Scripture tells us in Mark Chapter 9:16-27 about a man who brought his son to Jesus to be healed. The boy was possessed by an evil spirit and the father asked Jesus to heal the boy, “If you can.” I don’t know if Jesus was surprised, probably not, but he replies, “‘If you can’?” “Nothing is impossible for one who believes.” The father responds honestly, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Wow! We’ve all been there, wedged between our belief and our doubts. Many obstacles can keep us from fully believing. Some people want a sign, before they believe. “Lord, if you just get me this promotion, I will be faithful to church, volunteer, tithe!” These “if you, then I” bargains seldom have any lasting impact. Others, ride on the faith of their parents or grandparents. Being raised in the Christian faith is a great gift; it seems it wouldn’t be an obstacle to a person’s faith, but it has potential to be one. If someone relies on the faith of their family rather than determining their personal relationship with Jesus, it becomes an obstacle. Each one must decide who Jesus is to them, develop their own faith. Another obstacle is self-centeredness. Many cling to Jesus hoping he’ll grant their wants, desires, and wishes. When their prayers aren’t answered, they fly off the grid deciding they have no use for church, God, or any need to pursue Christ. We all need to overcome the obstacles that hinder our path forward and work to develop our faith.
Scriptures – Matthew 17:20; Hebrews 11:1; Mark 9:16-27; Romans 10:17; James 2:26
Verses – “Truly I tell you, if you have 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.” (Mt 17:20) Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (He 11:1) So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ. (Ro 10:17)
Thought – Here are two key things you can do to strengthen your faith: 1) Read and listen to God’s word. Quit making excuses! You may say you don’t understand, but you understand enough. You don’t have to understand metabolism and digestion to know food is good for you. The Bible is life to your spirit. It grows your faith as stated in Romans 10:17. When you allow God’s word into your heart, mind, and soul, you see change. This nourishment is a must! 2) Act on your faith! James 2:26 says that faith without action is dead. God calls us to use our faith to make a difference in the world, to pray believing that God hears and answers our prayer! Faith allows us to stand strong in tough times and glorify God in answered prayer. God doesn’t often work in our timing, but his way is perfect. He is good and wants the best for us. Our faith should not rest in answered prayer, but in the character and nature of God! Keep serving him, believing him, having faith in him, and moving forward!
Questions – What things have been obstacles to your faith in the past? How did you overcome them? Is there anything hindering your faith now? Have you ever bargained with God? How did that turn out? Do you read God’s word faithfully? How has God’s word grown your faith? Are you making progress in your faith?
Response – Establish a pattern of daily exposure to God’s word. Listen on your way to work or during lunch. Get a devotional book. Find a friend to do Bible study with and pray for each other. Serve, volunteer, put faith in action.
Prayer – Dear Lord, by grace through faith you saved me from sin. As your child help me to walk in faith each day. Thank you for your word that brings life and hope and grows faith, even in the darkest times. May I reflect your love and reach others for your glory. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.