Faith and Christ-following are inseparably linked. My post from yesterday began with two classic verses on faith from Hebrews: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb 11:6), and, “Faith is being sure of what we hoped for, and certain of what we cannot see” (Heb 11:1). Then I asked a simple, yet troubling question; “Does your level of faith match that expectation?”
The high points from yesterday’s article are; biblical faith will stretch us out of our comfort zone, which is why we resist it so often. The average church-attender has grieved (Eph 4:30) and quenched (1 Thess 5:19) the Holy Spirit so often that they cannot remember the last time they experienced the flow of the Holy Spirit in and through them. Having sincere faith does not make faith real. Having great faith does not mean everything happens on our perceived timetable. Faith is messy
Our lack of faith frustrates Jesus. In Matthew 17 we find a story of a Dad bringing his son to Jesus for healing because the disciples could not help the son. The Dad says, “I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him” (Matt 17:16). Then from Jesus comes a response out of deep frustration; “O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I stay with you?” How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” (Matt 17:17)
Later the disciples asked Jesus, “Why couldn’t we heal the boy?” (Matt 17:19) Jesus responded with “Because of your lack of faith.” (Matt 17:20) Wow! What an amazing exchange… makes you wonder what Jesus would say to our churches and individual Christ-followers today.
Great faith isn’t so much about being great in quantity, as it is about quality. Jesus went on to say, “If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain. ‘move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 17:20-21) The phrase “of a mustard seed” indicates small, but quality verses large, but weak.
Jesus’s frustration was because he knew that our absence of faith forfeits the power of God flowing in and through us, which is exactly what happened in the story I am referencing from Matthew 17. The disciples were unable to heal the boy due to their lack of faith. I wonder what have we have been unable to do due to our lack of faith?
Biblical faith begins and ends with God. God does not need you and I to make up stuff for Him to do. Biblical faith is us choosing to believe in Him and what He wants to accomplish, then aligning our hearts, minds, and actions to walk in agreement with His purposes and plans. Biblical faith is always in agreement with God. No word from God is without power… but neither does He need us to “speak” for Him.
The average christian has traded a messy, uncomfortable, stretching faith, for a tame, comfortable, set of facts. But they have also traded off the very power that God promised to transform their lives, their churches, and their communities. But God has a better way. He wants us to choose to receive His gift of faith though the Holy Spirit so He can transform us, then use us as His agents of hope and restoration.