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Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT)

In examining my faith, I find that it is much too dependent on circumstances. 

One day this last week, God did something for me that really built my faith and made me happy. I felt like I could do anything.  The next day, something negative happened and I was discouraged, negative and distant. 

I call this superficial faith.  The danger of superficial faith is that it is circumstantial and not relational.

If I don’t get what I want, I grow angry and bitter at God and don’t want to be with him. I also see this in Christians all around me.  Our faith must grow past what we can see and become based in our relationship with God.

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

John 2:23-25 (NIV 10)

The people in the passage above put their faith in Jesus based on the miracles they saw him doing.  Developing faith in this way is good and needed in the beginning, but our faith must go beyond what we can see and become based on our relationship with God. 

Jesus knew the people had superficial faith, so he did not entrust the deeper parts of himself to them.

  • Do you find yourself having the same rote quiet times day after day and not growing to new depths and intimacy with God never experienced before?
  • Does your faith fluctuate based on the circumstances happening in your life?
  • Do you get mad at God when you don’t get what you want?
  • When is the last time you understood something new about God that inspired you and drew you close to him?

If these things ring true in your life, it may be because God sees you only desiring a superficial faith rather than really wanting to know him.  People with circumstantial and superficial faith are fickle.  I learned a lot about this in John 8:31-end.

What causes superficial faith?

FearMark 5:36
Wanting praise from peopleJohn 5:44
Not putting the work into our faithJohn 6:29
DeceitJohn 8:44-47
Not being able to hear God’s voiceJohn 10:26-27
Having a hard heartJohn 12:37-40
DoubtJohn 20:24-27

Read Romans 4-5.  It provides a great guide on how to develop deep and lasting faith.

Facing FactsRomans 4:18
Not wavering from God’s promiseRomans 4:20
The secret to righteousnessRomans 4:22
Why we can rejoice with sufferingRomans 5:3
Why we need to endureRomans 5:4
How we develop real hopeRomans 5:5

He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel.

Psalm 103:7

While God reveals his deeds to everyone, he reveals his character to people who really want to know him and be close to him.  The key question for us all is: Do I want God or do I just want what God gives? We have to decide that superficial faith is not enough for us. 

We can have an ever deepening  and fulfilling relationship with God that sustains us through anything life brings.

Written by

Scott Colvin

Scott Colvin is an evangelist at the Bay Area Christian Church. Scott ran cross country for the University of North Carolina. Some say he's still running to this day.