“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)
“And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:25)
On that stormy night so long ago, Jesus addressed His disciples on three issues concerning faith. He addressed the problem of “no faith”, He addressed the problem of “little faith”, and now He addresses them concerning what may be the greatest problem of all: “Where is your faith?”
The same question could be asked of Christians today. Where is your faith?
There are those who mistakenly have faith in themselves. They have been told by well-meaning but errant advisors, “God helps those who help themselves.”
They spend their lives dependent upon their own abilities, or wisdom, or knowledge expecting that God will stand by as a faithful servant to bless all of their endeavors whether it be His will or not.
“These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.” (Psalm 50:21)
Although they may enjoy temporal success in this world, and may on occasion be able to deliver themselves out of precarious circumstances by their own devices, one who is dependent upon himself is headed for spiritual bankruptcy.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6)
Then there are those who put their faith in others. It may be due to the fact that a certain individual possesses great knowledge, or apparent wisdom, power, or even anointing. They lift him or her up more highly than they ought and bestow their faith in a human being.
No matter how well intentioned, that individual will ultimately stumble, and those who have put their faith in that person will fail.
If we have no faith, the adversary of our soul has us in his grasp. If we have little faith, he is not concerned about us because we have no power.
If our faith begins to grow, then he attempts to distract us by causing us to misplace our faith by putting it in a person, whether that person be ourselves or another.
This was the condition of the disciples in the boat, for they said of Jesus, “What manner of man is this?” They had their faith in Jesus for the wrong reason.
Some followed Him for the miracles, some followed Him for the provisions, and some even followed Him hoping that He would restore the glory of Israel.
For whatever reason, by their own statement of “What manner of man is this?” they revealed that they still believed they were following just a man. In their own hearts, they had put their faith in a man.
A very special man. A very anointed man. But still just a man.
It wasn’t until after the resurrection that they came to believe in who He really is.
“And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” (John 20:28)
“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
The last misdirection for faith is the most insidious, for it impersonates itself as the true spiritual direction for faith. This is where much of the church today has been deceived.
This is when we take the faith that God has given us, this ability to believe and not doubt, and we put that faith in our faith.
The world calls it the power of positive thinking. The church spiritualizes it and calls it the power of faith or the power of prayer.
It is believing that by praying hard enough or long enough, it is the prayer itself that changes the situation. Or similarly, it is the idea that believing strong enough for something to happen will cause it to come to pass.
We even have phrases to describe this that sound very spiritual. “Prayer changes things” and “Faith changes things” sound good, but they miss the mark. They may just slightly miss the mark, but they are a miss nonetheless.
We ought to be saying, “God changes things.”
There is only one direction for faith:
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)
“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mark 11:23)
The mountain will be removed when spoken to, the prayer will be answered and the things desired received, but the foundation that must be established before any of this can happen is to have faith in God.
There can be no other direction for faith.
This ability to believe and not doubt, to have this God kind of faith, is a gift given by God for the sole purpose of returning it to Him: to believe and not doubt in Him, to believe and not doubt in His power and ability, to believe and not doubt in His nature, His love, and His faithfulness.
“God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.” (Psalm 62:11)
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Mat. 28:18)
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39)
“To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.” (Psalm 139:1-4)
“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” (Psalm 139:17-18)
Before Moses came, God revealed Himself to men as the Almighty God. When Moses came, He revealed Himself to the nation of Israel as the Lord. When Jesus came, He revealed God to each individual as the Father.
God is your Heavenly Father. He knows your innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing can separate you from the love that He has for you through Christ Jesus. His thoughts about you are so many that they cannot be numbered.
And when Jesus died on Calvary, the veil that separated God from man was torn by God from the top to the bottom, so that there is nothing that separates you from God. You can get as close to God as you want to.
Nothing can stop you from being as intimate with your Heavenly Father as you want to be, to know Him, and His faith, and the power of His resurrection.
Innumerable books and sermons have been written upon the subject of faith. Faith has been dissected, taken apart, examined, and put back together in every way that can be imagined.
But I fear as the Apostle Paul did:
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2Cor. 11:3)
The sum of the matter and the simplicity of the matter is this:
God has given to every believer “the measure of faith.” Every believer has been given the same amount of faith. It is God’s faith, not your own.
It is like a mustard seed and needs to grow. Hearing from God is the only thing that will activate it and make it grow.
Hearing and recognizing the voice of God can only come by the Word of God. By spending time with God in reading, studying, and meditating upon His Word.
By getting to know and understand God intimately, you will hear His voice and know His will in every situation and will be able to take this God kind of faith, this ability to believe and never doubt, and redeposit it back in God and see God manifest His power and perform His will in all His glory.
You will pray and believe according to His will, mountains will be removed, things prayed for will be received, and the glory of the Lord will be your rearward.
In other words, God’s glory will remain when everything else is said and done.
And you will know what it is to walk in the faith of God.
(TO BE CONTINUED)