May 28

Matthew 17:19, 20

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" And He *said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you. (NASB)

“What was the problem?”  Jesus was frustrated by the disciples’ failure. The disciples were confused by their failure.  They had cast out demons before (see Matthew 10:8).  Why not this time?  Jesus said the problem was a faith problem.

This incident introduced the disciples—and us—to a fascinating understanding.  Faith grows!  Faith is not just faith—one level, one degree, a single reality.  Some things require a more mature faith than do other things.  If a person thinks faith is faith, when a more mature faith is required, the person wonders, “What happened?  I do not understand what is going on!  I believe, but that is not enough!”

Consider us.  First, there is the faith of discovery.  It is commonly the faith of conversion that accepts facts.  Fact one: God loved us enough to send Jesus.  Fact two: Jesus died for us.  Fact three: Jesus’ resurrection provides newness of life.  Fact four: In this new life is forgiveness.  We learn the meaning of having new life by accepting divine forgiveness.

Second, there is the faith of service.  Service involves two things: doing and motive.  Understanding that, we do because (1) Jesus is Lord and (2) we want God’s character to be obvious in our lives.  Thus, we serve because of who we are in Jesus Christ, not because of who we were in sin. 

Third, there is the faith of dying.  Discovery involves doing.  Service involves doing.  The faith of dying involves no doing.  We just trust God’s promises.  The transition from the trust of doing to the trust that believes promises is enormous!  If we are not careful, it is simple to trust our doing instead of our God. 

We act because we trust.  If that is not the basis of our acts, we are unprepared to trust His promises.

Suggestion for reflection: What is your level of faith?  (Read Hebrews 11:1-16.)

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