When I read the Bible, I am often struck by the miracles that people performed. Seas are parted, food drops from heaven, the moon stands still, water is turned to wine, the hungry are provided for, the sick are healed, demons are cast out, and the dead are raised-these are a few examples among many. When I think about the people that God used to perform these miracles like Moses, Joshua, Elijah, John the Baptist, Jesus (hello!) and so many more, I think that they had to be really awesome in order to get the impossible to happen. They must have had to been connected to God, I mean really connected. They probably prayed and fasted all day long, and probably lived practically sinless lives.
There is no doubt that prayer and fasting had something to do with it. However, I believe that faith plays a great role too! Not faith in faith, but faith in God, his promises and his Word. Faith in his ability to do exactly what he said and more.
When God told Moses to move forward even though the Red Sea was in front of them, Moses did not stop to pray. He trusted God and moved forward and lead the people of Israel over onto dry ground.
When Joshua led the people of Israel around the wall of Jericho, he took God at his Word even though his actions seemed foolish to most. Seven times they walked around the city wall, just as the Lord instructed them, and it was on the seventh time that the walls fell just as God said that it would.
When Peter and John healed the man who was not able to walk, they too trusted in the ability and promises of God and proclaimed the man’s healing.
The same can be said of people like Abraham, Esther, Samuel, David, Ruth, Jeremiah, Elisha, Hezekiah, and others. They are examples of people who trusted God to do big things in their life. They were not perfect and they made mistakes. But they all believed God and for that, they were rewarded.
After casting a demon out of a man in Matthew 17, Jesus told his disciples that all that they needed was faith, mustard seed size faith. Their inability to cast this demon out, then, was in direct relation to their lack of faith. But a mustard seed really is not very large, in fact it is one of the smallest seeds that there is. To me that means that there was not even a hint of faith present in the disciples and it causes me to think that the same might be true of us.
Our problem with faith, I believe, is two fold. For starters, I believe that we depend on Jesus to do things that he in fact has given us power to do. He said in Luke 20 that he has given us power over snakes, scorpions, and every power of the enemy. He also said in Matthew 17 that he has given us the ability to speak to mountains and command them to move from here to there. Though we know this, what we do is pray and ask God if he will do it. We pray and ask God to fix our churches, governments, finances and so much more, but we forget that we have the ability to change situations with one word from our mouths. We have the ability to speak life into things that are dead. We have the ability to move things, shake things and break things, but we don’t. We don’t move, we don’t act, and we stay stuck in inertia. Then we have the audacity to ask God to do the things that we can very well do as a result of the tools that he has given us.
On the other hand, our lack of faith can also be attributed to our failure to truly believe God. When we pray, we don’t expect God to come through. We really do not anticipate things to change, nor do we expect God to answer us. We pray to say that we have done it, but there is no sense of urgency or enthusiasm. I can just picture the disciples praying this half-hearted, lukewarm prayer. They did not believe that the man that they were praying for could be set free, yet they were somehow surprised that Jesus was able to deliver him.
Because of the littleness of your faith (Matthew 17.20, NASB). We don’t need very much to move the heart of God and change the situations that we encounter on a day to day basis. I believe that one of the surest ways to build our capacity here is through an abiding relationship with God. It is in that relationship, that we will begin to trust him more, and from trust, have faith. As we trust him, we will take him at his Word and believe his promises, which in turn will produce a bigger faith, which will enable us to pray and move the mountains in our lives. But it must start with the relationship with God, otherwise our faith will be shallow and have no roots.