There’s a popular contemporary Christian song where, with much excitement, deep expression, and a building crescendo, the singer sings, “I am a child of God!” It is an exhilarating and encouraging song that I love to sing alone in my truck – and trust me – you want me to sing alone and by myself. However, near the end of the song, as the singer is bubbling over in her perfectly-tuned affections for Christ, she exclaims that she’s “a child of God… full of faith!” – and I admit that statement gave me pause as I heard it again a few days ago.

I had to ask myself at that moment, “Am I truthfully able to sing that I am ‘full of faith’?” And if I’m not, what does that say about my faith, or more importantly, my relationship with God? If I lack passionate faith, am I a backslider? Am I going in the wrong direction? Should I be fearful that God will discipline me?

Here’s what I need to remind myself of often: life comes at you fast. Geico Insurance made a killing off that statement a few years ago because it’s true, and it resonates with us. Life does come at us fast. Sometimes, it comes at us so fast that we can hardly make sense of it, and then we find ourselves failing in some way. Other times, life comes at us very slowly, and before we know it, we’ve fallen into the doldrums. Either way, our faith can be affected. The truth is that all life’s challenges can cause our genuinely-held faith to temporarily falter or be shaken. It happens to every Christian, no matter their success or station in life. No believer in Jesus can sustain wholehearted faith every moment of every day.

Think about it. When we’re young, we haven’t lived long enough to develop deeply-rooted faith. Our faith is both new and small because we lack knowledge and experience. As we’re exposed to life’s challenges, God makes himself real to us so that we learn to trust him. Our knowledge of God increases as we read his Word and make ourselves consciously aware of his presence in our lives. As those challenges grow in frequency and intensity, our faith becomes deeply rooted in God’s ability to help us overcome.

However, for us to experience “overcoming” through faith, we must first have experienced the “faltering” of faith. The experiences of “faltering” and “overcoming” are what makes us fuller in faith. So, while no one wants to falter or waver in faith, it is through faltering or wavering that we lean into God even more, and our faith is strengthened as he grants us grace to overcome. And since God’s ultimate goal is for his people to grow in our faith, then we are not in jeopardy when we experience those faltering moments.

How can we be absolutely sure that God will deliver us and that our faith will increase? God provides answers for us throughout the Bible, but Hebrews chapters 11-12 are especially helpful. Hebrews 11:1 begins with a definition of faith:

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1

Heb 11:1 tells us that faith is tied to assurances and convictions in things that are intangible. The next two verses tell us that the things of this world that are tangible (where we tend to find our assurances) were made of things that are intangible. They all point to an intangible Creator, who is God.

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

Hebrews 11:6

Verse 6 makes it clear that faith is the “conviction” that God exists and the “assurance” that He will reward those who seek Him (God will keep his promises). And then the rest of chapter 11 gives many examples of men and women of faith whose faith was increased by personal experiences with God. I encourage you to read each statement about these men and women and maybe even go back and study their stories written throughout the Old Testament. What’s fascinating about each story is that it was God who did all the heavy lifting in their experiences. He’s the one who made things happen and brought about his intended result. The only thing each man or woman had to do was believe God and then behave according to their belief. I have no doubt that their encounters led them to moments of being “full of faith”.

Those are Old Testament accounts that occurred before the cross. Turning to the next chapter in Hebrews, we find that New Testament believers are also called to look to our Savior in faith.

“…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2

Jesus is not only the target of our faith, (as if our faith originated with us) he is the author and perfecter of our faith. Our faith originates with Jesus, and he is in the process of perfecting it. All of which means that it is God who is sovereignly controlling our “faltering” and “overcoming” experiences that result in increasing faith. It means that being “full of faith,” as sung by the artist above, is an honest, heartfelt experience. However, it also means that wavering faith does not place us in jeopardy with our Heavenly Father, because he’s controlling our experience. And he’s using it to grow our faith. Our part of increasing faith is to believe God and his promises toward us, and then behave according to that belief.

We need to keep reminding ourselves that living with the “assurance and conviction” of God’s specific and unchanging promises gives us the stability and joy that we seek. It is available to us every day of our life – whether it be during seasons of ease or difficulty. And we can freely rejoice in those moments of being “full of faith”.