Five things Christians can do to grow their faith

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People who know you, and even those who don't, may be able to easily identify you as a Christian, but can God?

Our identity is more than outward facing, it's more than how we appear to others and what our external actions symbolise. As Christians, when we think about our identity, our concerns around how we come across go beyond how other people perceive us, to how God sees us. The qualities that He deems important and defining differ greatly from those which are held up as desirable in society (1 Samuel 16:7).

What's truly on our hearts can only be known by God, but these five things can help us all demonstrate our faith to Him.

Embrace joy – The joy that we experience through God is in many ways detached from the context of real-time events. It's not that we don't experience great joy from good things that happen in our day-to-day lives – the birth of a child, a miraculous recovery - but when these kinds of milestone events aren't occurring, we can still be overcome with joy. Ask God to help you embrace joy even when things aren't going so well.

Converse with Christ – Think of a friend or family member that you live with, love dearly and can't contemplate your life without. Now imagine ignoring them for no apparent reason every now and then. This is what we can behave like when we don't pray. Regular prayer is a sign that God is important to us, and it demonstrates a recognition of how a healthy relationship with Him should function. What's the reason you're not talking to God each day?

Get to know God – No matter how well we think we know God our understanding of Him can always be improved. He knows our hearts better than we do so we can be pretty certain that getting to know Him is a lifelong process, one that will also help us improve our knowledge of ourselves. Studying His word, praying daily and attending church are three ways you can develop your understanding of Him.

Open your heart to inner peace – You'll never know true peace if you think it's achieved by reaching an ideal solution to every problem. The peace that we come to know through Christ is, like joy, independent of what is or isn't happening around us. When we open our hearts to Him, the door to having peace instilled in us is also opened.

Find it in you to forgive – It's not just the act of forgiveness but the reasoning behind why we strive to do it, even though it hurts and can be hard, that sets us apart as Christians. When we forgive someone, they don't always know about it - maybe they didn't realise they'd done anything wrong or that we were the victim of their sin. Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter if they're aware or not because God is. When we forgive we're giving Him great recognition and demonstrating a real awareness of what His forgiveness of us really means.

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