Faith,something to think about.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
I wonder how often we think of faith, this gift of God we received. My guess is, for many, probably not often. Because of this gift we believe in God, His promise of salvation and the forgiveness of our sin. But is this all that God intends for us to know about faith?
There are those who would say, “God portions it out, some have greater faith than others.” The apostles wanted Jesus to increase their faith. “And the Lord said, ‘If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:5-6) Our faith is in God, not in the size of His gift.
Jesus’ disciples failed in their attempt to cast out an evil spirit and said, “Why could we not drive it out,’ ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” (Matthew 17:19-20) I wonder about the “littleness” of our faith. What can be done to strengthen our faith in God?
(Some versions continue with another verse. “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21) In this particular instance, besides having little faith in God, they were not prepared for this demonic encounter.)
The faith of Abraham.
The cure for “littleness of faith” in God is commitment. Abraham was committed. He could have turned back to the life he knew, but he didn’t. Instead he wandered through the land determined to follow God because of the promises he was given. An inheritance was promised and descendants “AS THE STARS IN THE HEAVENS, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.” (Hebrews 11:12, Genesis 22:17)
He followed God living as a foreigner in the land that was to be his inheritance. The children of God are like Abraham, we too have been promised an inheritance. “Blessed are the gentile, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5) Abraham was ninety-nine years old, “as good as dead,” (Hebrews 11:12) before fathering the son God had promised him. Most of us wont have to wait until we are ninety-nine to receive God’s promise.
In for a penny, in for a pound.
This old English expression describes “commitment.” If you are “in” you are willing to go “all in.” Abraham was willing, even to the point of sacrificing the son he loved. He was willing to obey. Jesus tied faith and obedience together with a parable. As soon as Jesus finished commenting about “faith like a mustard seed” (Luke 17:5) He said,
“Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, would say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’?
He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.” (Luke 17:7-10)
Strong words to make a point. We are servants of God, and to obey is what we ought to do. Disobedience is a lack of commitment to serving Him. Jesus saved us. It is our obedience that awakens us to the possibilities of faith in God. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
Lord, we truly are unworthy servants who desire to serve you faithfully. Encourage us as we seek Your glory. May your Spirit always remind us to do as “we ought.”