I’ve been thinking a lot about faith lately. To be more specific, the Christian faith and what it’s supposed to look like in our lives if we claim to believe the Bible. It’s been an interesting time in my life as I’m sure it has in a lot of yours…I just graduated college, have a summer job at a camp, but have no idea where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing in the fall (among others things), so that is something I continually pray about and tends to be on my mind a lot of the time…but as much as I’d like to have those things answered and taken care of right now, I’m beginning to see why God has me where He does and I’m reminded how God uses all things together for His good and His plan… (Rom 8:2)
Matthew 17:20 is a verse you’re probably all familiar with. Its the one where Jesus criticizes His disciples for their “little faith” but then tells them that if they only had faith as that of a mustard seed, they could move mountains. It’s a verse I’ve thought about plenty of times before but always seems to come back to me without losing its power or newness. Jesus starts out by contrasting the size of these two objects specifically to show that it’s not a matter of amount or quantity of faith, but one of quality and depth…one of purity.
There is unseen potential in a seed…even the smallest seed displays this depth of faith in the unseen, for though that seed in the present appears insignificant, its masking an entire sequence of events in the past and to come, and a solid persistent growth that will continue forward, one that will take root and be firmly planted. Isn’t faith like that too (Heb.11:1)? It looks to and trusts in a God who is sovereign over all things, over the future and time itself, beyond the surface appearance, seen and unseen. Faith is a full confidence in the will of God, knowing that if God really wanted to move a mountain as part of His plan, then He really could and would! The quantity of our faith doesn’t matter, because the object of our faith is infinite and unchanging, but the quality of our faith has tremendous implications for the way we live our lives.
I’ve been pretty convicted lately of my “little faith”, just like the disciples. I’ve been realizing how dependent my faith has been on what is seen rather than what is still unseen, especially when I look ahead to the fall. God’s been showing me that security has been an idol in my life, rather than pure faith, trust, and confidence in God’s daily and immediate will for me.
I don’t mean to jump the bandwagon of blaming culture, but the current “American Dream” (which I don’t think was the original one) has the bent toward allowing security to be an idol in our lives. We aren’t at peace unless we are secure…which takes different forms in each of our lives, whether that means money, job, future plans, medically, relationships, whatever. We always want to have our own surplus ready and waiting to draw from…in other words, security.
Now that’s not necessarily bad, since Proverbs and principles of stewardship implore us to be wise to provide for ourselves and for others in these ways, but do you see the ever-present potential for these things to be stealing bits of your daily faith away from God?
Uncertainty is never enjoyable, but I’m learning to be thankful for it because it forces me to persevere and challenges the quality of my faith…it allows us to “walk by faith”, whether we have sight or not. (2 Cor.5:7)
James 1:2-4 also talks about this, how the end of endurance through trials and uncertainty is to produce in us a mature and complete faith resting in God, a purer and truer faith refined to a higher quality…like the mustard seed. Faith looks to, rests in, trusts, and loves God’s will in all things, whether or not it aligns with what we think or want. And as we grow to know the character of God, this becomes easier and a true source of peace.
Today at breakfast they announced that a girl who was on her way to our camp in a few weeks had just been killed in an accident. They reminded us that we are never guaranteed tomorrow or even our next breath, and challenged us to live for God today. That’s my prayer today, that as Christians and God’s children, we and I personally will moment by moment and in all things, truly walk by faith. Just like the Lord’s Prayer, I want to live a daily dependent life on God.