7698 - Faith

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As Jesus was teaching his apostles one day, they expressed their desire for Jesus to increase their faith.

Listen to Luke 17:5-6 and then we will discuss this.

“The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.”

The apostles had progressed in their relationship with Jesus to the point where they understood that faith was an attribute needed by every follower of Jesus.

They had just heard from Jesus that they were to forgive any offending brother who came and repented.

They knew that forgiveness is a matter from the heart and not just the lips. The heart must be set straight. There must be no left over bitterness or resentment.

These apostles deserve our appreciation for having such understanding, and then having the boldness to ask Jesus to increase their faith so this kind of forgiveness might be extended in our own lives.

Jesus did not directly explain to them how faith could be increased. Rather Jesus opened their eyes to a simple truth, that the amount of faith is not nearly so important as the exercise of the faith that is present.

Faith is invisible. Faith is of the spiritual realm. It is a total trust and reliance upon Sovereign, Almighty God to direct our life.

That carries with it the yieldedness to obey his Word and direction for our life. Faith contains no degree of independence. Nor does it possess any reluctance to do his will in every situation.

Jesus told these men that if we have faith even as small as a mustard seed that miraculous things will happen. Just think, a mulberry tree can be uprooted and planted in the sea with such small faith.

Think about it. Its not the abundance of our faith, but the genuiness of our faith that is necessary.

Also consider, its not our power which works because of faith, but it is the power of omnipotent God which works. There is nothing too difficult for God. The power of God is activated by even the smallest faith from one of his children.

Scripture discloses that the initial gift of faith is given by God (Rom. 12:3; Eph. 2:8-9; 1 Tim. 1:14).

Faith grows within each believer as they become increasingly saturated with His Word (Rom. 10:17; 2 Cor. 10:15; 2 Thes. 1:3). In some way this relates to our growth of understanding about the nature of God. As we see his work accomplished throughout Scripture, we become more fully convinced and reliant upon Him.

For example, as we read about Abraham’s faith in Romans 4:20,21(RSV) we find: “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”

As one sees Abraham’s faith culminating in the birth of the promised son when he was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 Years old, it strengthens our faith. Notice, giving God glory was an agent in growing Abraham’s faith and it will also be involved in ours.

In Hebrews 13:7 we are told: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”

So it will help us to grow in faith by examining the lives of those who have been faithful in serving the Lord, and who have had an influence in our own life. Look at the outcome of such lives and then imitate their faith by trusting and relying upon God even as they did in life.

So Christians today profit by having God’s Holy Word, the Bible. If we want to grow in our faith we should:

• Saturate ourselves in the knowledge of and obedience to His Word.

• Give God the glory for every victory in life. And

• imitate the faith of faithful leaders who have preceded us.