If you want a faith that’s strong and growing, you need to exercise it. While training your faith may not seem as obvious as sit-ups and push-ups, there are daily practices that will increase your faith and deepen your dependence on God. A healthy, vibrant faith gets Kingdom things done—the “even greater than these” kind of things Jesus talks about in John 14:12. Such faith will also help you stand firm in the roughest, toughest, “only God can see this through” times. Best of all, an energized, renewed, and well-conditioned faith will deepen your relationship with God, bring great purpose and joy to your life, and advance God’s Kingdom.
So, lace up those faith shoes, put on some spiritual workout clothes that allow you to stretch, and get ready to exercise your faith. Here are 5 daily practices to energize and grow your faith:
- Practice Living in God’s Presence.
“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness.” –Psalm 89:15-16
Practice recognizing how near, involved, and at work God is in your daily life, events, and schedules. Too many Christians get it backwards. They invite God into their world, their activities, their relationships. They treat God as if He’s on standby. He becomes the great “fixer” when they can’t seem to manage any longer. In baseball terms, they become the starting pitcher and call God in from the bullpen for relief.
Faith requires a different perspective. Practice recognizing that every day is God’s Day. It is God who has invited you into His world, His schedule, His purposes. As you wake each morning, imagine God already up with the coffee on and waiting for you to start your day with Him. Learn the rhythm of noticing how present God is in each conversation, activity, celebration, and difficulty of the day. Praise and thank God throughout your day as you become aware of His presence.
- Practice Listening to God’s Direction.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” –John 10:27
The more time we spend with someone, the quicker we recognize the distinctness of their voice. Perhaps you’ve experienced this as a parent or a child if you ever got separated in a crowd. Despite the noise and inability to see one another, tones and pitches most likely drew you together as you recognized the familiarity of each other’s voice.
The same is true in our relationship with God. As we practice listening to the “tone and pitch” of His voice, we more readily recognize Him above the noise of life and other competing voices vying for our attention. Knowing God’s voice comes by spending time with Him. Walk and talk with God throughout your day. Your conversations might be silent or out loud. The more conversations you have, the more His voice will be distinct and clear, and you will grow confidence in knowing God’s voice when He speaks.
- Practice Saying Quick Yesses to God.
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” –2 John 1:6
To love God is to do what He says. And why wouldn’t we? God loves us, is for us, is with us, and has ours and others’ best interest in mind. So, practice saying “yes” to whatever God asks you to do throughout the day. God’s direction may be as simple as “Pray for that person, they’re dealing with something.” Or, His instructions may require a little more trust and sacrifice, like “Turn the car around, talk to that stranger, and be prepared to pull out your wallet” (see the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) for an example of that kind of loving “yes” to God).
As you practice being aware of God’s voice and presence, your “yesses” will increase in confidence and speed. You won’t have to wonder who’s giving the instructions, nor will you feel all alone in doing what God asks. Continue to ask the Holy Spirit to help you hear clearly, respond quickly, and to trust God in every “yes.”
- Practice Doing What Love Does.
“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” –I John 3:23
Sometimes, as we’re learning to hear God’s voice and carry out His in-ear instructions, we ponder such things as, “Is this God telling me these things or am I only hearing my own thoughts?” or “What if I’m not positive these are God’s instructions, will I cause harm or mess things up?” Here are two truths to put you at ease:
First, God will never ask you to do something contrary to His ways or character. If your task looks consistent with Scripture and your motivation is love, trust God is in it. If it doesn’t align with Scripture and your motivation isn’t love, be assured it’s not coming from God.
Second, if the task at hand looks like love, you won’t go wrong! Since God is the author and finisher of both faith and love (Hebrews 12:2, I John 4:7), trust that if it’s a loving thing you’re hearing, it’s a good and loving thing worth doing.
So, practice doing what love does. Ask God often throughout the day, “What is the loving thing to do here?” Then, do it! As you do, God will increase your ability to recognize His presence, hear His voice, and quickly respond to His instructions.
- Practice Adventuring with God.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
Practice asking early in the day, “God, what adventures will we take together today?” Trust that God has plans and purposes for you in loving others, sharing good news, and advancing His Kingdom… with Him! Begin to visualize God with you in all the places you’ll be: your ride to work or school, mealtimes, play times, meetings, relaxing with friends, going to the grocery story, phone conversations, etc. Ask God to remind you of His presence and power to do “infinitely more than you might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20) as each of these occasions rolls around.
Your faith will grow in leaps and bounds as you discover what Joshua did, that you can be strong and courageous instead of afraid or discouraged when God is with you wherever you go! Imagine how many adventures—big and small—you can take with God as you daily realize that truth!
Make faith fun! As you practice these 5 daily faith exercises, see them as something you get to do with God, not something you have to do. Daily up-close to God, your faith will be energized, lives will be impacted, and God will be glorified. Now that’s a workout well worth the effort!