Five Ways to Grow in Your Faith in 2022

Every year I choose a word. Last year, I wrote about my word “soak” in a blog post. It was all about being like a sponge, sitting and just soaking in what is being presented to you, what God is downloading to you or what you're learning. This year, when I was praying about what my word for 2022, I kept getting the word Growth or Grow. I thought, “Wow!” what an amazing word because we can all be continually growing.

I think it is a timely word because if you know what's going on right now, in the spiritual world, in the Jewish calendar, this is a sabbatical year that started September of 2021 and ends in September 2022. If you don't know anything about the sabbatical year, I love that faith is the primary value of this special year. Why is it faith? Well, it's because in the sabbatical year in the Jewish rules and the Jewish law, they weren’t allowed plant anything. It was mostly agriculturally based. The Jewish people were not allowed to plant anything during this sabbatical year. Anything that grew was because it grew from the land, it wasn't anything that man or woman did or didn't do; it was simply through the hand of God. I love this visual image of the sabbatical year, where nothing that I do or nothing that you do is from you. It's growth that happens because God is causing it to happen.

It's a beautiful picture that even when we're not doing anything—when we feel like we're not doing anything or enough—God is continually growing us. What I also love is that the word growth is so much better than death, right? When we're thinking about growth, we're thinking about new things—being born, expansion, or things getting bigger. In our flesh we can do what we can to make bigger things (bigger houses, bigger businesses, bigger platforms, etc.), but growth from God through His Spirit in us is supernatural. It is spiritual. Growth is not meant to just help ourselves, but it is meant to help others.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear somebody say, ”My faith isn't big enough.” Well, Jesus himself said that if you have faith as small as a mustard seed…. Jesus doesn't care about the size of our faith; He cares about the strength of our faith.  So, I wanted to start 2022 off by giving you five ways to grow in your faith in 2022—not grow bigger faith. Let that sink in…your faith can be as small as a mustard seed. It can be small in size, but it can be so strong. When you look at nature, there are strong things that are small. I’m outlining growing in your faith pretty simply. For a lot of you, maybe this is going to be repetitive. These are common sense things as believers. But oftentimes in life, we get busy, we get off track, and we might need a gentle reminder about how we can stay strong in the Lord and grow in the Lord. We will never reach full maturity until we get to heaven. We are always growing. We aim to not be drinking spiritual milk like a baby, but there is always room to learn.
Here are the top five ways I believe you can grow in your faith in 2022.

1. Commit your life to the Lord. First, if you're not a believer, and if you're still dipping your toe in the waters of “Do I believe or do I not believe in Jesus?” make this the year you say, “Yes!” to Jesus. Make sure your salvation is secure. You simply do that by putting your faith and trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. His grace is a gift, and through faith, your eternity can be secured. If you are a believer in Christ, commit your life to the Lord. Make sure you're committing your daily routines, committing your daily plans, and your yearly plans. A lot of people sit down and write a vision for the year. Make sure this vision is centered on the Lord. Don't take things into your own hands. Allow Him to be the Lord of your life. Not just so you can secure your eternity, but so that you can live a life full of joy, peace, love, and patience.

2. Allow the Holy Spirit to do work in and through you. Don't let the Holy Spirit freak you out. I saw an article recently that Kathie Lee Gifford was quoted in and she said that Westerners are deathly afraid of the Holy Spirit. We are afraid of His power. However, the Holy Spirit was sent as an Advocate. Jesus said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). It is because of Him that we can understand the things of Scripture so allow the Holy Spirit to do a work in you and through you. Be available. Don't close the door to the Holy Spirit because you don't completely understand the Holy Spirit. He'll teach you things.

3. Read and study your Bible. Make sure you're continually reading and learning about Scripture. He speaks through us via His word and if we aren't reading it, we miss opportunities to hear from Him. Even if you've read the Bible 100 times, read it again. It is alive and active. Second Timothy 3:16–17 says, “All scripture is God-breathed. And is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.” That word equipped means it's a tool, it's useful. If you're a carpenter and you aren't using your tools, you're not going to be in business. If you're a computer programmer, and you're not using your computer, you're not going to be in business. If you're a small business operator and you don't have the stuff that you're selling, or the services that you're selling, you are not going to be in business. “Equip” is a super important word for me. It is one of the mission points of my ministry—Equip, Encourage, Evangelize. It's important to be equipped and we, as Christians, get equipped through the Bible. Make the time in 2022 to grow in your understanding of God's Word and your love for the Lord.

4. Pray. We shouldn't see prayer as an obligation or duty, but rather a way to communicate with God. It isn't just about what we need or want. It should be a time where we praise Him and thank Him. Imagine if you never communicated with the people you love. What would your relationship look like? Jesus said in Luke 18:1 to always pray and not give up. Prayer was something He modeled as a way to communicate to His father. He did it, and we should do it. Ask Him to search your heart. Pray for others. Lift yourself up in prayer. If you need encouragement from Him, ask Him to encourage you. If you need guidance, ask Him to guide you. He knows your heart, and He knows if you're being sincere and what the need is. Often, our needs become trivial when we're actually communicating with God because we realize how big He is and the job He does every day to keep this world spinning. Our needs become small, not unimportant, but they become smaller than the big picture. We grow in our faith by communicating with God. We can get far from God when we fail to communicate with Him.

5. Be in community with other believers. Community is important for believers. Other believers are placed in your life to help you with accountability, encouragement, prayer needs, and fellowship. It's better to align yourself with like-minded people than to be aligned with people doing life opposite of what God would want. We become who we do life with. Choose carefully. Godly believers will cheer on your growth. First Thessalonians 5:14 says, “And we urge you brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak and be patient with them all.” Community is there for a reason. Doing life with people can sometimes get messy. People hurt us, people move, and people change their minds. And maybe the people you're doing community with right now just aren't going as deep with God as you would want. It's okay to find other community members. We don't have to hang on to our community just because they've been our community for a long time. It's okay to spread your wings and find a community that is in line and aligned with the work you're doing right now. It's not to disparage the community that you've been doing life with; it's to grow your community and grow in your faith. Don't allow your community to ever let you get idle when it comes to spiritual things. Whether it be your personal growth, or reaching people, we have to remember the core of our mission is to go tell the world about Jesus, and share the good things that He has done. If we're in a community that is all about us, and all about just having fun and doing things together, but not challenging us to grow and stretch, and do things that might feel uncomfortable, maybe we need to either admonish our community, or we need to stretch our wings and find a new community. Or, you might also consider bringing someone new in that might challenge your community. It’s okay to do this because it's called growth. Sometimes, once a tree grows too big, it needs to be lifted out of the soil and transplanted in a place where its roots can grow deeper and stronger. Maybe that's what God is challenging you with this year. Maybe He needs to take you somewhere new and plant you somewhere so your roots can grow deeper and stronger in order to flourish and grow to your full potential.

This year in 2022, remember, it's not the size of your faith. You can have faith as small as a mustard seed because a mustard seed, when it's planted in the right soil grows into this beautiful, purposeful tree. All you have to do is be the mustard seed and allow God to do work in you to grow you to your full potential.

I'm more than happy to share my word Growth with you this year because I think that each one of us can grow. We can grow in our faith, we can grow in our strength, we can grow in our voice, we can grow in our ability to reach others, and we can grow in our influence, for godly purposes, to advance the Kingdom and be light in the darkness. So that's my challenge for you in 2022.

Do you have a different word this year? I’d love to hear it! Comment below or email me at erin@sandalfeet.org.

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