I'm really terrible at faith. I understand that it's a choice to have or not have faith, I'd really like to choose the former, but my very much neurotic nature often gets the best of me, and often holds me back I think... So my question is "How do I get more faith?"
closed as off-topic by David Stratton, 3961, James T, Dan, Narnian Dec 11 '13 at 21:15
This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:
- "Questions seeking pastoral advice are off-topic here; your spiritual problems are too important to be left in the hands of random Internet people. See: Pastoral Advice Questions" – David Stratton, 3961, James T, Dan, Narnian
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. NKJV
Faith comes by reading and hearing the Word of God.
I personally try to speak out loud the Word of God as often as i can so that i can hear it. I have also heard from others (but have not tried it yet myself) that they enjoy listening to the audio versions of the Bible.
The answer to this can be found in a solid understanding of what faith is.
In three different places in his epistles, in different contexts, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2: 4, that "the just shall live by faith." (See Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38.) So faith, to a just (righteous) person, is not simply mental "belief," but something you live by. This is consistent with James's teaching that faith unaccompanied by genuine good works "is dead, being alone."
So we see that faith is a principle of action, that impels a person to do good. As a principle of action, a good way to develop stronger faith is to act upon it. If you have a choice to make, and you're uncertain about it, but the Gospel teaches that a certain decision would be the right one to make, act on it. Choose the decision that your faith guides you towards. Then try to observe the results of your actions, and you will find your faith confirmed in some way.
This will help your faith to grow, as you now have experience to base future decisions on, instead of simply "blind faith." It doesn't come all at once. It's a learning process, and you learn a little at a time, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little, until eventually your faith has grown and been confirmed and strengthened so much that you reach the answer to your other question, where you arrive at a point where you can honestly say, "I do not fear death, because I know what awaits me. Even though I haven't seen it, I have been told, and God has never steered me wrong in the past, so I have no reason to doubt."
According to Vine's, faith is having a firm persuasion that something is so. It is being utterly convinced something is true. We will increase faith in things and people by searching out evidences of what to believe. I gain a greater faith in my wife, for instance, by being with her, learning of her character, seeing her hard work, finding she keeps her word, etc. My faith in her grows the more I know her.
So it is with faith in God or in other things or situations. If you want faith regarding the fear of death, then learn more about God and heaven. Read up and find reasons that convince you that your fear of death is groundless. Read the scriptures and believe what God says; become convinced in your daily walk with God that his word is trustworthy and dependable. Listen and read of other Christians' experiences to gain further insight into how God works. Become more convinced in spiritual matters in the same way you become more convinced in secular matters. Growth in faith is not really a mystery when looked at this way.
Contrary to popular opinion, faith does not mean believing in spite of facts or reason; the Bible doesn't add a method to the definition of faith. The Bible presents plenty of reasons to help us believe.
Don't ask yourself how you can get more faith, and remember that God can do amazing things even with a barely visible faith, you know, like the size of a mustard seed or smaller...
I'm going to try a more scientific / psychological response to this question... let's see how this goes:
Firstly, one dictionary definition of faith (from dictionary.com) is "belief that is not based on proof."
It is therefore logical that if you have proof of something, you cannot have faith, therefore the goal of faith is never to try and prove something, but merely to believe whether there is proof or not.
The first thing I would do is ask myself the question, "Why do I want to have more faith?" If you don't believe in Jesus, why would you want to believe in Jesus? If you believe in heaven and hell, then you probably already believe in Jesus, and you do have faith. If you doubt Jesus, then it's probably better to try and understand why you doubt him, rather than to simply try and have faith.
You said "It's a choice to have or not have faith". I don't think that's entirely correct. One can have faith that the sky is blue, but it's not a choice... your brain simply tells you that the sky is blue. One can, however, trick one's mind into believing things whether they're true or not, and many people do it without even knowing that's what they're doing.
If you still want to have faith, then the way to do it is by ignoring any evidence that suggests that the subject of your faith is false, and read all evidence that suggests that the subject of your faith is true. Cognitive dissonance (look it up if you don't understand) will eventually kick in and will prevent you from believing anything contrary to the subject of your faith.
Do not ever test the subject of your faith... either it could prove that it's false, in which case you will lose your faith, or it may prove that it's true, which will (based on the dictionary definition of faith) also kill your faith.
One of the most beautiful definitions of faith i heard is from Andrew Wommack. He defines faith as "The positive response to grace(unmerited favor)"
1) We are all given a measure of faith, are we not?
2) The disciples believed (because they had seen some miracles), but they asked the Lord to help their unbelief (prior to the resurrection).
3) We need to GROW in our faith; does that mean we should "get more faith"? I don't think so. I think it means we need to exercise what we have received.
Pray for more faith, and be ready to accept it when it comes to you. It's not necessarily something you can work at like weightlifting. It's a gift from God.
There is a wonderful treatment of faith, obtaining greater faith, and knowledge found in this passage of scripture. I have found it to be a "go to" reference when learning about faith.
First, a definition and a reminder:
(Alma 32:21-22, 26-43 from The Book of Mormon)
21 And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.
22 And now, behold, I say unto you, and I would that ye should remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word.
And then, a little later, Proposing An Experiment
26 Now, as I said concerning faith—that it was not a perfect knowledge—even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
and an promise of results, using An Allegory
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
34 And now, behold, is your knowledge perfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your faith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand.
35 O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good; and now behold, after ye have tasted this light is your knowledge perfect?
36 Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.
37 And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.
38 But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.
40 And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.
41 But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
42 And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.
43 Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.
Alma encourages us to act on our desire to believe. That is, to come to Christ, to believe Him, to nurture our tiny faith through prayer, scripture, service, repentance. And as we do, we will find that our faith enlarges our soul and, in turn, our faith will continue to grow.
Verse 22 is also a wonderful reminder that God is merciful and desires that we believe. Consequently, He will bless our desire to believe, and our willingness to act on that desire, with greater faith.
I thought this was not the place to seek spiritual guidance...
Are you sure that "getting more faith" in spite of your instincts and talents is a worthy goal? Perhaps you can apply your qualities such as they are to the betterment of the world, in Christian ways.