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A single mustard seed

Faith is the cornerstone of the Christian religion. If we ask our secular world what faith is, you might hear that faith is any firm belief based upon confidence in the authority and veracity of another, rather than upon one’s own knowledge, reason, or judgment; earnest and trustful confidence: as, to have faith in the testimony of a witness; to have faith in a friend. Biblically, we can look in Hebrews:

(Hebrews 11:1) 1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

In Christianity, faith is hoping that the message of the Gospel is true. The message? “That the good news is that Jesus died for our sins and bridged the gap between us and God. Because of His sacrifice on the Cross, there is a way for us to be right with God and spend eternity in heaven. The reality of the Gospel’s message can affect every part of our lives, change the way we think which, in turn, will change how we behave.” Simply stated, that is the Gospel’s message of hope.

Does this faith in the Gospel’s message have any real power? Can this faith cause us to act on what we have not experienced yet, to believe the promises in the Bible even if they have not been fulfilled yet? Is it this faith that allows us to trust our Creator in the most dire and hopeless situations?

While most would agree that the big hope all people carry is for an eternal existence without the pain and disappointment of this world. A joyful, thankful, and peaceful eternity! That is the Gospel’s message but that is not the only message. The Gospel also tells us how to enjoy life now, in our lifetime. Faith proves to our own minds, the reality of things that we cannot see by our human eye. Because of all that God revealed, we can see God as holy, just, and good, now. This Christian view of faith is be explained by the many examples of persons in former times. It is the reason why the retention of history is critical to our hope and joy in our world. It has been through faith and an obedience to God that remarkable accomplishments have been achieved despite human failings and sufferings. It is the Bible that gives the most true and exact account of the origin of all these things, and we are expected to believe them, and not rewrite them to fit a human narrative. All humanity has already been given sufficient evidence to see the works of creation that were brought about simply by the command of God. Hence, God holds all power and, therefore, it will be faith in Christ that provides access to God’s power; Christ is God.

Without faith in Christ, there is no substance, no purpose, or strength in a person’s life. People may have faith in other worldly gods, themselves, or even material things, but this type of faith is temporal. For the faith we are talking about needs to rely on an eternal source of energy. We witness this faith with power in God’s servants, from the very beginning of the world. Wherever the principles of the Gospel’s message have been planted, there is always a regenerating Spirit of God present. With the planting of the Gospel comes Truth and Hope. Our hope in the Gospel is that God will perform all He has promised us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Our joy will come from knowing that our hope is built on Truth. Scriptures are filled with examples of faith, hope and joy. Let us look at a few of the examples of the “power of faith.”

(Luke 5:17-29) – “One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven.’ The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, ‘Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”

Place yourself into the above verses of Luke. Ask yourself this question, do you have friends with a love for you and a faith in Jesus that they would do the same for you? Would your friends bring you to Jesus no matter what the circumstances are? In Luke, the paralyzed man is not only brought to Jesus, but they also had to remove roof tiles and lower their friend into a room in a home where Jesus was teaching. Despite being paralyzed, the man, soon to be healed, is assumed to have made sufficient impact on other people’s lives. His friends had gone far beyond the norm to get their friend to Jesus. Do you have friends that would do the extraordinary to expose you to Jesus? Even Jesus was impressed by their faith, that was what Jesus noticed first. It was not their knowledge of Scriptures, their testimonies,  wealth or position in society that drew Jesus’ attention. It was their unselfish act of faith for a friend. Jesus’ response was a double bonus. The sins of the paralyzed man were forgiven and he was healed. Faith and hope brought joy to both the paralyzed man and his friends that day.

(Matthew 17:20) – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Whether you take the power to move a mountain literally or not, is up to you. However, Jesus is stated here that real faith, faith in the Gospel’s message, faith in Him does not have to be large to have power. A mustard seed worth of faith can do many great things, save lives, change lives, improve lives virtually anywhere. A mustard seed is no bigger than the head of a pin.

(Matthew 14:29-30) – “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew also recalls the time Peter walked on water. We are given this story to show what doubt does to the power of faith. The world is busy planting doubt, doubts about God’s existence, creation, even whether eternal life exists. Doubts about virtually anything you can think of, including race, religion, sex, your job, you name it! The world is Satan’s turf, doubt is Satan’s specialty. The fastest way to lose all hope is to have doubts about the Gospel’s message.

While this study may be about theological views on faith and power, it is not simply an academic exercise. The reality is that it will be through faith that you influence the way you live your life each day. Your faith has a profound impact on how you treat others. Seeing Christ as the sole source of your redemption will prevent you from becoming spiritually prideful, considering yourself as more deserving of His grace than another. When pride is replaced by love, a multitude of sins are covered and prevents a great deal of disunity.

(1 Peter 4:8) – ”Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Paul says to “serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:13-14). The appropriate response to God’s graciousness and grace is love, and this love should be seen in our care and concern for those around us, including unbelievers. Though we are by no means to dismiss sinful behavior, we are called to imitate Christ in all our interactions. The power of faith found in the Gospel’s message of hope can make our world more joyful. Christ is calling all of us to trust His Truth, to give it a try.

Contemplations

  • Do you have friends that would go to extra ordinary efforts to bring you to Christ?
    • Ideas to Explore: The witness of one’s testimony is a sign of their love and concern for others. Are you open and encouraging to those who share their joy of Christ? Is your faith in Christ visible so that your friends would know you would want to go and see Jesus? 
  • To what extent would you go through to bring a friend of yours to Jesus?
    • Ideas to Explore: Are you inviting, do you try to include others in your faith walk? Are holidays an expression of joy for God? 
  • Do people see joy in your life or unhappiness? 
    • Ideas to Explore: Are you someone who needs to be lowered through the roof to Jesus or are you someone who has already been lowered? Is your faith externally visible in a way that draws others to Christ?
  • What are the areas of doubt that still linger in your thoughts?
    • Ideas to Explore: Are you spending time with those doubts in an attempt to remove them? Doubts are normal so what life habits do you have that work to strengthen your faith?
  • Jesus says you can walk on water and move mountains – Do you think you can?
    • Ideas to Explore: What keeps you from believing what Jesus tells you?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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