A christian once told me if my faith does not increase, it will decrease. Although I hate to admit it, they were right and it has happened to me: my faith decreases, then increases, then decreases again, I take one step forward and two steps backward, and I even start to justify why I do things I know I should not.
Nevertheless, other christians have shown me what I can do to increase my faith, to take two steps forward instead of backward, and not to justify things I know I should not. The funny thing is, these christians did not tell me anything, but they unknowingly showed me by the things they do every day. They have unknowingly helped my faith to increase just by their example. Therefore, I have learned the more time I spend with other christians, with the church, my faith will continue to increase and I am continually reminded that “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, NASB).
Following are a few things I have been shown by other christians that have helped my faith to increase and have encouraged me to be a better christian.
- Giving another christian a hug.
DISCLAIMER: Giving another christian a hug has to be approached with caution because not every christian is comfortable with giving and/or receiving a hug and giving and/or receiving a hug from a christian of the opposite sex should be approached differently than a christian of the same sex.
“While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. Someone said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You’, but Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ and stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister and mother’” (Matthew 12:46-50).
A christian I know said, “I give handshakes to people I work with, but I give my family hugs” as he gave another christian a handshake and pulled him to give him a hug also. He consistently gives everyone he can a hug and because he has given the effort to show other christians he considers them family, people now come to him and ask him for a hug. This christian’s example of giving hugs has made me realize that, if I can show my physical family love by giving them a hug, I can show my spiritual family love by giving them a hug all the more. In addition, giving other christians a hug encourages me, encourages them, and shows others who are not christians what they are missing out on and what being a christian is all about…love for one another.
- Sing psalms, hymns, spiritual songs.
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).
A christian who I have spent a lot of time with always sings spiritual songs. She sings while she is at home, while she is driving in her car, and while she is out and about. Not only does she sing, but, her child sings along with her. This christian’s example of singing has shown me how important it is to focus on spiritual things all throughout the day since there are so many distractions that can take that focus away and how I can be an example to the child God has blessed my husband and me with.
- Pray fervently
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
If there is one thing I want to work on, it is prayer. Thankfully, I have been encouraged by a couple of christians that I know to pray more. While I spent some time with a christian on a trip to the East Coast, I witnessed her kneel down by her bed when she got out of bed in the morning and before she got into bed at night. Her example made my excuses of not being a morning person or being too tired to pray, void. Another christian has shown me how important it is to pray for those who ask and not just say “I will” with good intentions. She would pray with those who asked for prayers or she would stop what she was doing to say a prayer for them. The example of praying fervently that these christians have given me encourages me to make my requests known to God even though he already knows and actually and sincerely pray for those who ask.
I am thankful for the christians who have shown me how I can increase my faith. I still have a lot of work to do. Nevertheless, I give God the glory and thank Him for christian examples he has given me to learn from, to increase my faith, and know how important christians are to one another.
By Kerstin Allison
Kerstin and her husband Britton assemble with the North MacArthur church of Christ congregation in Oklahoma City. They are both graduates from the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver and hope to do foreign mission work in South America. Currently they are working to help build up and encourage a smaller inner city congregation while they both work full time. They are expecting their first child early this summer.