The author of Hebrews reflects on the great “Hall of Faith” in chapter 11 with these thoughts at the start of chapter 12: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Heb. 12:1-2a).
Jesus himself is the key to increasing faith; He’s the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. The New Living Translation calls Him “the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
We’re exhorted to fix our eyes upon Jesus because He’s the model for what living by faith truly looks like and what is possible as a result. His words and life inspire and strengthen our own faith, empowering us to take risks, endure trials and pursue His promises.
Jesus’ Good News Awakens Faith
Paul similarly exhorted the Romans to focus on Jesus to grow their faith. The Amplified Translation reads:
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “The just and upright shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:16-17)
The Good News of Jesus Christ reveals to us the righteousness of God. We initially access and experience the benefits of this truth through faith. Increase comes as we persist in the truth of this Good News, because it causes more faith to progressively awaken within us.
Mustard Seed Faith
As I shared earlier, Jesus taught that faith the size of a mustard seed could move a mountain (or a mulberry tree, if you prefer!) (Matt. 17:20; Luke 17:6). He also had a parable about a mustard seed and I find that no coincidence. Mark 4:30-32 reads:
To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”
Just as the Kingdom itself had humble, seemingly minuscule beginnings, so does our faith. But neither are meant to remain that way. As the Kingdom is destined to continue growing and expanding until it is the largest around, so too is our faith destined for maturation.
In Romans 12:3, Paul teaches that “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith”. Call it a mustard seed. As we apply ourselves to the person of Jesus Christ—the way, the truth and the life—our faith will germinate, blossom and grow. And that is increase.