I believe in Jesus and want to follow Him, but I admit that I'm strictly a "work in progress." My faith isn't as strong as I wish it were, and sometimes I do things I know I shouldn't. How can I develop a strong faith? — J.N.
Faith doesn't come to any of us easily or automatically, any more than a garden or orchard grows easily and without careful attention and hard work.
But God's plan is for us to grow in our faith, and not be stuck in the same spiritual rut all our lives. Jesus Christ came into the world so our sins could be forgiven and we could go to Heaven. But He also has a plan for us right now: to grow in our faith and in our relationship to Him.
How does this happen? The Bible says, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation" (1 Peter 2:2). Just as a baby will never grow unless he or she is given nourishing milk, so you and I need spiritual "milk" to nourish and strengthen our souls. If we neglect the spiritual "milk" God offers us, our spiritual lives will be weak.
What is this "milk"? First, God has given us His Word, the Bible. Make the Bible part of your life every day. Even setting aside five minutes at first to read through one of the Gospels or Psalms will help you to grow spiritually.
God has also given us other believers to encourage and help us. We aren't meant to be spiritually isolated; we need the church, and we need other believers. Finally, God has given us the privilege of prayer. Make each of these part of your daily life, and you will grow spiritually strong.