Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. – Mark 9:23-24 KJV
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Jesus Christ was just returning from the mount with Peter, James and John where he was transformed before them only to meet a multitude around the location where the rest of the disciples were. On enquiry about the reason for the gathering, a man appeared from among the crowd to inform him of the inability of his disciples to successfully attend to his son who was being disturbed by a dumb spirit. Jesus Christ in his reaction which is the foundation of this Ministration highlighted the following points:
1. If the man could believe, then his son will be healed.
2. All things are possible for those who believe.
The response of the man also reveals two things about belief:
1. It is possible to believe and still be unbelieving.
2. It is possible to receive help with unbelief.
The follow up to the questions of Jesus Christ and the response of the father was the healing of the boy. However, featuring frequently through the question and answer session is the word “belief” or its opposite which is “unbelief. From the way it was presented by Jesus, it is an important prerequisite for receiving anything.
It should be noted that Jesus Christ just mentioned belief but did not reference the object to be believed in so it was a general statement on what can be achieved if one believes. However there should be no doubt that in this instance that reference to belief here will be belief in the Almighty God and His son Jesus Christ. Although that will be the focus of this Ministration, it is important to stress at this point that belief remains a key point in receiving anything from anyone as long as the belief is based on right knowledge and awareness. In our everyday activity, we perform actions based on belief, some of which have become a routine for us but still does not eliminate the fact that it is based on belief. We eat because we believe it will give us the required nutrients for healthy life, we use medications because we believe they will resolve our medical challenges, we take up employment because we believe that the income from such ventures will help us avoid the challenges posed by poverty, we board vehicles because we believe they will take us safely to our destination and several similar acts all done because we believe they will meet an expected end.
The man in this scripture approached Jesus Christ because he believed he could get his son healed. This was manifest in the enthusiasm shown in his reaction to the arrival and the questions posed by Jesus Christ. Jesus despite this enthusiasm still went ahead to ask him whether he believed and his response indicated that it was not a wrong question asked by Jesus Christ. The man acknowledged that he still had a belief deficit pleading for help with this shortfall in belief. The man definitely believed Jesus can heal his son but probably did not believe in the God that Jesus represents.
Today several Christians are in Church presumably coming to meet with Christ for the resolution of their challenge but there is no solution to these challenges. There is no doubt that lack or insufficient belief has a huge part to play in not receiving what is being asked for from Jesus Christ.
Expecting solution to that challenge from Christ does not start and end with coming to that location that is associated with Christ or calling on him for help with the same challenge. It is about answering the question that Christ asked the man which is also relevant to you.
How many of us Christians today can really say we have faith beyond showing up in church and making all those loud pronouncements that represent our prayers? How many of us agree that we lack sufficient faith to achieve what we desire from God through Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ himself expressed doubt about the possibility of meeting faith in the world when he returns – Lk. 18:8. That faith remains a major component of a successful Christian life can never be over-emphasised and any one who desires to live a happy Christian life must earnestly desire to operate in faith as a faithless person will receive nothing from the Almighty God – Jms. 1:6-8. So what is faith?
Faith which is also called belief is a complete demonstration of trust and confidence in someone or something. From the above definition, it is obvious that faith is not complete if the object of the faith (something or someone) is not defined since confidence or trust cannot be displayed in nothing. There could be faith in your boss that he will pay you the agreed sum after completion of the scope of the work he wants done just as there could be faith in your car that it will take you to that destination you have in mind. You may not have seen any evidence that your boss will pay but you are sufficiently informed to believe that he will pay the salary as agreed. Christian faith would therefore imply faith in the Almighty God through His son Jesus Christ because you are sufficiently informed through the scriptures or Ministration that whatever he says He will do, He always does.
Faith in oneself in terms of one’s ability, physical or spiritual is one that easily creeps into the Christian unknowingly and there is need to be careful that one does not slip into this operational mode as it is easy to do so. In this mode, the Christian operates more with what he knows or has experienced about God or what he or she has acquired by personal development in life and not the current position of the Almighty God on a specific issue. This most times is the operational mode of the Christian and thus accounts for most of the failures recorded in the life of the Christian.
The below listed points and explanations about faith will help to provide a better understanding of this key element of faith and how to grow it so as to have a profitable relationship with the Almighty God and His son, Jesus Christ.
1. Faith must be in something. No matter how little the faith is, it can only be expressed in something. The Christian must at all times examine the basis of the faith that is been professed. Why are you in that Christian group? Is it because of your belief in God or any other person or thing? Some are in church because they believe they can enjoy their kind of music or form of relaxation in that location. More of having a feel of another environment. Some are in church because of the belief that some social needs will be met through an individual or a group associated with the Church.
The man in the reference scripture definitely believes that Christ can heal his son but seems not to believe in the God that Jesus Christ represents. This happens a lot in Christendom where people come for the miracle and receive it without necessarily believing God as in the case of the children of Sceva – Acts 19:11-20. They end up spending years in Church but will still lack the Christian faith because they never took time to know the personality behind their miracles. The failure shows up the day their faith is required to overcome a situation as the situation ends up drowning and shaming them.
2. Faith must be based on known, appropriate and current knowledge about its foundation. It is not possible to have faith in something that one knows nothing about. Faith is based on the awareness of the capability of its foundation. It could be a directly acquired knowledge or a transferred knowledge about the object on which the faith is based. One cannot have the Christian faith if there no known and current knowledge about the capabilities of the Almighty God with regards to the situation. Known knowledge will be the one recorded in the scriptures whilst current knowledge will be the one communicated on specific issues by God through the Holy Spirit. There can be no faith without knowledge. To even think of bringing that challenge to Christ is because you have information that he can do it and you believe the information.
The importance of having a correct information about the object of faith cannot be over-stated. Just like merely seeing the physical acquisition in terms of properties by someone does not translate to the ability or willingness of the individual to grant that request for financial assistance that you believe can be granted, similarly one will need to have the current position of God on the particular issue before exercising faith on it. It may indeed be in the capacity of God, as it is always, to grant that request but it is a different issue whether you have His promise that Hr will do it and how it will be done.
Relying on what He did for others without having the knowledge of his position on your own situation may be faith based on a wrong foundation due to wrong or inappropriate knowledge. Take your time to acquire knowledge about God and ask Him to endue you with His Holy Spirit so that your faith in him can be on a stronger and more assured foundation.
3. Faith can grow and must be grown. Christians with this knowledge should work hard to ensure that they grow their faith. Jesus Christ confirms that there is a measure for faith when he compared faith required to move a mountain to a mustard seed – Matt. 17:20. One could actually say that his disciples had insufficient faith to handle the case of the man and his son, after all he was later to let them know that all things are possible for one with faith? He told them later that such spiritual activity can only be done by prayers – Mk. 9:29. It could not have been that his disciples were not praying after all they were the same people in the book of Luke, Chapter 9, verses 1-6, that the Bible records were performing healing every where they went to. It is likely that their prayer did not include the request that their faith be increased.
The father of the boy pleaded with Jesus Christ to help his unbelief and got it. All they should have been doing all that while was to pray to God to increase them in faith but since they had Jesus Christ with them, they probably did not see any reason to ask for more ability in terms of faith.
Most Christians today have achieved a lot in terms of success in their Christian life, courtesy of their spiritual leader and they are being seen as faith champions of some sorts. Everything comes crumbling when the spiritual leader is not available for whatever reason and they need to exercise their own faith. The spiritual leader should and must be only a mentor to direct you on how to grow your faith and not a replacement for your own faith else whatever achievement is recorded will be lost as soon as the leader is not available. Grow your faith so as to have a life long achievement in your Christian life.
4. Faith is affected by the five human senses (see, smell, feel, hear and taste). Just as the five senses can help to grow your faith, they can also help to destroy your faith. The Apostle Paul in his letter states clearly that faith comes from hearing of the Word of God – Rom. 10:17. Christians need to be conscious of what they hear just as what they see, smell, taste or feel is equally important. Constantly exposing oneself to sensitivities that diminish the ability of God is a subtle way of reducing ones faith in the Almighty God. A Christian that is willing to accept everything into his/her spiritual space will soon back slide and lose faith in God.
Most Christians today because of their carelessness in allowing all kinds of sensitivities into their lives have been reduced to nominal Christians and Church goers and their lack of faith is responsible for the absence of continuity of the kind of positive spiritual experiences that they experienced during their first contact with Christianity.
Spend more time listening, hearing and reading literatures that will improve your faith while at the same time showing caution when being exposed to other sources of information that can affect your faith. Conversion to Christianity and faith exhibited by early Christians was the result of constant sharing of the word by the Christians at that time – Acts 2:42-44. Spend quality time with fellow Christians accessing information that will enhance your faith and Christian life.
5. Faith is individualized and not corporate. The greatest deception is to believe an individual can successfully operate in the faith of another person or a group. There is nothing like corporate faith as everyone will only operate in his/her own faith. It may be possible to achieve some targets with the help of another but there must be a basic foundation of faith in a common object else such a person over time will become indispensable and a replacement for the Almighty God. This is not a position that any Christian should be in unless the person being relied upon is Jesus Christ but even with Jesus, all we should be doing is having faith in God that all he has promised through His son, Jesus Christ will be done.
The disciples relied on Jesus Christ and Jesus knowing this encouraged them to wait in Jerusalem in expectation of the Holy Spirit who will ensure that they do not live the life of orphans – Jn. 14:15-19: Jn. 16:5-16. We are to dwell on the Word regularly and rely on the directives of the Holy Spirit to grow our faith. Any other personality around us should only be a pathfinder for us to grow our faith, with us relying on this gift of the Holy Spirit and no other pillar on which we should anchor our faith. Only your faith will make you whole and not the faith of any other person or group – Lk. 17:19.
6. Faith is a gift – Eph. 2:8-10. That one fasts and prays does not guarantee that one will have faith or increase in faith especially faith required for achieving spiritual goals. Like every other prayer, it is still at the discretion of the Almighty God to grant it. Even though salvation and faith are products of Grace, unlike salvation that is the product of a simple decision taken by man, faith is granted at the discretion of the Almighty God after asking for it. Need for faith is more with spiritual leaders as it is required for effective spiritual leadership than with followers. However, like prayer request for the Holy Spirit, asking consistently in prayer will position one very well to receiving it – Acts 2:38-39.
7. Faith does not work with time. Anyone operating in faith does not look at time when the faith is around an expectation. It is purely an action based on the confidence of the individual in the position of the object of faith on the expectation in question. All the individual who has faith needs is the promise that his request will be attended to. That is why all those who have faith will not mind waiting for their request to be answered. They remain focussed on the one that promised them, with the belief that he will do what he has promised. They operate in total trust of the one that promised them and nothing wavers their belief in Him. Faith makes them believe that no matter how long it may take, the promise will be fulfilled.
8. Application of faith is a choice. No matter the level of faith in a man, it is still his/her choice to exercise it. Moses had the rod in his hand but it remains his decision to stretch it in the direction that God showed him. An individual may choose not to apply his faith in a situation and all that will happen subsequently will not be because he has no faith but because he refused to apply it.
In summary, no one can get anything from the Lord without faith. With faith all things are possible – that is faith in what the Almighty God says in that situation. It is not faith that is based on your assumptions as no one can hold God down on what he did not promise. That he did for someone you know or have heard about does not in any way mean that same applies to you. Have faith in what he has promised you because he has the ability to do all that he has promised. Nothing is impossible for anyone who has faith – faith in what God says about their peculiar situation. Should you be aware that there is a challenge with your faith, then you are better off pleading with Him to help your unbelief. May God bestow on us the gift of faith to walk with him and live a successful Christian life in Jesus name. Amen.