Is faith given by God or is it grown by man? I hear both, sometimes in the same sermon. Once, I heard a Pastor say, “God gives to everyone the measure of faith, so we all have faith” (taken from Romans 12:3). Immediately, he caught himself and added, “but of course we are supposed to grow our own faith.” It’s confusing; which is it?
The simple answer is – both. Faith is both grown by us and given by God. That is the beauty of faith. We have a role to play but only God can make the word come alive in our heart. Ultimately, He is the granter of faith.
God gives us that first ‘measure of faith’ to receive Him. We hear the word proclaimed and He makes it come alive. This is the moment that faith comes. We act on that faith by confessing it, and we are saved. From that point on, it is our responsibility to hear the word and grow faith.
We are to take the word of God and put it as a seed in the soil of our heart, and through perseverance, we are to bring forth a harvest. It is our responsibility. However, just like physical farmers, we do not have control over the final crop. We do not determine if it grows and when it grows. The final harvest is in the hands of God alone. He determines the if-and-when of the harvest. He alone grants the increase.
For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, Philippians 1:29
I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. (7) So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. (8) Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. (9) For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:6-9
We are to plant the seed of the word, till the soil of our heart, and water it; however, ultimately God alone gives the increase. We include our labor, but the Glory goes to God. Faith is both given and grown.