The scriptures tell us that everything starts with faith. For instance they clearly say that 'without faith it's impossible to please God'. So any thoughts of gaining salvation, or entering the kingdom of God, or gaining eternal life, or having God say to us 'Well Done!', through our own efforts would appear to be futile, if faith is not the basis.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Jesus plans to say "Well done!" to those who are "faithful" servants if the parables in the book of Matthew, chapter 25 and in the book of Luke chapter 19 are anything to go by.
In the book to the Hebrews, chapter 11 is known as the faith chapter, and it runs through a catalogue of the elders who went before us and how they obtained a good report because of their faith. It tells us that their obedience, their courage, their fortitude, their exploits, and their victories all came about because of their faith.
As it says in Rom 5:2...
Rom 5:2 Through Him we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice on the hope of the glory of God.
It's through faith that we have access to the grace of God which empowers us to stand and like our fathers in the faith, be obedient to God's commands, be courageous and do exploits. Our ability to join in positively in the work of God depends totally on the faith that we have. To do the good works that God has prepared for us takes faith. It's not our faith though. It's the faith of Jesus Christ that underpins everything that we are and do in righteousness. This comes out clearly when we read Eph 2:8-10
Eph 2:8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We are saved by grace through faith and that faith is not our own, it's a gift from God. God gives each of us THE measure of faith so that by grace we are saved and then empowered to do the works that He has prepared for us. We just have to surrender and allow Holy Spirit to do them through us.
You will probably remember that when the disciples could not do something, or were fearful, Jesus usually pointed out it was because they lacked faith. So, how can we have/utilise more faith? Faith comes from hearing God's word!
Rom 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When we hear and understand God's word we appreciate God and His Christ more; our confidence in them grows; and we believe and can receive the blessings they have for us. We even received the Spirit by hearing with faith as Paul says in Gal 3 verse 2.
Gal 3:2 This only do I wish to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, do you now perfect yourself in the flesh?
The point of course is to show that the Holy Spirit resides in us because we first put faith in Jesus Christ, and everything that we do afterwards has to be by faith, with the grace of God mediated in us by the Holy Spirit. And that faith came to us through hearing the word of god. It all starts with faith in Jesus and receiving the faith of Jesus.
The word that God wants us to hear and that we have been commissioned to teach is the gospel of Christ (especially as received in our hearts via the Holy Spirit), and Paul tells us in Rom 15:29 that this gospel is a blessing. A blessing is Great Favour or Grace! To hear the word (that is Jesus) and to see the word (also Jesus) and what He has done for us is how we gain faith. Faith comes through learning about Jesus and believing on Him and seeing the blessings He has for all believers.
Rom 15:29 But I know that coming to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
For the gospel to be of benefit to us it must be met with faith in our hearts. The gospel is a blessing but it does not have that effect to all who hear it as the writer of Hebrews points out in Heb 4:2. The good news of a rest for the people of God was conveyed to the Israelites, but it did not profit them and in the same way the good news of our rest in Jesus has been conveyed to us but it will not profit us if we also lack faith.
Heb 4:2 For indeed we have had the gospel preached to us just as those also; but the word which they heard did not profit those, not having been mixed with faith in those having heard it.
We grow in faith the more we see and appreciate Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and the provider of all our blessings.
And, the more we see Jesus as the one who anoints us with grace the more we'll appreciate His blessings and His love and the more we will love and trust Him in turn. We are to look always to Christ. The more we understand what Jesus did and how He has exchanged His righteousness for our sins, the more we will look up to him, and trust Him more, and God sees us thus growing in faith.
Do you remember the woman with the issue of blood who saw Christ as her saviour and kept her eye on him until she could touch any part of him for her healing. She was like us today in that she had never heard Jesus speak personally. Like us she had only been told about him and what he was doing, but this word went to her heart and gave her the faith to be healed. She did not think in terms of faith as far as we can tell though; she just looked to Jesus and reached out to Him. So if you need more faith look to Jesus; don't look for faith itself. Faith can be viewed as the by-product given to us by God for seeing Jesus as the answer to whatever needs we have, and trusting in Him wholeheartedly. 'Just Look To Jesus', like that lady did.
There isn't an object called faith that I can see us getting more of, directly for ourselves. Faith rather is an attitude of mind (trust), made deeper by knowing Jesus as Lord, better and better. Paul expressed this very thing as the main message he preached.
1Co 2:2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Jesus himself said in John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. "
Now, one of the things that can affect our faith adversely is fear. Fear tends to drives out faith. Take a look in the book of Luke chapter 8 verses 22-25.
In Luke 8:22-23 Jesus and the disciples were travelling on board a ship to go to the Gardarene area and He went into the back of the ship to get some rest and fell asleep. While He's asleep a great storm blows in and the ship was being tossed around, water was coming in and everyone was worried that the ship would sink.
In Luke 8:24-25, the disciples woke Jesus up because they thought they were going to be drowned, but notice what happened next. When He calmed the sea and stilled the storm they became afraid of that! So why did they wake Him up? Not to calm the storm apparently. Rather it seems that those who are fearful want the company of like minded people and they just wanted everyone (Jesus included) to "be in the same boat!"
We are to be like Jesus though, NOT fearful but full of faith and bringing calm and peace to the fearful, in His name. With faith in Him and the grace that He supplies we will be able to live lives pleasing to God. We'll be able to put away our selfishness and self seeking and live through and in Him.
2Co 5:15 And Christ died for all: that they also who live may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again.
Any trials that we face are to be met with faith. These trials or tests may distress us for a short time but we must persevere in the faith of Jesus, never doubting that in Him we are blessed now and that He will raise us up.
1Pe 1:6 In which you greatly rejoice, though for a little while now, if need be, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes, though being tested with fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Real faith in God can move mountains as it says in Luke 17:6 and we have to build that kind of faith, to be utilised in God's service, if we are to follow in the disciples later footsteps, as they followed Christ.
Growing close to and learning more about Jesus gives us the faith to be disciples in the same way as the first disciples who did the work of God through the Holy Spirit, after Jesus went up to Heaven.
“Acts 3:16 says - By faith in the name of JESUS, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is JESUS’ name and the faith that comes through HIM that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”
If you ever find yourself getting discouraged remember what you have because you have accepted Jesus.
Like the Apostle Peter you have the faith of Jesus in your spirit. You have a faith just like his. So you have the same ability in faith as he had to do all that he did.
Also, remember that all the people of faith in the Gospels; the blind man of whom Jesus said your faith as made you well; the lady with the issue of blood, similarly; the Centurion; the lady of Cyrene whost faith Jesus called "great"; all of these people operated in faith before the death and resurection of Jesus! They did not have the Holy Spirit within them as Christians do since that time. They did not have new spirits given to them as we do on being saved. To use modern terminology they were non-christians; they were unbelievers. Yet, it was to these unbelievers that Jesus said, "If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed you can move mountains".
So our potential as "Believers" is tremendous!
It's the faith that comes through Jesus and acting in Jesus' name that gets the work of God done, whether it's preaching the gospel, healing the sick, cleansing lepers, raising the dead or casting out demons! Whatever signs and wonders God requires in order to advance his work comes through faith in Jesus and He has given us the same faith that Peter operated in!
As we operate in that faith (in Jesus, his reputation, power and the authority in His name), God can give us the assignments he has prepared for us and we can fulfill our calling in Jesus Christ.
So the answer to the question - 'How do we increase the faith we operate in to be better workers for the kingdom of God'? We all have the faith OF Jesus but we have to live to that full capacity by learning to see Jesus as Lord more. To put our trust fully in Him. You believe in God; believe also in Jesus who has ALL power. Finally...
Heb 11:1 Now 'Faith' is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Our hope is in Christ. When we truly see that HOPE we will have the faith to move mountains!
Draw near to Jesus and cultivate his presence in your life always. Our life is hid in Him so let's make Jesus our homework. That's how faith is increased and doubt and fear reduced. See Jesus as Lord and ruler over all things and provider of all things, and we will build trust and faith in Him and He will be able to use us to finish the work He is doing in this end time.