In John 10:10—a life verse for many Christ followers—Jesus proclaims that He has come to bring life in all of its fullness. That is a promise that taps into humanity’s deepest desire. It summons images of wholeness and health, abundance and adventure. It evokes a sense of potential and destiny within us.
But for a large number of Christ followers, the promise seems just beyond our reach. Too often the words that describe our faith sound more like this: comfortable, safe, routine and status quo.
If that’s the case, how do you go to the next level in your walk with Christ? How do you revive your faith?
One of the images that helped me develop a deeper understanding of faith came from Martin Luther, the 15th century German scholar who ignited the Protestant Reformation. He said that faith, when correctly understood, leaves us feeling “cemented” to Christ.
This is significant, because we often think of faith solely as something that Jesus Christ brings into our life. Instead of us being cemented to Jesus, we cement Him to us. He goes where I go, rather than the other way around. But ultimately, faith means I am no longer in control of my life. I am cemented to Christ, and to what Christ values and to what Christ says. What Jesus Christ does and where Jesus Christ goes now becomes the dominant narrative of my life. When Jesus leads me into the unknown, I go into the unknown with Him. I can’t not go—I am cemented to him by faith.
Here are five ways that fully cementing yourself to Jesus will jump-start your faith:
1. Step Into Your Fears
Want to guess what the most repeated command in the Bible is? “Fear not.” It is repeated in the Bible 365 times—once for every day of the year. This confirms something we already know in our gut: There is no such thing as great faith without first experiencing great fear. They live right next to each other.
Jesus will lead you out of your comfort zone and into the unknown, and you will have to rely on Him at every step of the way to navigate these new uncertain realities. With each new chapter of faith come new experiences of the abundant life in Christ. But with each new chapter also come new fears. Faith in Jesus helps us to realize that fear isn’t a prison that we are trapped in, but a pathway toward greater freedom in Christ.
2. Walk With God
In the Garden of Eden we see the most beautiful picture of spiritual intimacy in the whole Bible—God would walk with Adam and Eve during the cool of each day. While their betrayal would create lots of heartache, it never muted God’s desire to continue His pursuit of us. The rest of the Bible shows how faith in Christ allows us to enter boldly into the presence of God. It’s what Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 5:7 when he says we can “walk” by faith. Faith in Jesus leads us an invigorated and intimate walk with God.
The reoccurring message of the Bible is God’s desire to not only mold us, but to be in intimate relationship with us. This is a great reminder that our ongoing faith journey is not only formational—it is ultimately relational.
3. Be His Witness
In Acts 1:8 Jesus told His disciples that when they accepted the mission of becoming a “witness” to His goodness and grace, the Holy Spirit would come down on them with power. In today’s day and age, Christ followers often feel fearful about coming across as pushy or intolerant. Some of that is justified, but we can easily swing the pendulum too far the other way. If we stop listening for the ways that Jesus pushes us out of our comfort zones as witnesses, we also forego the opportunity to experience the dynamic power of God.
4. Act Justly
Jesus identified Himself as the One who has been sent to “proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18). If this is the Jesus that we are cemented to by faith, how will we not follow Him into these same activities? There have been few things that have stretched and challenged my faith more than becoming a student of historical injustice and an active participant in the ministries of racial healing and justice.
5. Deepen Your Community
Faith is not meant to be an individual sport. Intimacy with God is crucial, but walking with others as we walk with God is just as biblically emphasized as our individual connection with Christ. One of my favorite quotes on community comes from Dietrich Bonheoffer’s masterpiece, Life Together. When talking about how badly Christians need each other in community he says, “The Christ in their own hearts is weaker than the Christ in the word of other Christians.”
In other words, if we want to have our faith revived, we need to be in close community with other Christ followers. You need the Christ in others and they need the Christ in you. God has designed us in such a way where we can only go so far alone. Jesus calls us to walk intimately with God, both as individuals and with each other.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and He has come to lead us into fullness of life by faith. Let us grab a hold of Him with everything we have, trusting Him to lead us to where we need to go.
Daniel Hill is the pastor of River City Community Church in downtown Chicago and the author of 10:10: Life to the Fullest (Baker Books, 2014). He and his wife, Elizabeth, have 2 children. You can find Daniel online at pastordanielhill.com and on Twitter at @danielhill1336.