I received this question in response to yesterday’s devotional: “Does a person have faith or does a person have portions of faith?” I can almost answer that yes and yes.
When we get saved we give Jesus all we know of us to all we know of Him. That is complete faith. Does that mean that’s all the faith I’ll ever have and need? No, so it could almost mean you have a portion of faith you give to Jesus. That is, the totality of your Christian life, the amount of faith it took to save you is a small amount when compared to the faith you should have.
Beloved, our faith should grow as we grow as Christians. If anyone should have faith in Jesus it should have been the Apostles, and they did have faith in Christ. And yet they said to Jesus in Luke 17:5: “Increase our faith.” The Greek word for “increase” is prostithemi and its where we get our English word “prosthesis.” This word is used only once in the New Testament and it means “to place additionally; lay beside, annex, repeat.”
The Apostles were asking Jesus to give them more faith then they already had. Why? Let’s look at the passage in its totality:
“‘Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, “I repent,” you shall forgive him.’ And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ So the Lord said, ‘If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,” and it would obey you.’” (Luke 17:3-6)
The type of forgiveness that Jesus was demanding of His followers was humanly impossible. The number seven is the number of completion and perfection and Jesus commands us to go beyond that. So the disciples knew that if they were going to obey Christ they would need more faith. We all want to be successful in our Christian journey. We all want to be obedient. We all want to do our duty. We’ll look more at faith and duty tomorrow, but suffice it to say we will need more faith to be successful.
The Bible is filled with examples of assurances of faith, guarantees for success if you will. We all like guarantees. One such example from the Old Testament was when Judah was surrounded by their enemies the Ammonites, Moabites, and inhabitants of Mount Seir. King Jehoshaphat went before the people to strengthen their faith:
“So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.’ And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: ‘Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever.’ Now when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.” (2 Chronicles 2:20-23)
Beloved, if the American Church ever gets to the point of believing God never loses, then political pragmatism will be thrown on the trash heap where it belongs and we will begin believing God will turn our enemies on themselves to destroy one another. The American Church is unsuccessful in being salt and light because it has so little, if any, true faith in God. We see our God on His throne more like the Lincoln Memorial then we do as an active and victorious King. And we do so to our nation’s demise.
And why are we like that? Instead of believing in the impossible, we are beaten by the impossible. We only confront what we believe to be possible and are unwilling to chance defeat. News flash! That’s not faith. That’s stinking thinking and it is EXACTLY why God does not bless the “evangelical” (whatever that is) movement anymore. We compromise on God’s commandments and expect God to bless it. We pray that God would do something that is contrary to His nature and then redouble our efforts in prayer.
Beloved, that’s not faith. I can tell you what it is though. You ready for it? Wait for it…it’s wickedness. NOW BRO Dave…easy…here’s proof:
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21)
Any questions? Pretty clear, huh? The Hebrew for “woe” is hoy and it is an exclamation meaning something awful has happened. Something awful has happened in the American Church; she has stopped believing in an all powerful and victorious King Jesus and has prostituted herself out to the highest bidder with the slickest promotions.
Do you remember the lesson of the withered fig tree from Mark 11?
“Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.’ So Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’” (Luke 11:20-24)
Did you see the secret to the secret of faith nestled in the middle of that passage? It’s the secret to our potential success and the reason for our defeat. Jesus said, “…and does not DOUBT in his heart, but BELIEVES…”
Sadly, we, me the foremost, turn Jesus words around to “…and does not BELIEVE in his heart, but DOUBTS…”
Woe is me indeed. Instead of success my Christian walk has been filled with defeats and as I have been reflecting on this study the Holy Spirit has revealed to me all the defeats have come at my moments of doubt. I simply failed to trust Jesus.
So what do I do with my lack of faith. Assuredly I, like you, want my faith to be successful for God’s glory. I go to the Master like Jairus the synagogue ruler did. And my faith that takes me to Him will be recognized by Christ and He will help increase my faith:
“While He was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, ‘Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.’ But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.’” (Luke 8:49-50)
Jesus the Omniscient One knew that Jairus came to Him with all the faith he had. It was enough. And when Jairus’ faith no doubt faltered at the hearing of his daughter’s death, our Precious Savior assured him.
The secret to a successful faith is to overcome our fears, to trust the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in our hearts.
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Is He your friend? Have you trusted Christ as Lord and Savior? If no, then why not? If yes, are you living the Christian life of successful faith?
If you’re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please click here and use “Please add to Devotional List” as the subject.”
Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers