Whether you're just learning about Jesus or you grew up attending weekly church services, faith can be difficult for many people. No one can prove God exists, and it can be hard sometimes to believe in something that you can't see, touch, or hear. However, having a relationship with Jesus requires having faith and trusting in him.Expert SourceZachary RaineyOrdained MinisterExpert Interview. 19 May 2019. Luckily, according to Christianity, faith is a gift from God, and not something you have to create on your own.
Method 1 of 2:Becoming a Follower of Jesus
1Don't give up on God just because having faith is hard at first. Doubt is a natural human quality, so if you're having trouble in believing in Jesus, it doesn't necessarily mean you're doing anything wrong. Since you can't see God, it can be hard sometimes to trust that He's really there. However, if you have the desire to honor a higher power, then over time, you can start to find God in His magnificent creation—everyone and everything you CAN see.
The book of John says that one of Jesus' own followers, a man named Thomas, had trouble believing that he was really seeing Jesus when the two met after Jesus was raised from the dead. If someone who met Jesus face-to-face had trouble with faith, it's only natural that people today would struggle with it too.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.” This means that faith isn't something you have to do or have on your own, but a gift that God gives you to help you believe.
2Study the historical context around Jesus' life.Expert SourceZachary RaineyOrdained MinisterExpert Interview. 19 May 2019. While there's no direct archaeological proof that Jesus existed, many historical experts do believe that he was a real man. By picturing Jesus as a real person whose words and acts had a unique social and political impact where he lived, it becomes easier to have faith in him.
If you really want to dig deep into the historical context around Jesus' life, try reading books like Journal for the Study of Historical Jesus and Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods.
Did You Know? Ancient historians like Josephus and Tacitus wrote about Jesus' life and his followers just a few decades after he was said to have died, making a strong case that he did, in fact, exist.
3Believe that Jesus is God's son who was sent as a sacrifice. The Bible says that Jesus was a man who was killed for his radical teachings about God. He was hung from a cross until he died. Then, 3 days later, the Bible says Jesus rose from the dead and left his tomb, and by conquering death, he created a bridge between sin and God.
In order to understand how Jesus' death was payment for our sins, it helps to know that in the Old Testament, people were commanded by God to make sacrifices of their animals and crops in order to attain God's forgiveness. God sent His son Jesus to Earth to take the place of those sacrificial ceremonies, earning forgiveness for all people.
John 3:16, one of the most well-known scriptures in the Bible, describes Jesus' role in our forgiveness:"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
John 14:6 reiterates this message: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
4Acknowledge that you have been guilty of sin at one time or another. Everyone has sinned, which is another word for disobeying one of God's commands. A sin can be something as small as a little fib or as serious as murder. For instance, maybe you exaggerated to one of your teachers or your boss to try to get out of an assignment, you might have been unkind to someone out of anger, or perhaps you disobeyed your parents when you knew they wouldn't find out. However, in order to become a follower of Jesus, you have to admit that you have sinned.
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Being a sinner doesn't necessarily mean that you're a bad person; it just means that no one is capable of being perfect. In fact, the Bible says that Jesus was the only person to ever live who never committed a single sin.
Because of sin, no one is worthy of an eternal heaven with God. However, He is loving and kind, so He has made it possible to attain that anyway. Romans 6:23 explains, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Many Biblical scholars believe that in this scripture, “death” means being separated from God in the afterlife.)
5Understand that God loves you, no matter what you do. The Bible says that God is perfectly good. His rules can seem strict or uncomfortable sometimes, but those rules exist to keep humans safe and happy. However, even when you don't follow those rules, He still loves you and wants you to have a rich, full life in which you honor Him.
Hebrews 11:3 explains that although we can not see God, He is the One responsible for creating the world:"By faith, we understand that the worlds were formed by the word of God, so that the things that are seen were not made of things that are visible."
6Pray to God to ask for forgiveness and confess your faith. Once you start to believe that Jesus is the son of God, and you recognize that you, like everyone else, have sinned, you can pray to God to forgive you for your sins. When you pray to God for the first time telling Him that you want to be a follower of Jesus, this is called the Prayer of Salvation. This prayer is the only thing you absolutely have to do in order to become a Christian, or a follower of Christ Jesus.
Try saying something like this: “Dear Lord, I know that I have made mistakes, and I will never be perfect. I want to turn away from sin and follow the teachings of Jesus. Please forgive me for everything I've done wrong, and help me to be a better person and grow every day.” However, you can say whatever you want in your prayer, as long as it truly comes from your heart.
1 John 1:9 says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
7Dedicate yourself to a life following God's teachings.Expert SourceZachary RaineyOrdained MinisterExpert Interview. 19 May 2019. It's not enough to tell God you want to turn away from sin. You also have to really make an effort to recognize and overcome the sins that you personally struggle with. This is called repenting of your sins, and it's an important step in every Christian's journey. Becoming a Christian or a follower of Christ is not just Him saving you from hell and letting you enter into heaven once you die, it is you now changing and making a commitment to serve God with your life.
Don't worry if you don't get it right all at once. Becoming more like Christ is a lifelong process, so just allow God to lead you as you continue to improve.
8Be baptized as a symbolical commitment to your new life in God. Baptism is a ceremony in which a person is submerged under water, then raised up again. It symbolizes the death of their old self and the rebirth of their new life in God.Expert SourceZachary RaineyOrdained MinisterExpert Interview. 19 May 2019. The Bible commands all believers to be baptized. However, if you don't get baptized, it won't keep you from going to heaven.
In Acts 2:38, Peter says:"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."The Holy Ghost is the spirit of God who inhabits His believers and helps to guide them in the ways of right and wrong.
In some denominations, you'll be sprinkled with water in a symbolic baptism, rather than submerged under water.
Method 2 of 2:Holding on to Faith in Difficult Times
1Make time each day to talk to Jesus. By spending quiet time each day talking to Jesus, you'll build a relationship with him and you'll learn to start hearing or feeling his guidance in your life.Expert SourceZachary RaineyOrdained MinisterExpert Interview. 19 May 2019. For instance, you may feel led to make certain decisions, or you may simply feel a comforting peace as you meditate on a Bible passage. The closer you feel to God, the easier it will be to have faith in Him when times get hard.
During your quiet time, you can read devotionals, study your Bible, pray, write in a journal, or whatever else makes you feel close to Jesus. Some people worship while they're gardening, driving, cooking, or singing, so find what feels most natural and authentic to you.
When you're praying, praise Jesus for his goodness, and ask him to strengthen your faith. Then, pay attention to how he reveals himself to you in your daily life.
2Study Bible passages that deal with people going through hardships. The Bible is full of stories that tell of faithful believers being tested in really difficult times. These stories can help you feel connected to a long line of believers who have had to struggle through heartache, illness, and loss, yet still managed to hold on to their faith in the goodness of God.
Early Christians were often arrested and even killed after Jesus' death. Some of the books of the New Testament, like Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Hebrews, are letters written during that time. They show that these believers were afraid, yet still gathered together to share and grow their faith.
The apostle Paul was tormented by an unknown affliction, as described in 2 Corinthians. While his specific struggle is never named, he refers to it as a"thorn in his flesh,"and his humility and faith are examples of strength that still resonate today.
Jesus himself was betrayed by one of his closest friends, and the night before he was killed, he stayed up all night praying. His steadfast faith and determination to fulfill his destiny, described in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, can be a powerful inspiration if you're facing a difficult task.
3Turn to Jesus for your strength in hard times (but also in good times). As you're praying and reading Biblical passages, ask Jesus to give you the strength to endure whatever you're going through, whether it be depression, illness, difficult family relationships, or heartbreaking loss. No matter what it is, if you ask Jesus to give you peace and help relieve your anxiety, he will comfort you. However, don't only go to God when there is a problem, go to God regularly even if it is just to thank him for what he has done for you.
This doesn't mean that Jesus will suddenly solve all your problems, or that you'll never worry about anything again. However, his strength can help make it easier to cope with your troubles.
1 Peter 5:7 says: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
4Ask Jesus to show you the lessons in your hardships. No matter what you're going through, pray that Jesus will reveal what you can learn from the experience. If you spend time reflecting, reading your Bible, and praying, eventually you will gain wisdom from every difficult time you go through.
For example, if you're struggling with grief over the loss of a loved one, you might realize how important it is to spend time with the people who matter the most to you while you still have them. This isn't going to take away your pain, but it can help you become closer to the people in your life.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says:"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
5Spend time with other people who share your faith. Finding another group of believers can help strengthen your faith and give you a community to rely on when times are hard.Expert SourceZachary RaineyOrdained MinisterExpert Interview. 19 May 2019. You can learn from the wisdom of your fellow believers, and you can also share your own experiences to help others.
Tip: Local churches are a great way to meet other believers. Try a contemporary church if a more traditional service seems uncomfortable to you. However, even if you don't attend church, you can look online to find Christian gatherings in your area, like a weekly Bible study at a coffee shop or a monthly dinner.