Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The remedy for a little faith (March 24)

And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.  But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”  (Matthew 17:20-21 NASB)

“I think I just don’t have enough faith…” many will tell me in defeat when I challenge them to believe in a big God. People often decide that having a big faith is a monumental task that requires an almost monk-like holiness worthy of answered prayers. That’s not what Jesus is saying in this verse as He answered His disciples’ questions as to why they couldn’t cast out a demon from a little boy.  Jesus tells them that some demons only leave due to prayer and fasting. But Jesus wasn’t teaching the practice of religious rites, He was teaching a lifestyle of devotion to God.

A lifestyle of devotion is not earning holiness points with God, but living daily with a determination that God’s glory has to be shown in your life so that others can see and know that He is real and alive. For that to happen, you’d automatically be in constant prayer. You would want to hear from Him, share with Him, ask for direction, act on His guidance and relish moments alone in His presence. 1 Thessalonians 5 tells us to pray without ceasing and to rejoice always. That would be boring and tedious if it were just a religious practice, but when you are in love with your Lord, you can’t stand to be out of His presence because He is real to you. Fasting is normally considered abstaining from food that we offer as a different form of prayer, but abstaining from fleshly desires in general is a fast that we all should be living out daily.  

Jesus was plain as day: you can even command a mountain to move – you have the authority!  The two problems that many have when it comes to seeing miracles is that either they are not living in ceaseless prayer and the denying of their flesh (which is the mark of a true Christian – you need to question your salvation if this isn’t happening). And secondly, you need to have such a bold trust in God that you’ll actually command a mountain to move. Funny how many lopsided Christians I know. Either they’re whole-hog “name it and claim it” believers who insist on big miracles, but live fleshly undisciplined lives, or I see good, moral and holy Christians who beg God to remove their problems, but won’t face them down and command them to drown in the sea. Both extremes live in defeat.

Our challenge is not to be the happy medium between the two, but to be both extremes at the same time. Radical Christianity is loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and then rising up in faith to fight for His Kingdom. You have the authority and the ability to be this kind of hero. You and I can move our mountains. We only have a littleness of faith when we don’t try. 

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