by Dr. Charles Stanley
The Stages of Faith
The blessings we receive from God will always be in proportion to our faith. Our greatest desire, therefore, should be to increase our faith so that we can live successfully in this world. As Christians, we can potentially mature through three stages in a lifetime; we can also experience the same three levels in relation to a single issue. Today, we’ll study the first stage, which is common to all believers.
As new believers, our faith is often restless. In times of trial, unfocused eyes look at the problem rather than God. People are influenced by their negative feelings, past guilt, and lack of understanding about the Lord. Consequently, the motto of restless faith is, “I know He can, but I’m not sure He will.” This constant uncertainty leaves the believer with no peace.
Since all of God’s children begin at the restless faith stage, struggling with trust is not a sin in His eyes. The gospels report that the disciples experienced periods of doubt, but though Jesus chided them, He never condemned them for their little faith. Like the disciples, our spiritual life should mature as we gain experience and spend more time studying God’s Word. Even mature believers occasionally find themselves in situations where fear hinders focusing on the Lord, but it is important not to stay at this level.
Unfortunately, far too many Christians remain stuck in the restless stage because failure to meditate on Scripture or learn God’s ways stunts spiritual growth. Only by growing in Christ can we reach the more confident stages of faith.