MATTHEW 17:19-21: “Then the disciples came to Jesus in private. They asked, “Why couldn’t we drive out the demon?” He replied, “Because your faith is much too small. What I’m about to tell you is true. If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, it is enough. You can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there.’ And it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (NIRV)
OBSERVATION: Do I have enough faith? That is a question I have asked myself over and over again in my life. As I read the Gospels and the Book of Acts, I see the great acts of faith that were done by Jesus and the Apostles, and find myself comparing my faith to theirs. I think I know how the 9 disciples, who did not go with Jesus up to the mount of transfiguration, felt when He returned and healed a demon possessed boy that they could not heal. They saw how effortlessly Jesus cast out this demon and asked – “Why couldn’t we drive out the demon?”
Jesus reply is straightforward – “Because your faith is much too small”. This must have cut them to the heart, as they heard it. Yet, was Jesus confronting their quantity of faith – or their quality (focus) of faith? This is where we can miss the focal point of Jesus’ teaching and end up on the wrong road. To correct and guide His disciples Jesus contrasts their “little faith”, with a “mustard seed”. These were both small, yet only one of them held the power to do the works of God. It was not the quantity that Jesus wanted to emphasize to His disciples, but the quality of their faith.
Faith that is focused on quantity will always lead to lack. It focuses on one’s own knowledge or ability, or a set of pre-determined steps to follow. Almost everyone falls into this trap. There is something innate in each one of us that gravitates toward the law as a means of righteousness. We have a great difficulty walking in grace apart from our own human effort. Yet it is only grace that releases the power of God. And grace is not received through our human effort. Grace is a gift of God.
Grace directs our heart toward the Father. Grace directs our heart toward Jesus. Grace directs our heart toward the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives. And when we are walking in grace – we are walking in the full potential of the Kingdom of God. It is only then that we can be used to move mountains. Why? Because it is only then that we will return all the glory to God who is the one who has done the work. The disciples, much like most of us, were focused on what they could do, or what they did not do. Jesus was focused on one thing, and that was the Kingdom of God!
The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. It is not how much we have – but Who we have! David understood this truth when he wrote these words in Psalm 18,
- “I love you, Lord. You give me strength. The Lord is my rock and my fort. He is the One who saves me. My God is my rock. I go to him for safety. He is like a shield to me. He’s the power that saves me. He’s my place of safety.” Psalm 18:1-2 NIRV
David was not depending upon his strength, he was depending upon the Lord’s strength. David did not see his military ability as the means for his victory, he saw the power of God as his victory. David did not find his safety within himself, he found his safety in his Rock, the Lord. David found his victory through God’s Grace!
Lord, forgive me for the times when I am tempted to place my faith in faith, or in my own ability. Guard me from trusting in methods of my own making. Open my eyes to see You and the wonder and power of Your Kingdom – and increase my faith. Help me to walk in the fullness of Your grace today as I humble my heart before You.
In Jesus Name!