abraham’s account.
It is right for us to emulate this aspect of Abraham’s life. Paul continued in his discussion by saying that we walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had (Romans 4:12). So if we can discover how Abraham’s faith was strengthened, perhaps we will find our own faith strengthened when we place our feet along the same path that he trod.
Keep in mind that Abraham’s faith was no simple mental exercise. On the one hand, Abraham knew that God had promised him that he would have offspring and be the father of many nations (Romans 4:18). On the other hand, the childless Abraham knew how babies came about. His knowledge of anatomy presented a problem. A baby comes from the union of a man and a woman. Yet, both Abraham and his wife were as good as dead (Romans 4:19) when it came to their physical bodies and their reproductive capabilities.
Despite the impossible odds, Abraham had heard the promise of God…and he believed it. Was Abraham like that father in Mark 9? Did his faith need strengthening? Probably so. His faith did grow in strength. We are told that he grew strong in his faith (Romans 4:20). It grew so strong that he was fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised (Romans 4:21).
But the point of this article is the phrase in between those two quotes in the preceding paragraph. This phrase provides us with the help we need for having our faith strengthened. Notice the emboldened phrase at the end of Romans 4:20, He grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.
Giving glory to God will cause your faith to be strengthened. To give glory to God is a concept that needs further unpacking in another article, but the surface meaning will suffice us for now. For Abraham and all of us who need strengthened faith, it at least means that God is the point of focus.
Abraham could have focused on his own aged body. Or he could have focused on Sarah’s barren body. Instead of looking earthward, he looked heavenward. His gaze was upon the Lord — the very Lord who had made him this astounding promise. The Lord was not only his focal point, but the one to whom he would ascribe glory. The one on whom the light of praise would shine.
As we hope to see our faith strengthened, give glory to God. The more clearly we see God and honor him, the more faith flexes its muscles within us.