How many sermons have we heard extolling the importance of faith? We groan, roll our eyes and hope we don’t fall asleep. What more could we honestly hear that would be different? The Bible has a lot to say about it and we never seem to really understand exactly what faith is, how to recognize it and how to measure it. Newer Christians, with zeal, pray for faith and may even look at Faith as the proverbial brass ring for Christians. They want it dearly. Many older Christians have patted these newbies on the back while politely smiling and nodding. Then, more mature Christians, bored, shrug off questions of their faith. Guess they figure “task accomplished”, they have enough.
Somewhere in our mind we have an intangible understanding of what faith is. Most simply, Faith is absence of doubt in the Lord. That translates into every area. We can have faith. We can show faith. We can be faithful. Be it noun or verb, the basic premise we all have is that faith is on a sliding scale. Measurable. The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. In response, Jesus said “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” [Luke 17] Jesus made a metaphorical reference to a very small seed in comparison to our faith and how such a small amount of faith could do amazing things. Jesus also similarly said “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” [Mark 11:23] Why does Jesus keep saying we can do tremendous things with our faith, even if it is small?
Further, why would we settle for a faith that is small? Didn’t Jesus also say that we would do these things that He had done and greater? “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” [John 14:12] The disciples understood that they needed greater faith and asked for Jesus to help them, and here Jesus says we are expected to do incredible things, even more incredible than He did. That calls for Faith! On the same note though, the disciples were amazed when demons came out when they were out ministering to the people. They did not get it. If we are to do greater works, how can we really expect to do them if we're amazed at demons obeying or if we still sit cowering in the boat afraid to walk on water?
This is where much of the breakdown happens for the maturing Christian. We know we can believe for the car payment or for Marie’s son to be healed of leukemia, but if we suddenly had no income or met Marie’s son sitting hooked up to tubes in his hospital bed… would we really believe? Would our faith evaporate? For a huge majority of Christians the answer is: Yes.
Our faith is a weak prayer we wave over this and that, like a mystic wand, to ease our mind and pat ourselves to sleep at night. We’ve lost the war on doubt. Complacency has taken over our garden.
Few will admit that this is where they now live. And few will wake up from the autopilot they have put themselves into. It’s a hard hitting realization. It means coming to terms with our deviation from what we have read in the Bible to be true. We either believe the Lord 100% or we don’t. The time for excusing ourselves for not doing the same works Jesus did and greater has come to an end.
Ask yourself this: Are you willing, brave enough, to petition the Lord to show you your lack of faith? Are you willing to have a wake up call? If you dare to ask God these things, hold on tight. Situations and relationships all around you will go upside down for a while. You may find out you are not even saved! It is in the place of crisis where we learn to depend on, believe in, trust in and completely belong to the Lord. And complete trust in Jesus is a very good place to be.