In the previous blog series, we learned one of the ways we overcome insecurities and harmful mindsets is by faith.
We have heard that faith plays an important role in life. But, if faith can help us, how much of it do we need?
Does faith really move mountains?
What does that kind of faith even look like?
"Hey, Pastor...thanks for nothing."
My pastor leaned back in his chair, took an over-sized leather-bound book from his lap and set it on the desk that separated us.
“Well, Chris, we have the word of God right here,” he said, tapping a finger on his bible. “It tells us everything we need to know, including what to do about your situation. All you have to do is read this and have faith. You do that, and God will lead you in the right direction.”
I didn’t respond right away, but the voice in my head chimed in with its usual cynicism.
Have faith? That’s all you’ve got? Give me a break.
I had just spent half an hour pouring my heart out to this man of God about a critical decision I had to make in the next few days. I called the meeting to gain some insight on what God wanted me to do, or to at least narrow it down. Instead, my pastor’s advice sounded like the boring and all-too-convenient religious language that eventually led me to take matters into my own hands.
Doing my best to hide the frustration, I stood up to leave and reached out to shake his hand. I could almost feel my eyes roll.
“Thanks, Pastor. I guess I’ll go read my bible.”
I walked out of the church office and to my car. I decided then and there that I would do what I felt was best and trust that everything would work out. After all, I believed in God, which meant He was on my side, right?
Now, if that isn’t faith, I don’t know what is.
As I drove out of the parking lot, I gave one last thought to what my pastor said. I had my own opinion about his advice:
Read the Bible? Yeah, right. That meeting was a big waste of time.
What is Faith?
That day played out over twenty years ago - long before I understood what real faith was. At the time, my idea of having faith meant going with my gut and hoping God and I were on the same page.
But that isn’t faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
That’s a lot to ask, isn’t it? How many of us can have that kind of confidence and sleep at night?
Faith doesn’t always come easily, even for seasoned Christians. And though we hear that even a little faith can move mountains, it isn’t every day that we see those mountains move.
Oh, ye of little faith.
Jesus gave the disciples insight on the kind of faith He wanted them to have. In Matthew 17, He reprimanded the them after they were unable to heal a young boy suffering from seizures. (Click HERE to read the whole story.)
“You don’t have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." (Matthew 17:20)
For a long time, I thought this scripture instructed us that just a little faith yields big results. And while that is sometimes true, we need to know more about how to develop faith before it can help us overcome our biggest hurdles.
What is "Mustard Seed" Faith?
Jesus tells another story using a mustard seed. This one is from Matthew 13:31-32:
"...The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches."
(Here's an in-depth study of this scripture.)
Jesus used the example of a mustard seed to illustrate how something starts small and becomes much larger. He applied this analogy to God's kingdom here on Earth as well as faith (refer back to Matthew 17:20). Both start small and grow.
You aren't born with faith that moves mountains. You build it.
Here’s how we do that: