THE MUSTARD SEED FAITH
…”Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, 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” (Matthew 17:20 NIV).
. The background to this passage is that, a man had brought his sick son to the disciples for cure while Jesus was away; but the disciples could not cure the child. This man waited at the foot of the mountain until Jesus came down from his Transfiguration (Matt 17:1-13). He reported to him the inability of his disciples to cure his son who is suffering from seizures. Jesus rebuked the demon of sickness and instantly the boy was healed. The disciples later came to Jesus in private to find out why they couldn’t cure the boy? His response is the passage quoted above.
One may ask; “What is faith”? “Why would Jesus qualify the faith the disciples need to have as ‘little’”? These questions undoubtedly need exploring and explanation. According to the writer of Hebrews chapter 11:1, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (NLT). This is a plausible definition; but somehow, some critics may find problem with it. Why? Faith could become panacea for all our woes and sufferings in this world. Some people will use it to replace hard work and tenacity of purpose which often bring rewards of self fulfillment and accomplishment with shear laziness. However, as Christians, we do know and understand the role faith plays in our walk with God. To me, faith is not limited to Christians only – everyone in this world has some measure of faith. Faith therefore, could be categorized in three ways: – the natural faith, the saving faith, and the waiting or trusting faith.
THE NATURAL FAITH is the kind of faith we are born with. By nature we are all people of faith – both Christians and non-Christians. Faith plays a vital role in our day to day existence. For example, it is because of faith we are able to interact and move freely with our neighbors, co-workers, and other associates in life. To a large extent, the natural faith undergirds all our business transactions as we buy clothing, houses, appliances, cars, groceries, or travel. It is this faith that enables us to have sound sleep in hotels, enjoy our meals at the restaurants and take our medications without fear. The same faith make us take risks in live to pursue education, start up a business venture, emigrate to another country, or use our God-given gifts and talents to help ourselves and others. Yes, we might be cautious in our moves and dealings with people; but our natural faith makes it easier for us to live freely and enjoy each other.
THE SAVING FAITH is the faith that brings us to God through Christ. It is the kind of faith that convicts an individual to see himself in need of a Savior. Some of the following passages could bring that conviction and lead a person to accept Jesus as his Savior. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us; “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast”. Jesus cried out to the crowd and said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Acts 4:12 reads, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given to men by which we must be saved.” The apostle Paul answered the Philippian jailer’s question: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” By saying; “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household” (Acts 16:31). Romans 10:10 & 17 reads; “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”
THE WAITING (TRUSTING) FAITH is the faith we need to have after we have come to Jesus. This faith is also a ‘trusting’ faith – a faith that will keep us afloat and our heads cool when the storms of life seem to sink our boat; as we travel with Jesus on life’s high seas. This faith is wholly and totally anchored in God and his faithfulness in keeping his covenant and promises with those who walk with him. This faith helps the Christian in many ways some of which are outlined below:
We are able to please God (Hebrew 11:6).
We are able to believe God for what he has promised to do for us (Heb 10:21-25).
We are able to live a righteous life (2 Timothy 2:19-24; 1 John 2:28).
We are able to overcome every adversity as we live in obedience to God (2 Timothy 2:8-10; 1 John 5:1-5; 2 John 6).
We are able to prepare our minds to accept what life throws at us because of our relationship with Jesus (Job 1:20-22; Philippians 1:21).
It evokes confident joy in us as Christian with the hope of receiving our crowns when we are about to die (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
It is therefore not out of the ordinary the writer of Hebrews 11:1 to define faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Jesus knows the importance of faith in the life of the believer; so told his disciples to have faith as little as mustard seed. God is not looking for a big faith from us; he is interested in those who have little but consistent faith in him. Faith, that deepens our relationship and opens wide our lines of communication with him irrespective of the pressures and circumstances of life. For, it was such faith that men like Cain, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel had as they served God faithfully without wavering and quitting.
In our world today, God is still interested in how you and I apply the mustard faith we have to honor and bring glory to his name in this world of instant fame and self-aggrandizement. In conclusion, let’s remind ourselves of the lyrics of the hymn “The Solid Rock” by Edward Mote:
My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand – All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand – All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.
His oath, His covenant, His blood Support me in the whelming flood; When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand – All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking ground.
When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found, Dressed in His righteousness alone, Faultless to stand before the throne. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand – All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.1
Dr. & Rev (Mrs.) Charles Mantey
Disciples Revival Church
1 Mantey, Charles. July 2014 Newsletter
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