So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God"
Mark 11:22 (NKJV)
This verse in Mark comes after an incident with Jesus and a tree. Jesus told the tree that its time was up and 24 hours later it was shrivelled and dead. Jesus told His disciples that with faith they could not just tell trees what to do but also mountains. But the problem with mountains is that they tend to steal faith from us. Circumstances that you have no control over try to take your faith but you have the power to switch on faith.
Every day I tell myself “Have faith in God” because I want it to get into my brain. We switch on faith when we speak God’s promises, like “Fear not for I am with you says the Lord”. You may be worried about your family, your finances, your health but you can speak faith to yourself.
Faith is the environment God moves in
We can demand God act or complain that He is taking too long but He doesn’t respond to that. You are submitted to Him. Think instead of all the times miracles have taken place in your life over the years. When you don’t have any problems, you don’t need faith. Turning faith on is not the answer in itself. We need to keep faith turned on, holding your faith in God on the most challenging days.
James 1:5-8 suggests that maybe the reason you aren’t receiving from God is because you are double minded. Don’t be a ditherer, second guessing all your decisions. Make your mind up, make a decision and take a step. When you’re a Christian there is a tendency to second guess everything because you want to do “the will of God”. But the Bible shows God does not reveal His will all at once. When He sent the prophet to anoint a son of Jesse, God did not tell him which son. God sent Paul travelling without telling him what would happen in each place. God wants us to step into His will, to walk forward into it and not be indecisive.
It is also important that we don’t just say a prayer but make prayer an interaction with God. Take time to listen, not just to request. Go to prayer meetings at church and sit in the atmosphere of prayer. Prayer gives us the strength in our difficult situations to rise above our circumstances and stand on top of them.
God is Good
1. If God was not good you would be fearful of Him (the wrong kind of fear). If you have any kind of distortion in your mind, thinking that maybe God makes people sick just remember that Jesus is the full embodiment of God. Reading the gospels you never see Jesus doing bad things -that’s the other guy. Don’t blame God for bad situations, bring Him into it (Acts 10:38). God is also our good father (Matthew 7:9-11) who not only provides for our needs but also fulfils our dreams. Stay in faith, your Heavenly Father is good.
God is willing to help
2. The leper in Matthew 8:2 believed that God could heal him, he just wasn’t sure if God would. Jesus said He was willing then and He still says it to us today. The Bible says that Jesus has not returned because He wants to give people enough time to come to Him -God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9)
God is reliable
3. Hebrews 6:17-18 (MSG) assures us of how deeply God is committed to us. God cannot lie so His promises do not change: we can hold on to them.
- God promised that Abraham would be the father of nations and he was.
- God promised that Abraham’s descendants would inherit the promised land and they did.
- God promised to take his people out of slavery and He did.
- God promised that He would bring His people back from exile in Babylon and He did.
- God promised to send a saviour and He did.
- God promised to raise Him from the dead and He did.
- God promised to send the Holy Spirit and He did.
- God promised to build His church and He did.
- God is reliable, even bringing the things we hoped for come to pass after we are gone.
God can do it
4. Once we believe that God is good, willing and reliable, we must ask ourselves “Do I believe that God is bigger than my problem?”. God never gets sick or worried. When your problem came along God didn’t flinch. When He says He is going to move it’s always hard things like parting the sea or a 90 year old woman becoming pregnant. Nothing is too hard for the creator of the universe (Jeremiah 32:17).
In Jeremiah 32:25-27 Jeremiah is awaiting the arrival of the conquering Chaldeans, whom he has been prophesying are coming to take over their land. On the day of their arrival, God tells Jeremiah to buy some land as an act of faith; faith that God will keep His promise to bring Jeremiah back in 70 years to claim it. Maybe you need to take a step of faith and invest in your future by signing up for Bible college, a conference, inviting your neighbour to church and taking the next step.
Something to talk about:
1. Is there a step of faith you can towards the future you are believing for?
2. Do you sometimes struggle to believe that God is good, willing, reliable or able?
3. Pray together together for yourself or others for an increase in faith