It’s so easy for preachers to say, “Have faith”, but unless Christians are taught what faith is and how to use it, they’ll live defeated lives with their needs never met. Many of us spend hours in prayer begging God for answers and yet, the answers don’t come. Could it be that the faith we think we have is just in our head and that the real faith is still hidden like a mustard seed in the depth of our heart?
God knows that the devil controls the hearts and minds of those who still live in sin, and that they can never come to Him on their own merits. So He gives to each one an initial seed of faith that’s just enough for us to accept that He’s real, and just enough for us to want to know Him.
- For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.—Ephesians 2:8
Like any seed, this faith seed must be planted for it to grow. Left alone, it will die. In our physical garden we plant the seed, water it and then let nature transform it into a plant. Our Christian life is very similar. We plant the seed in good soil, which is a hungry heart, study the scriptures diligently and prayerfully to feed the seed, and then God floods us with His living waters and the truth of the gospel of Christ transforms the seed within us into a mighty plant.
Apostle Paul preached the gospel and was able to inspire unbelievers to seek the truth and so the seed of faith was planted in them. Apollos encouraged them and taught them all about God through the scriptures, and the Holy Spirit opened their eyes to truth and they grew in faith.
- I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.—1 Corinthians 3:6
Unfortunately, many Christians stop searching and seeking God while their seed is still small. They are satisfied to know God on the level they choose to stay at and then just trust their Christian leader to do the rest. They’re saved, but they don’t dig into the scriptures to learn all there is to learn and their seed of faith barely grows beyond its original size.
Jesus said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we could move mountains. Unfortunately, many modern-day preachers have abused these words and have taught them to mean a financial blessing or miracle healing. And while miracles do happen, they are brought about through faith, and so they are only miracles to those who don’t believe because to the believer, it is faith being put to work.
- And Jesus said unto them, ‘Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.’—Matthew 17:20
How do we get so strong in our faith that we can cause mountains to move? We study the Bible prayerfully and let the Holy Spirit teach us in all truth. Then we’ll begin to know God as our Lord, our Healer, our Deliverer, our King and our Friend. Revelation of His truth begins to fill us and we actually believe what we read. They are no longer just “scriptures” or “words”, but instead, truth that is embedded into our heart.
- And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.—John 8:32
Studying the Bible is like being in school. We learn things and then we’re tested on what we’ve learned. This makes sense because there’s no point graduating into the next level if we haven’t learned how to apply the first one yet. And so God allows circumstances in our lives so we can actually use the faith we have to trust Him to bring us through them. He will never allow something that is beyond what we can believe Him for.
We start by trusting God with little things just as a child trust his earthy father; things that don’t mean much to anyone else, but that mean everything to us. Perhaps it’s finding that dollar at the last minute that we need to pay for something, or maybe it’s asking God to let us make it to the bus stop in time. As we study and as our relationship with the Lord grows, we begin to trust Him more. And when we’re faced with a situation that requires a lot of faith in God we know in our heart who God is and what He’s said—and it IS real to us. We have developed a relationship with Him and now we trust Him sincerely to bring us through the trial with victory.
The little mustard seed that was hidden in our heart has now grown into a fully developed plant and it’s strong and mighty, and no strength of wind or rain is going to knock it over.
- And He said, ‘Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.—Mark 4:30-32
The hidden gift of faith, like the mustard seed, grows within us when truly seek God’s face and follow Him with all of our heart. We don’t rely on others to teach us and we don’t depend on ourselves; our trust is in God alone. And we’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if God said it, then it is so, and we can believe it and we can trust Him to bring it to pass.
- So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.—Isaiah 55:11
My latest release, Let Faith Arise, is the second edition of this devotional book and it’s a great resource to use to study faith and learn what it is and how to use it so you can know God and fulfill the mission that He has called you to.
Illustrations by: www.stylecraze.com, www.lds.org, www.biblecartoons.co.uk