In Part 1 of this series we concluded that every born again Christian has received THE measure of faith from God (Rom 12:3). God has given us His faith as a gift (Eph 2:8) and it does not vary or falter. Persons that has “great” faith do not possess a larger quantity of faith than other believers; they simply have more faith operative than others.
Now of course our next question would be: “If I have God’s faith, why doesn’t it produce for me at the level that God promises in His Word? Well firstly because faith has to be acted on and released:
James 2:17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (NKJV)
You can actually have the faith of the Son of God inside you, but if you don’t act on it, it’s as good as dead.
Another reason why we don’t see our faith work for us is because of our unbelief. The soul (mind), just like the body, lives by what it feeds on. If we saturate our minds with the doom and gloom on TV, the newspapers and what we see happening in the world around us, we won’t have our minds renewed according to the truth of God’s Word. Then when you pray, even if you do pray with faith, the unbelief in your mind will counter that faith. So the Christian life is a pursuit of intimacy with God, experientially learning to know Him as He reveals Himself through His Word, which has the wonderful side effect of transforming your mind and purging it of unbelief.
In Luke 9 Jesus sent out His disciples and tasked them with several things:
Luke 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. (NKJV)
They then went out and did it, and they were actually seeing great results!
Luke 9:6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where. (NKJV)
But then came a father whose son was possessed by a unclean spirit, whom they could not heal.
Luke 9:38 Suddenly a man from the multitude cried out, saying, “Teacher, I implore You, look on my son, for he is my only child. 39 And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out; it convulses him so that he foams at the mouth; and it departs from him with great difficulty, bruising him. 40 So I implored Your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” (KJV)
The disciples asked Jesus afterwards why they could not drive out the demon, and Jesus answered them (the same passage from Mark 9):
Mark 9:29 And He said to them, This kind can come out by nothing except by prayer and fasting. (KJV)
Now Jesus didn’t mean that they had to specially go praying and fasting so that they could drive out this demon. He also didn’t mean that this was a “type” of demon that the only way to cast it out was to pray and fast about it, because if that’s what you believe then just about every second demon or disease you encounter will say to you “I am the kind that only goes out by prayer and fasting.” If you look at what Jesus said to the disciples first off when He heard they could not cast the demon out:
Mark 9:18 … So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not. 19 He (Jesus) answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” (KJV)
Jesus called his disciples (who had just come back from their trip, having seen great results) “faithless generation”.
And then also we see the father of the demon possessed boy confessing that he had a problem with unbelief:
Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes. 24 And immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.(NKJV, emphasis added)
You see the biggest problem is not that people don’t have faith. We all have faith, it’s just that we have a tremendous amount of unbelief that is countering our faith. Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can say to a mountain to cast itself into the sea. Let’s read this same passage from the book of Matthew:
Matt 17:14 And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 20 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (KJV, emphasis added)
So why did Jesus tell them that they could only do it with prayer and fasting? Well, what do you think happens when you pray and fast (and worship, and go to church, and read the Bible, etc)? You get rid of your unbelief!! Your faith doesn’t increase, because remember that we already have the faith of God and that faith the size of a mustard seed will move a mountain. But we fill our minds and thoughts with so much garbage everyday, focusing on our depressing circumstances and NOT on God, that it’s no wonder we don’t have any power.
Just one last point that we should clarify in the body of Christ: It is very cruel to tell a sick person they can not get healed because they have too much unbelief. In the Bible we see that Jesus as our perfect example, healed ALL who came to him, regardless if they had unbelief or not.
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (NKJV, emphasis added)
Yes He did not heal many people in His home town Nazareth, but it was not because their unbelief countered or neutralized His faith. No it was because many of them were offended at Him, seeing Him only as “Joseph’s boy”, and not many came to Him for healing. But those that came still got healed! Thus we can see that He still did mighty works, but only for those that came to Him.
Matt 13:54 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?” (NKJV)
Now with what we just discussed above, read the following two verses:
Mark 6:5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He marvelled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching. (NKJV)
Did you see he STILL healed those who CAME TO HIM?
Therefore we can conclude that if we don’t see the promises of God fulfilled in our lives, or if we don’t see the sick healed when we pray for them, it’s because of OUR unbelief and unrenewed minds. God’s power is always switched on; He’s already provided healing, prosperity and deliverance in the atonement. This message however is not a call for Christians to go back into works to try and rid themselves of their unbelief, because it does not happen through striving or self-effort. Remember we are all still learning and growing. Unbelief eradication and mind renewal is something that happens as we simply enjoy God and turn our affections toward Him, resting in Him, living from our secure position of victory. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey…