Got Faith? Where Is It? Part III
In the previous post we explored how our “faith” can veer off course and into dangerous territory. In this posting we are reigning our faith back in and focusing it on the source, foundation and object of our faith. In doing so we will see that size really does not matter. This can be discouraging to some who have been building themselves as being pillars of faith. They even have the big faith lingo down to a science, as we all have become great in speaking “Christian”. But also know that we are to increase our faith even though it is God who manages that process as He sanctifies us. Alongside God the Holy Spirit working within us, we are to be examining ourselves and living a life intimating Christ.
To further understand our seemingly willingness to fall into the trap of manipulating God by faith we must be honest about the enemy of faith. The enemy of faith is anxiety, which is the nice way to say our pride. Pride sounds more accurate than anxiety and actually we not like to use anxiety because it just sounds even worse. But it is our lack of being able to control or better a situation that causes the anxiousness in our hearts. This anxiety is because our pride is damaged. We think so highly of ourselves and we work so hard to gain, gain, and gain some more. So when it all falls short it hurts our pride. When we fail to fix it, it hurts our pride and we become anxious as the future outcome is now out of our hands. So we figure if we can use “faith” to control God and His will; we will get the outcome we want. Thus, we can now be victorious in all things. This first scripture may not strike a chord right away but remember it and give it time to sink in.
25 (AP)“Therefore I tell you, (AQ)do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 (AR)Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.(AS)Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his (AT)span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, (AU)even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, (AV)O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For (AW)the Gentiles seek after all these things, and (AX)your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But (AY)seek first (AZ)the kingdom of God and his righteousness, (BA)and all these things will be added to you.
34 (BB)“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
We have all read this passage so many times, yet I think its message escapes us. Especially when we take into account the passages before as Jesus speaks about where our treasures lay. Yet, these words have heavy implications into our faith in God. So when I was thinking about the object of our faith and the foundation of it, Jesus was at the top of course. But understanding what it meant for him to be the object of faith and how to explain it became a point that must be made. But then how do you relate that to people in such a way that they get it. The size of faith! Since, God have given each of us a measure of faith it is safe to say that we all start out the same. But as we go through life we all have notice that some seem to have more. These very same people act like that if things don’t happen as you wish that you must have little faith or something to that affect. So here we go… The passage of scripture that seems to address the size of faith is the one about the mustard seed.
14 (V)And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is (W)an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and (X)they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and (Y)twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? (Z)How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus (AA)rebuked the demon,[b] and it[c]came out of him, and (AB)the boy was healed instantly.[d] 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them,(AC)“Because of your little faith. For (AD)truly, I say to you, (AE)if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, (AF)you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and (AG)nothing will be impossible for you.”[e]
Here we have Jesus’ disciples failing to heal a man’s son. Jesus first rebukes the people for not believing in him after all the miracles that he had done. Jesus simply rebukes the demon and the boy is healed. The disciples just could not understand how they couldn’t do it so they ask Christ about it. He tells them that because of their little faith but turns around and says if their faith was the size of a mustard seed that they can move mountains? Think about that… They could not heal the boy because they had little faith right? But if they had faith the size of a very small seed, they can overcome any situation? Hmm… Christ saying that their little faith caused them not to heal is not an issue of size. Maybe they did it wrong or they didn’t speak the words right? Maybe they didn’t have the right attitude? Maybe they didn’t say it forcefully enough? Maybe they should have shouted and stomped around, put on a great show of authority and have a huge choir behind them while speaking in tongues? Maybe the demon knew that they didn’t have a PhD in Theology from a University approved by a certain group of famous ministers? Now let’s look at how Jesus Christ has instructed them to do things.
John 14 11 Believe me that (T)I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else (U)believe on account of the works themselves.12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, (V)whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I (W)am going to the Father.13 (X)Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that (Y)the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 (Z)If you ask me[e] anything in my name, I will do it.
Christ instructed the disciples to do things in his name; they were to ask in the name of Jesus Christ while they believe in Jesus Christ. Why would they believe in Jesus? Number one because the Father had chosen them to believe and given them faith. Also because Jesus has done works that only a man sent by God could do. Yet, Christ was doing ever more than the prophets and his biggest work was yet to come. Do you see that Jesus Christ is not calling the disciples to blind faith? But the things that they are asking for Christ to do must also bring the Father glory through the Son. Also, by asking in His name they are coming not on their own but on Jesus’ authority. So how does this relate to faith and what does this have to do with the disciples failing to heal the boy because they had little faith?
23 (AC)And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but (AD)he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, (AE)“Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you (AF)afraid, (AG)O you of little faith?” Then he rose and (AH)rebuked the winds and the sea, and (AI)there was a great calm. 27 And the men (AJ)marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even(AK)winds and sea obey him?”
Looking at these passages in Matthew 8, here we see Jesus rebuking the storm but before that what does he do? He asked they why are they afraid and tells them that they have little faith. Why would he say that? In John 14:11, he tells them to believe in him because he is the Father and the Father is in him. He also says basically, if you can’t believe my words believe on the account of all the things you have seen me do. Do you realize how many miracles the disciples witnessed Jesus preform? Jesus raised Lazarus from death so basically Christ overcame death! This same man is in the boat with them during a storm and yet they were afraid. They could not heal the boy because they their faith is Jesus’s authority wavered. They did not remember that it was Jesus that produce the extra fishes and loaves. They wavered at the simple fact the Jesus is the way the truth and the life (John14:6). We to at times did not have faith in the source of our faith, the power behind our faith and the foundation of our faith. The power to move mountains does not rest in our commanding faith but the God of grace and mercy. So our measure of faith can be small as long as our faith in God is huge. But how can you trust who you don’t know? How can you believe in someone and trust their words if you don’t know their words or have no clue of their character? You have to have a relationship with them. You have to put aside your pride and focus on Christ. So often we merely having blind faith in a situation changing in our favor. Often we are just merely hoping for things to come our way. Our hopes are not based on the knowledge of someone working on our problems or overseeing our lives. Our hopes are just based on what we can do and what we feel should happen for us. Our faith is based on how good we are and how much we think we deserve blessings. I can’t even call it faith but what we have been doing is hoping in us. We have “faith” in getting what we want to glorify us by using Jesus’ name. We are seeking whole heartedly the things of the Gentiles and become anxious when we find out that we are powerless. Others make us believe that we can approach God in arrogance because we follow a set of criteria and because we think that we are good.
Matthew 6:32 For (AW)the Gentiles seek after all these things, and (AX)your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But (AY)seek first (AZ)the kingdom of God and his righteousness, (BA)and all these things will be added to you.
But when we work to know God through and through, we will ask in accordance to his glory and we will receive. Because we will be looking to glorify God as well as trusting him completely for everything else as we live accordingly to his purposes. Christians are on mission and we have been sent out to do God’s work just like the disciples were. We can’t do that work without faith. So it is important that our faith is in him and not our own power. With Matthew 6 in mind look at how Jesus sent out the twelve disciples:
Matthew 10 5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. 9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.
They left with nothing but had everything in Christ!
Matthew 10 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
We must have faith in him because we are worth so much to him. He knows what we need and he knows that loving him completely is the best thing for us. But the greatest reason to believe in Christ we haven’t discussed yet and this reason will propel our faith to new heights.