I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. Ephesians 1:19 NLT
OK, so I do believe Jesus is the Divine Son of God. (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 9:6; 2 Peter 1:1) I do believe that His blood was shed as atonement for my sins. (Hebrews 9:22; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5) I do receive His free gift of eternal life. (John 3:16; Romans 6:23; 1 John 5:11-12) BUT for waaaay too long, I have struggled with my everyday living, rubber-meets-the-road, faith. The kind of faith that relates to my little world directly and intimately. Last night after our Life Group study on The Power of our Faith from Max Lucado’s Ephesians Study, I realized my faith is weak.
Although I want to have a faith that trusts in God’s person, character, attributes and that believes God will do ALL He has promised in His Word, sadly, I am seriously lacking here. Sometimes a picture can communicate more effectively so… maybe this will help, a picture of my faith! 🙂
If I was alive back then, I would have been standing right there with the disciples hanging my head when the father of the demonized boy asked Jesus to heal his son. The father told Jesus he had already brought his son to the disciples, but they couldn’t heal him. Jesus heals the boy instantly and later the disciples ask in private why they couldn’t drive out the demon. Jesus told them the reason was because of their oligopistia, which is translated “little faith”, but then goes on to say, “If you have pistis, translated “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 17:14-20 NIV)
I have always thought it was odd that Jesus told them their faith was too little and then said “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, You can move a mountain.” Have you ever seen a mustard seed?
You can’t get more little than that! According to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Jesus wasn’t referring so much to the littleness of their faith as to its poverty or weakness. Little faith, like a little mustard seed, can be effectual; poor or weak faith, like that of the disciples’ was ineffectual.
I like how Eugene Peterson puts Jesus’ answer to why they couldn’t heal the boy. “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” Matthew 17:20 MSG
The best way to determine if you are taking God seriously or have powerful faith is by examining how you pray. I have a long history of oligopistia (little faith) prayers. When my kids were little, I often prayed, “Dear Lord, please don’t let my kids grow up to be axe murderers. (As a young mother, I was keenly aware of what an important job was assigned to me and of my many imperfections. With my dysfunction, my husband’s dysfunction, our extended family’s dysfunction, here a dysfunction, there a dysfunction, E-I-E-I-O, this was a concern!) The Lord convicted me that my expectations were a tad too low, I didn’t trust him for more and I was praying out of fear rather than faith. Now I am starting to pray:
Lord, may my children be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. Bless them when they come in and when they go out. Grant that the enemies who rise up against them will be defeated before you. If the enemies come at them from one direction cause them to flee from them in seven. Send a blessing on everything they put their hand to. Establish them as your holy people. Grant them abundant prosperity. Open the heavens, the storehouse of your bounty, and bless all the work of their hands. May they lend to others but borrow from none. Make them the head, not the tail. May they pay attention to the commands of the Lord so that they will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Make them strong and courageous and give them every place they set their foot for the glory of your kingdom! (Deuteronomy 28:1-13; 32:30; Joshua 23:10)
And rather than praying, “Lord, please just help me to get through this day!” I need to pray:
Lord your Word says you are able to do exceedingly abundantly more than all I can ask or imagine. Empower me to do great things for your kingdom this very day–Not next month or next year but help me to dream big for THIS day!
So how do we receive PowerFull Faith?
First, we must do what the Apostle Paul did–pray for it.
I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. Ephesians 1:15-23 NLT
Secondly, we must read the Word. That is where God reveals to us, His character, attributes, plans and promises. Like Abraham, may we not waver through unbelief but be fully persuaded that God has the power to do what he has promised! (Romans 4:20-21) LH
(Many of the posts on this website are accompanied by a Bible Study broken up into 5 days. The Study is designed to take you no more than 10 minutes each day. For a printable copy of this post’s Bible study, CLICK HERE.)
A Bible Study on powerful effective faith.
May we understand the power that is available to us through our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Day 1 Read Matthew 17:14-20
1. What was the father asking from Jesus?
2. Who had the father brought his son to before Jesus?
3. How long did it take Jesus to heal the boy?
4. Why were the disciples unable to heal the boy?
Day 2 Read Hebrews 11: 1-13; 36-39
1. What is faith? Vs.1
2. What is impossible to do without faith? Vs. 6
3. What do we learn about faith from vs. 39?
Day 3 Read Romans 4:13-21
1. How did Abraham receive what was promised to him? Vs.13, 16
2. Does faith deny reality? Vs. 19
3. What did Abraham continue to do despite the facts? Vs. 20-21
Day 4 Read James 5:13-18
1. What kind of prayer heals the sick? Vs. 15
2. Why do you think verse 14 says to call for the elders of the church?
3. Read verse 16 in the King James Version and at least two other translations. What are some adjectives used to describe prayer?
4. How does verse 17 describe Elijah? Does this encourage you?
Day 5 Read Ephesians 1:15-23
1. Make a list of the things Paul is praying for the church at Ephesus.
2. How does Paul describe the power that is available to those who believe? Vs. 19-20
3. What is under Christ’s feet and what is the head over? Vs. 22
4. Does knowing this make your faith stronger?