Listen: 50 Question 1

Let’s start by reading of an incident in the scriptures involving faith in action.  Mark 9:17-25 says, “And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.  He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.  Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.”  This is the account of a man that brought his son to the Lord Jesus, that He would heal him of the demon that he had.  It was an act of faith that the man brought his son to the Lord, but he learned that his faith was quite small.  This man asked the Lord to increase his faith by saying, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

The Apostles made a similar request in Luke 17:5-6, “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”  The Apostles desired greater faith, but the Lord spoke to them of what could be accomplished by even a little faith.  The Lord used the example of a mustard seed to teach the Apostles about faith.  He spoke of a mustard seed in Matthew 13:31-32 where He said, “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”  We are taught here that although small, the mustard seed can grow into a great tree.  So, we learn that it’s not the amount of faith that we have that’s so important, but who we have faith in.  We also learn that true faith in the Lord will grow and become stronger.

Perhaps those that seem to have great faith have gone through experiences that have caused their faith to grow.  After the Lord healed the man’s son of the demon that possessed him, don’t you think the man’s faith grew and became stronger?  When we exercise the faith that we have in the Lord, our faith grows.  How do we exercise our faith?  Let’s read Psalms 37:3-5, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”  We exercise our faith by giving our cares to the Lord.  We exercise our faith by trusting in Him to meet our needs.  We exercise our faith by reading God’s Word and obeying its teachings.

To those of us who are saved, we exercised faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the cross as payment of our sin debt.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  The faith that gives salvation is just the beginning of a life of faith.  Now, as the children of God, we must learn to live by faith as we read in Romans 1:17, “The just shall live by faith.”

Proverbs 3:5-7 tells us to, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”

I’m reminded of the words to the old hymn, “Learning to Lean”

I’m learning to lean, learning to lean,

Learning to lean on Jesus.

Finding more power than I’d ever dreamed,

I’m learning to lean on Jesus.

There’s glorious victory each day now for me,

Since I found His peace so serene;

He helps me with each task, if only I’ll ask;

Every day now I’m learning to lean.

May the Lord teach us all to lean on Him in every situation, especially when the will of God goes against our natural reasoning.