One of the questions that I am often asked as a pastor is, “How can I keep my faith strong during difficult times?” Anyone who has been a Christian for a while has experienced times when they have felt that their faith was weak. Christians sometimes talk about feeling “away from God.” Some might express it as a feeling that they and God have drifted apart. While this is something that many people go through, our Christian life does not have to be this way. In fact, the reality is that God never drifts away from us. We drift away from Him.
The writer to the Hebrews expressed this thought in chapter two, verse one: “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” There are several things that we can do to rekindle our faith when it is weak and to protect ourselves from drifting away in the first place.
1. Stay in Church. Many pastors see this as the first sign that lets them know one of their members is struggling in their faith- they stop attending church regularly. Hebrews 10:25 says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” Being an active part of a vibrant local church may very well be the single most important thing a person can do to maintain their faith. Dr. Charles Stanley says, “Regularly gathering in the house of the Lord with brothers and sisters in Christ provides an “anchor” of support and accountability. But skipping church in order to pursue other interests is an obvious sign that a believer has begun to drift away from God.”
2. Spend time with God everyday. To rekindle and strengthen our faith when it is weak, a Christian needs to spend time everyday in God’s Word and in prayer. It is difficult to have a relationship with someone that we never talk with. It is the same in a person’s relationship with God. Spending time reading and meditating in the Scriptures and talking with God is a wonderful way to develop a lifelong relationship with Him. Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that Scripture is given to equip us for life.
Making Bible reading and prayer key habits in our life is very important. It is easy to neglect these when we feel distant from God. In reality, this is really when we need to spend time in his Presence!
3. Serve others. A last way that our faith can be rekindled is by looking for opportunities to serve others. Christians throughout the centuries having testified to finding purpose and meaning in life by serving other people. It is easy to sound pious and religious when one talks about serving God. In reality, people serve God as they serve those around them. Jesus provided the example by coming to serve humanity and ultimately to die for the sins of the world. “For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
There is something powerful and therapeutic when we get our eyes off of ourselves and serve other people. It is often in these moments of serving that we find our own faith refreshed and strengthened. Serving is one of the keys that unlocks the Kingdom of God and releases Heaven on earth.
God never promised that the life of faith would be easy. He did, however, promise that He would never leave us nor forsake us. (John 14:16) The Christian life is not an adherance to certain beliefs or creedal statements. It is a relationship with the living God, and like any relationship, it will have its highs and lows. The most important thing is that the believer never gives up and keeps pursuing the One who is always pursuing us.
How do you keep your faith strong during difficult times?
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