Just Believe

Matthew 17:14-19

by Pastor John

Faith is an interesting topic. I talk to a lot of people who have a very vague idea of faith.

"You just got to believe."

"Keep those positive vibes coming."

"Just have faith."

"In what?", I wonder. That things will all work out? I've seen enough tragedy to know that things don't always work out. And most of us are too moody to keep up positive vibes all the time.

For the Christian, faith is not some general hope that the universe will pull everything together in the end. It is much more pointed and focused.

This Sunday we'll be looking at the passage where Jesus casts out a demon from a boy. The father of the boy famously says, "I believe. Help my unbelief."

This statement appears in Mark, but not in Matthew's account of the story. Matthew records this statement by Jesus: "...you have so little faith. 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.”

Jack Miller wrote to missionaries in Ireland, "Let me urge upon you the importance of cultivating faith if you are to be able to walk in love and spiritual power. Without faith it is impossible to please God, but those who believe are given more grace than they can handle. Believing is to expect God to be with you and change you and to change others. Therefore expect great things from God; attempt great things for God. When the work is dull and routine or people are slipping away, go forth with new boldness and preach Christ until you are filled with faith yourselves and God works faith in others. Think of it this way. All the powers of hell and earth are ranged against the gospel and your ministry. They will not compromise. Therefore don’t expect it from them. Don’t expect the enemy to coddle you. He will continue to attack from every quarter. At night. On the streets. In your meetings. Wherever. This is a take-no-prisoners kind of war, and we must not compromise with the uglies and with evil in any form. Therefore resist, fight with all your heart against evil in yourself and others, seek holiness through faith in the blood of Christ, and live boldly out of your union with Christ. You are in Him and He is in you. Don’t doubt it. On that basis keep at it."

Do you see the difference?

Faith isn't simply a positive belief about something. It is a reckless confidence in Someone.

Belief isn't dreaming that everything will turn out in the end. It is a bold trust that God is bringing transformation even when it doesn't work out at all.

It isn't a general hope in positive vibes. It is the humble expectation of spiritual power through trusting in Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, increase my faith!