Faith, Great or Small?

We understand that faith is essential to us as Christians.  We are saved by grace through faith.  Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”  We are justified by faith.  Romans 3:28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”  It is impossible to please God without faith.  Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Faith is being confident of things we cannot see.  Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

We have faith in God.  We have faith that Jesus Christ is the son of God.  We have faith that Jesus died in our place so that we have the forgiveness of our sins.  But we must also have faith in God’s promises.  We have faith in everlasting life provided by God.  We have faith in an eternal home with all the redeemed.  We have faith that God is for us and not against us.  We have faith in His power toward us.  We have faith that He works His will on this earth.  We have faith that He hears our prayers.  We have faith that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  We have faith in other promises He has given us.  As true Christians, we live our lives in faith.  Our faith should be a major influence in how we live our lives.

Is your faith great or small?  Consider the story in Matthew 8:5-10 “Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.’  And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’  The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.  For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’  When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’”  Here was a gentile centurion who wanted Jesus to heal his servant. He humbly requested that Jesus just speak the word and his servant would be healed.  He didn’t believe it was necessary for Jesus to come and lay His hands on his servant; all he asked was for Jesus to say the word.  This demonstrated that this man had great faith in the power of Jesus.

I especially like the story told of the woman who touched Jesus in Matthew 9:20-22 “And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment.  For she said to herself, ‘If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.  But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, ‘Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ And the woman was made well from that hour.” This woman was unclean because of her flow of blood.  She was not to touch anyone.  And yet, her faith and her strong desire to be healed caused her to touch Jesus and be healed.

There are multiple examples in the Bible of people with great faith.  We could talk about Abraham who believed God’s promise that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars.  We could talk about the three Hebrews who trusted that God would deliver them from the fiery furnace.  We could talk about David who believed that God would deliver the giant Goliath into his hands.  Hebrews the eleventh chapter lists many people who had great faith.

We also have examples in the Bible of people with little faith.  One time, Jesus walked on the waters of the Sea of Galilee while His disciples were in a boat.  They were afraid and Jesus tried to comfort them.  Matthew 14:28-31 “And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’”  We might commend Peter for his initial faith in getting out of the boat and starting to walk on the water.  But then his faith became weak and he began to sink.  Jesus rebuked him for his little faith and his doubt.  What about you?  Do you sometimes start to walk in faith but then you doubt and your faith proves to be little?

Another time, a father requested healing for his child.  He said to Jesus in Mark 9:22b-24 “’But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’”  I relate to this father.  Sometimes my faith is small.  I need God to help my unbelief.  We have recorded in Luke 17:5 “And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’” I think that is a worthy prayer.  Pray that God would increase your faith.

I encourage you to seek to have greater faith.  Live your life in faith.  Trust in the power and providence of God.  Trust in His promises.  2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  Live your life in faith.  Be a person of great faith.