When our dog, Jack, comes to me, makes eye contact and then turns toward the door, Jack is illustrating faith that I will come and take him for a walk. He has no doubt. He doesn’t glance back to make sure I’m coming. He just walks to the door and waits. He knows I will be there. Has Jack somehow whipped up some faith from within himself? Of course not, Jack’s faith is simply him believing in me.
In Matthew 17 we read about the disciples of Jesus attempting to cast out a demon and bring healing to a boy suffering from this demonic hold. The disciples couldn’t do it so they asked Jesus why? Jesus responded with the words in verse 20, “You don’t have enough faith. I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” I’m sure we all understand that this is not a lesson in moving literal mountains. The earth would be in great chaos if mountains kept moving around.
The words of Jesus, “You don’t have enough faith,” has caused a great many to berate themselves over and over because somehow, they cannot manage to muster up enough faith that their prayers would bring about a miracle. Doubt sets in. Depression follows. Satan is having a good day when he sees one of God’s children walking around ineffective due to their own self loathing. You see, the lesson here is not to concentrate on our faith to do something powerful. The lesson is to concentrate on Jesus, knowing that He can do something powerful. That is pure faith.
In Matthew 8 we read the story of a Roman soldier who came to Jesus asking that He heal his servant. Jesus told the officer that he would come, but the officer replied to Jesus, “just say the word from where you are and I know my servant will be healed.” Jesus replied, “I have not seen faith like this in all of Israel.” The officer wasn’t trying desperately to whip up faith that his petitions would bring about what he desired for his servant; rather, his faith was in Jesus, that Jesus alone could bring about what he desired for his servant.
Do you see the subtlety of focus here? It is easy to misunderstand the lesson of the mustard seed, and to spend wasted time trying to conjure up our faith in our prayers, when all along the lesson is about having faith in Jesus that He can and will do what is needed. It is nothing of ourselves, but everything of Jesus. It is trusting in Him, His timing, and His way. It is trusting when He says yes, no, or wait.
You may still ask yourself if you indeed have faith the size of a mustard seed. Have you prayed to receive Jesus as your Savior? Do you believe in your salvation? If you answered yes, then you have faith the size of a mustard seed. You concentrated on Jesus alone to save you; concentrate on Him alone all the days of your life, and faith will blossom. It’s all about on whom you focus.