Faith is Crucial for Christians

Posted: March 10, 2014 in Mark

Mark 9:14-29, “Faith is Crucial for Christians”

“Taking it on a leap of faith.”  Sometimes when our culture speaks of faith, we think of it in somewhat discouraging terms.  We think of holding out hope for something that we don’t really expect, but we’re hanging on to by a thread anyway.  We think of something we don’t have any reason to believe, but we would really like to believe it, if we could.  Let’s get something straight: that’s NOT faith.  That far better describes cynicism and disbelief, rather than real faith. 

The Bible famously defines true faith – Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." []  The hope and evidence written of here is not an imagined hope of fantasy, but a confident assurance in the character and nature of God.  It is a solid trust that God will perform according to His word, just as He has always done in the past.

That’s the faith that we are called to have as Christians.  We are to believe upon the Lord Jesus, not just for our initial salvation, but we are to keep believing upon Him for daily life.  We have faith in God for now AND for eternity.  We are to have a confident, persistent assurance that God is going to be faithful to His word, no matter what.

And all of that is easier said than done.  There are times that we get rocked by our circumstances.  Like a ship at sea that has waves crashing overboard, so do we sometimes feel like everything is at chaos & it’s hard for us to trust beyond what is right in front of our eyes.  Of course, that’s when faith is most needed – when it is hardest to have.

That’s what the father of this boy experienced when he came to Jesus.  His son was in a horrendous situation, tortured on a regular basis by a demon, from which there seemed to be no hope for deliverance.  He catches wind of Jesus being close by, so he brings his son to Jesus’ disciples, only to be severely disappointed.  The disciples apparently lacked the faith to cast the demon out, and the father’s faith dwindled in the process.  When Jesus shows up, He comes to a group of defeated, disputing people – all of them lacking faith in the power and person of God.

Faith would be crucial for them, if they were to see God work.  Faith is crucial for us, as well.  Christians dare not give up on faith.  We need faith to please God, to see the power of God, and to persevere in God.  Faith is crucial for the Christian!

Mark 9:14–29
14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them.

  • Remember the context here.  When Jesus “came to the disciples,” He came to the nine who were left.  Three of them (Peter, James, and John) had been with Jesus on the mountain during the transfiguration, and the rest waited below.  According to Luke 9:37, the miraculous transfiguration had happened the previous day (perhaps the previous night), so Peter, James, and John would have been still reeling from the amazement of what they had witnessed when the four of them (including Jesus) came upon the rest.  What a contrast!  They go from a (literal) mountaintop glorious experience, to trials and arguments below.  They had seen Jesus in all His glory, but the rest had not – and now they needed to deal with the daily issues of life.  Peter, James, and John are not specifically mentioned in this account, but it would be interesting to know what was going on in their minds the entire time.
  • The rest were waiting, but they were not alone. The “scribes” were present with them, having a “dispute” of some sort.  Just their presence emphasizes the fact that Jesus had been in a Jewish area for the transfiguration, even if it wasn’t the traditional site in the area of Galilee.  Jesus seemed to have gone far to the north to get to Mt. Hermon, and either there were scribes already in the area, or they were willing to follow Jesus all the way in order to try to keep tabs on Him.
  • What the argument was about, we’re not told.  The following context seems to imply that some of it centered on the man and his son, but the Bible never says.  Did the disciples and scribes argue about their ability to cast out the demon (or lack thereof)?  The nature of the possession?  The authority of Jesus being from God or the devil?  Whatever it was, they argued while a boy and his father suffered. 
    • Don’t miss out on what is most important!  Sometimes we can get lost in arguments, and in the meantime win a debate but lose the bigger issue.  When people are hurting, we need to get them to Jesus.

15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”

  • Jesus shows up, and “immediately” the people run to Him.  Some have suggested that Jesus still had a glow on His face from the transfiguration, much like Moses had after meeting with God.  However, considering Jesus commanded Peter, James, and John to keep silent about the event until after His resurrection from the dead, and the fact that none of the synoptic gospels say anything unusual about Jesus’ appearance, this seems highly unlikely.  Jesus’ presence was enough to grab the attention of everyone around Him.  Considering His disciples were arguing with the scribes in the presence of a “great multitude,” it would make sense that people would be attracted to Jesus, thinking He would settle the argument.  At the very least, His simple arrival overshadows everything else that is going on.
  • Notice who Jesus addresses here: “the scribes.”  Not all Bible translations include this detail, as it’s not included in all of the ancient manuscripts – but it is included in the majority of them.  The Bible doesn’t record an answer from them, but it does include Jesus’ question.  It’s a bit unexpected.  Wouldn’t it be more natural for a teacher to ask His students about their position in an argument?  Wouldn’t He want to hear His disciples’ side of the story first?  Yes…if He’s trying to draw something out of His disciples.  Yet what if the teacher is trying to draw out the opposition?  He’d ask them, and that is seemingly what Jesus does.  The disciples already believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah King), even if they don’t yet understand everything about it.  It is the scribes who do not.  By asking them the question, Jesus is engaging them.  He’s giving them the opportunity to question and talk to the Messiah first-hand.
    • Jesus gives that same opportunity to everyone – no matter how much we may have opposed Jesus in the past.

17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”

  • The dad may or may not have been the subject of the argument, but he’s certainly the one who speaks up.  “I brought You my son.”  Although Jesus had not been present, technically the father could say this in truth.  Jesus had been on the mountain with Peter, James, and John, and the man had brought his son to the remaining disciples.  But bringing him to Jesus’ disciples was like bringing him to Jesus.  Jesus had entrusted the disciples with His power and authority in some of these issues, so the father had tried to partake of what the disciples offered of Jesus.
    • Although the disciples failed, this is the way it’s supposed to work.  When people come to the Church, they are coming to encounter Jesus.  As His disciples, we don’t want to get in the way! 
  • The man’s son had a dangerous “spirit” – a demon.  It gave the boy epileptic symptoms, and rendered him unable to speak or to move of his own accord.  The experience was surely horrifying and awful.  One moment everything would seem to be fine, but in the next, the boy was a prisoner in his own body – tortured by an evil spirit.
    • Question: is this biological or spiritual?  Was it a disease with the ancient culture simply unable to diagnose it, so they wrote it off as a demon?  The symptoms were certainly biological, but Jesus will treat him spiritually for the cure.  Epilepsy is a very real neurological disease, but although this boy had the symptoms, that did not seem to be his real problem.  If he had been physically ill, Jesus would have simply healed him, as He healed so many other people.  In this case, Jesus cast out the demon.  THAT was the cause that Jesus could see.
    • We cannot automatically assume a spiritual problem (demonic possession or oppression) in every case, but neither can we dismiss it out of hand.  We need to pray for spiritual discernment, and for God to supernaturally intervene, no matter what the cause may be.
  • The father must have known that Jesus had healed others and cast out other demons, otherwise he would never have brought his son to the disciples.  Yet when he did, he was disappointed.  The disciples were unable to do anything.  This seems to have been a surprise to the disciples, too.  They had been given authority by Jesus in the past to drive out demons (3:15), and apparently they had done so – but they were unable to do it here.  (And Jesus will address the reason why later on…)  Can you imagine the father’s disappointment?  Obviously he is concerned for his son, and understands that apart from a supernatural miracle, he has no hope.  So he goes to the one set of people that he knows have a proven track record of doing miracles, and they come up short.  We’re not told anything of the background of the man – if he lived in the town, or if he had travelled far to get to where the disciples were.  Who knows what the man and his son when through just to see Jesus?  And once he finally gets to Jesus’ disciples, nothing changes.  Everything is as hopeless as before.  The question now becomes: will he give up?  He had faith enough to come to Jesus – would he persist with faith, even in the midst of disappointment?
    • Too many people give up too quickly in faith.  They start well, and they have high expectations.  But if those expectations aren’t met, they are disappointed, become disillusioned, and give up.  Don’t give up!  Jesus doesn’t want us to give up in faith; He wants us to endure in faith!

19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”

  • Faithless generation” isn’t an reference to treachery (though Jesus does address the people’s sin – Matthew & Luke record Jesus saying “faithless and perverse generation”); “faithless” here simply means without faith.  They are unbelieving.  Who Jesus is actually referring to isn’t said.  Is it the father, or the disciples?  Both had lacked faith.  Is it the scribes?  They obviously lacked faith.  Was it all of them, including the crowd?  This may be a case of “if the shoe fits, wear it.”  Sadly, if there was something there was an abundance of, it was a lack of faith!
  • It seems like such a hard statement from Jesus.  Can the Son of God get frustrated?  Yes.  We may not think of Him that way very often, but God has emotions, just as the people He made in His image.  God does not swing wildly back and forth in His emotions, nor are His emotions ever out of control (as ours can be so often), but God does have emotions, and He can get frustrated & fed up.  God the Father was frustrated several times by the Hebrews at Mount Sinai and in the wilderness.  God was even frustrated by Moses when He first called Moses at the burning bush, as Moses kept resisting the Lord’s call.  In all those examples, what is the common thread?  A lack of faith – which is often linked with a lack of obedience.  Moses didn’t have the faith that God could use him (being slow of speech), so he resisted.  Israel lacked faith at Mt. Sinai when Moses was gone for so long, so they made the infamous golden calf.  Israel lacked faith that God would provide for them in the desert, so they grumbled about the manna, and about the water.  They lacked faith that God would defeat the giants in Canaan, so they refused to enter.  Each time, their lack of faith threw up a roadblock between them & God, and it caused all kinds of frustration for Him (to the point that He wanted to wipe them all out & start over from scratch!).  The same thing happens here with Jesus.  Jesus had just gotten done revealing His glory to a select group of disciples, after all of them (via Peter) had confessed Jesus as the Christ.  He had given demonstration after demonstration of His power and authority over the devil, and over life itself.  And still the Jewish scribes disputed – the disciples doubted what had been entrusted to them – the dad was disillusioned – all of them showed a lack of faith.  No wonder Jesus was so frustrated!
    • Our lack of faith frustrates God as well.  How many times must Jesus show Himself strong on our behalf before we actually start to trust Him?  What will it take for us to take Jesus at His word?  For us to live in quick obedience full of faith, rather than begrudgingly dragging out feet (if we do that at all)? …
    • BTW, a lack of faith is frustrating to God, but the opposite is also true.  Real faith pleases God.  In fact, it’s the only way TO please Him.  Hebrews 11:6, "But 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 diligently seek Him." []
  • Jesus asks two rhetorical questions in His frustration: (1) “How long shall I be with you?” (2) “How long shall I bear with you?
    • Jesus knew how long He would be there: to the cross and resurrection.  This was just around the corner, and too few people had come to faith.  Of all people, at least His disciples needed more faith than what they were showing if they would be able to stand strong in Jerusalem.
    • In the meantime, Jesus had to put up with all of this.  Would there be an end to the patience of God?  Yes & no.  Yes, ultimately there would be an end.  The faithless generation would die off, and it would be too late for them to come to faith in Christ and be saved.  At the same time, no.  If “faithless generation” could be applied to all the Jewish people, then God’s patience would not yet run out.  God had made covenant promises to Abraham, Moses, and David, and God would not break His word.  The Hebrews were indeed faithless (to the point that they would reject their own Messiah), but they will not always be so.  Eventually, there will come a day that ALL Israel comes to faith.  Finally they will live as God’s people as God has desired for them all along.
    • Our own lack of faith surely frustrates our Lord & King, but praise God that He does not give up on us as easily as we give up on Him!  Our Lord Jesus is faithful!  To those who have received Him as Lord, He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
      • To those who don’t yet know Him, you still are the faithless generation…and you have no idea how much time you have remaining.  Don’t waste the time and the opportunity you’ve been given!

20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.

  • It’s interesting that as soon as the boy is brought into the presence of Jesus, that’s when the “spirit convulsed him.”  It’s as if the demon knew what Jesus was about to do, and wanted to get his last vicious attacks in while he had the chance.
  • When God is at work, we can expect spiritual warfare.  Things don’t necessarily become easy when we’re in the will of God; many times that’s exactly when the battle becomes greater!

21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

  • Jesus asked the boy’s father about the background of the situation.  Many commentators have looked at this as Jesus just getting a diagnosis, much like a modern doctor might ask a few questions to assess a patient’s symptoms today.  However, that interpretation misses a crucial fact: we’re talking about God the Son here.  Did Jesus need this information in order to heal the boy?  Of course not.  Jesus had healed people with a word – He’d done it from a distance.  Jesus had cast demons out of other people without a single fact given about their background.  He is the all-powerful God – a description of facts aren’t needed for Him to be able to do anything at all.  Not only is He all-powerful, He’s all-knowing.  He doesn’t need us to inform Him of anything!  So with that in mind, why did Jesus ask?  The one thing that we can observe from the text alone is that He is engaging with the father (just as He had engaged with the scribes).  He’s drawing something out from the dad.  What is it Jesus wants to draw out?  Perhaps not the first statement, but the second.  In his first statement, the father gives the boy’s history and tells how the demon had tried to kill his son in the past.  That aspect alone is what the other gospel writers focus on, and Matthew and Luke write their accounts showing Jesus’ power over the devil.  Mark has the most detail of this account than anyone, and his focus is different, and is the point of Jesus’ question.  The father had his own lack of faith, and that is what Jesus needed to get him to admit.
  • If You can do anything…” It wasn’t only the disciples and the scribes who demonstrated a lack of faith in Jesus; it was the dad.  The father had brought his son to Jesus in hope of healing, but deep down the father did not yet know with any certainty if Jesus had the ability to help.  He may have started out with a glimmer of faith, but it had been dashed with the failure of the disciples.  Now he is in the very presence of Jesus, and his faith is not improving; it’s dwindling.  That’s not something for which he could point his fingers at the disciples in blame; he had to deal with it honestly first.
    • Ultimately, our faith in Jesus is between us and Jesus.  We cannot blame anyone else for our own lack of faith.  No doubt, Christians may have disappointed us in the past.  But we cannot blame our lack of faith upon them.  We need to believe, and to keep believing, no matter what other people might do.  Until we deal with our own faith honestly, then we can’t really expect any improvement in our relationship with God.  It doesn’t really matter if someone else has faith, or what they may have done in our own walk with God in faith.  What is OUR faith?  Do we have faith at all?

23 Jesus said to him, “If You can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

  • Jesus calls the man on it immediately. “If you can believe…”  Other manuscripts simply have Jesus quoting the man back to him.  “If You can?”  As in, “Do you hear what you’re saying, ‘If You can?’  Don’t you have faith that you are speaking to God?  Do you believe that God is capable of anything?”  The father wondered about Jesus’ ability.  Of course God is able.  God is able to do anything!  The God who created the universe by an act of sheer will is able.  The God who parted the Red Sea is able.  The God who raised Jesus from the dead is able.  There is nothing that our God is NOT able to do.  He can heal broken bodies – He can heal broken marriages.  He can give life to those who are spiritually dead, and He can bring restoration and life to whomever comes to Him in faith.  There is no sin that cannot be forgiven, and no past that cannot be overcome.  God is ABLE.  And yes, God is able to cast out demons – even those that have such a torturous hold has this one had upon the boy.
    • Do you believe that God can?  Do you believe that God is able?  Too often, in our readiness to get our arguments ready to explain away the times that God does not work according to our expectations, we automatically (if subconsciously) write off the possibility of God actually doing it.  We create a list in our mind of what God will or will not do.  We rationalize, “Sure, He may have worked this way in the past, but there’s no possibility of God doing that today.”  What we’re really doing at that point is saying, “God can’t.”  Christian: we worship and serve the Living God.  There is NOTHING that our God cannot do!
  • Apparently, our lack of faith can be an obstacle to actually seeing God work. “All things are possible to him who believes.”  When Jesus says “all things,” that’s exactly what He means: ALL things.  We serve a limitless God, so there is nothing that is beyond His ability to work.  However, not everyone sees it.  Why?  Some do not believe.  They do not have faith.  Before we get too far, let’s look at a few things Jesus is not saying.
    • Jesus is not saying that our faith is what gives God power.  God needs us for absolutely nothing.  He was gloriously all-powerful prior to creating the universe, and His power did not diminish simply because He made Man in His image.  God is all-powerful with or without our faith.
    • Jesus is not saying that WE are the deciding factor in a miracle of God.  Some supposed “faith healers” have taught that a person they laid hands upon may not have been healed because they didn’t have enough faith to be healed.  In essence, they were con-men blaming the victim.  Jesus healed many people in the gospel accounts, and we read of the faith of only a few.
  • So if that is the case, what IS Jesus saying?  Simple: only those who go to God in faith see God work in faith.  God is not limited by our faith (He has no limits), but many times He chooses to act only according to faith.  This was demonstrated earlier when Jesus was rejected at His hometown of Nazareth.  Mark 6:4–6, "(4) But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.” (5) Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. (6) And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching." []  It’s not that Jesus stopped being God the Son when He walked into Nazareth; it’s that they were offended by His being there.  They did not receive Him in faith, and so Jesus did not do much there. It’s not a limit upon God; it’s a self-imposed limit upon those who are supposed to be seeking God.  IOW, the problem isn’t the Lord’s; it’s ours.
  • So what happens if someone has an issue that God desires to deal with, but they don’t have the faith to take it to God in the first place?  They will keep dealing with it on their own.  Salvation works in exactly the same way.  Jesus has already made the provision for every single human being to be saved.  He’s died upon the cross, risen from the grave, and sent the news out to all the world.  Yet we know that not everyone is saved.  Why?  Because they haven’t humbly asked in faith for Jesus to save them.  God is not limited at all in His power to save by their lack of faith, but He will only act TO save in the presence of their faith. Likewise with other issues such as healing, spiritual warfare, even demonic oppression, etc.  If we never take these issues to God in prayer, or if we don’t have enough faith to trust God with these things, then we cannot expect God to do much of anything at all.  Why would God act according to a prayer request that we do not believe He is able to fulfill?  Why would God act according to a prayer request that we are unwilling to take to Him?
  • Yet when we do, what will we learn? “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” All things are possible!  Keep in mind that “are possible” does not equal “are guaranteed.”  We need to remember that God is God & we’re not.  In God’s will, all things are indeed possible.  But just because we will something does not mean that God wills it.  We go to God in faith, but we also go in humility, trusting God to know and to do what is best.

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

  • The father knew what he lacked, and the good news is that he also knew where to turn.  He did not have much faith, but with what little he had, he asked for more.   Every single one of us wants more faith.  We want to have the faith to walk on water like Peter, or to be as bold as Paul, or to do all sorts of things that we read in the Bible.  For that matter, we may just want enough faith to get through the day!  And so often, it feels as if we come up short.  We look at our walk with Christ, and just get discouraged by a lack of faith. Where you lack, ask for more!  We all have a starting measure of faith, but that need not be all we ever have.  Like the loaves and fish, our faith can multiply just as abundantly if we but ask.  ASK! What is it that we miss out on simply because we lack the faith to ask?  As least ask for the faith!

25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

  • Apparently the cries of the father (or at least the convulsions of the son) attracted more of a crowd than what had already gathered.  Perhaps things were going to get too confusing, and Jesus knew He needed to go ahead and heal the boy – perhaps Jesus wanted to use the father’s own coming to faith to help bring others to faith.  Whatever the reason, Jesus knew that the father was ready, and He would now heal the boy. 
  • Jesus firmly commands the demon and casts it out.  Apparently the demon had a worse grip upon the boy than what the father previously described.  It stopped the boy from speaking, from moving, and from hearing, too.  It completely trapped the child, and the situation was hopeless without the miracle from God – which is exactly what Jesus provided.
  • The demon had to leave immediately, upon Jesus’ command, but he didn’t leave quietly.  Just as the demon had tried to kill the child many times before, it tried one last time to inflict as much damage as it could.  Thankfully, Jesus was fully in control, and no matter what the demon did, Jesus was able to provide immediate healing.  (Reminiscent of when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead…)

28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

  • It’s a good question from the disciples.  They had been able to cast out demons in the past.  Why not this one? Why not now?  Surely they were just as perplexed and as disappointed as the father, if not more. 
  • Jesus’ answer seems curious at first glance.  How could He say that “prayer and fasting” were required?  After all, Jesus didn’t take the time to fast and pray.  He was able to cast out the demon immediately, without any obstacle.  He’s also the Son of God. 🙂  Big difference!  The Messiah did not need to pray & fast, but His disciples did.
    • BTW – not all Bible translations include “fasting.”  Virtually all the ancient manuscripts include it, with just a couple excluding it. 
  • That all still begs the question as to why.  Why were prayers and fasting needed in this case, as opposed to all others?  Think about the context.  The whole problem pointed to by Jesus was a lack of faith.  Whether it was the Jews in general, the scribes, the father, or the disciples, everyone lacked the faith that was necessary for what they faced.  The disciples obviously had a little faith, but it wasn’t enough.  What they needed to do was to exercise what little faith – which is the point of prayer and fasting.  It’s not that there is something magical about the combination (or even by prayer alone).  A muttered prayer cannot do anything by itself.  What was needed was faith-filled prayer, and fasting would assist with that.  What do prayer and fasting have in common?  (1) They direct our attention to God, (2) they take time.  No one fasts for 10 minutes, or even a couple of hours.  We even have  name for a fast that is broken after 4-5 hours in the morning: lunch. J  That’s not a fast.  Fasting takes dedication and time, as does heartfelt faith-filled prayer.  We’re accustomed to little 30-second prayers as we lift a few requests to the Lord & go about our day.  We give God “popcorn prayers,” and don’t offer too much more.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with short prayers (that may be all we have time for, especially in an emergency), but there are some things that are worthy of a bit more attention.  When Jesus speaks of “prayer and fasting,” He’s speaking of dedicated, intentional time bringing something to the Lord in faith.  He’s speaking of persevering in faith.  The disciples needed persistent faith.  They had a little faith to begin with, but they didn’t have what was needed to endure till the end.
    • That is so often our problem.  We have enough faith to take a request to God initially, but not enough to endure for the battle.  We need persistent faith!
    • When was the last time you spent time in persistent, enduring prayer?  Perhaps the last time you fasted, taking intentional time to dedicate yourself to the Lord in prayer about a situation?  Maybe you have a prodigal child for which you need to endure in prayer.  Maybe you have a spiritual battle that seems overwhelming.  Maybe there’s a medical diagnosis that looks like a mountain in your path.  What we need is faith…enduring, persistent faith.  If you don’t have it, ask for it.  And what you do have, exercise.  Pray & fast, and intentionally dedicate time to go before the Lord.  (We have opportunities to do this every Sunday morning prior to worship service – every 1st Saturday at 4pm – every 5th Sunday at our Afterglow services.  Use them!)

Conclusion:
The scribes lacked faith as they argued with Jesus’ disciples.  The father lacked faith as he questioned Jesus’ ability to work.  The disciples lacked faith as they were unwilling to persevere in the ministry before them.  Their lack of faith caused them to miss out on the work of God which was able to be performed right in front of their eyes.  It’s only when their attention is put back on Jesus, and He shows them what they lack that they see the power of God.

  • Faith is needed to please God.  It’s hard to imagine God getting frustrated, but that’s exactly what our faithlessness (our unwillingness to believe) does.  God has proven Himself to us time & time again, and it’s high time that we simply take Him at His word.  God delights in faith, as Jesus showed when commended the faith of the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mt 15:28), and Roman centurion (Mt 8:10).  It is impossible to please God without faith as it is foundational to every single aspect of our relationship with Him.
  • Faith is essential to see the power of God.  Our God is limitless, but we impose limits upon ourselves when we neglect to go to God in faith.  When we doubt what God can do, we will refuse to take things to God in prayer.  We will be unable to believe that God IS able, and the only person that hurts is us.  We miss out on seeing the power of God at work, and our walk with Jesus stagnates and even dwindles.  That’s not what God would have for us!  He wants us to walk filled with faith, believing that He can do all things…because He can!
  • Faith is persistent if we are to endure with God.  Some spiritual battles are not settled in an instant.  Some things require more than a muttered mention and a popcorn prayer.  We need to have persevering, enduring faith that holds up for the long haul.  We go to God in prayer again and again – not in a vain attempt to wear Him down through our nagging, but to rely on His power for the journey.  Some things simply take time, and we need faith if we are to endure and see it through.

 

Faith is crucial for Christians!  When we think of having faith in Jesus, we almost always tend to think of our initial salvation (which is important).  At the same time, we don’t want to neglect how vital it is AFTER we experience our forgiveness.  Faith is no less essential in our sanctification as it is in our justification.  We need faith to walk with Jesus, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and to know and understand the will of God.  We need faith to endure on a daily basis, and to continually take our request to God in prayer.  We need faith for everything.

Do you lack faith?  ASK!  Perhaps you’ve been struggling with an ongoing issue and your faith has been lagging.  You’ve been disappointed that God hasn’t met your expectations (or that His followers have let you down), and you’ve become somewhat disillusioned.  Don’t give up and walk away from Jesus; that’s even more reason to go TO Jesus in faith.  What you lack can be provided, if you but ask.  Even if that is a struggle, then ask for the faith to be willing to ask.  God delights in demonstrations of faith, and surely He delights in helping us increase our faith.  ASK.

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Comments
  1. John Warren Jr. says:

    Like a mustard seed, a little faith has a lot of potential.

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