There are 4 kinds of faith that I want to think about from the Sunday School lesson this past month:
1. Powerful Faith (Mark 9:14-29)
2. Simple Faith (Mark 10:17-30)
3. Struggling Faith (Mark 14:26-72)
4. Resurrection Faith (Mark 16:1-8)
I think at different points in our Christian journey our faith can be in one of these categories (amongst others), and I want to think about how we can end up there. Where is your faith this season or at this hour? Would you fit in one of these categories?
1. Powerful Faith (Mark 9:14-29)
How do you get powerful faith?
So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
Mark 9:29 NKJV
In this section of Mark we see Jesus coming down from the mountain with Peter, James, and John. Jesus sees that there is some kind of discussion between the scribes and His disciples. He asks them what they are they questioning His disciples about, and a scribe steps forward and says that his son is posessed with a devil. The scribe says he brought the boy to the disciples, and they could not cast the demon out.
I would imagine that this caused some commotion and tension with the scribes looking on and constantly looking for ways to discredit Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus responds and calls them a faithless generation. And ask how long does he have to deal with their lack of faith. He’s tired of their unbelief. He is tired of their stubborness and hardness of heart.
He tells them to bring the boy and asks about the boy. The father tells Jesus how long the boy has been in this condition and says that if there was anything he could do, to please help. (Indicating his lack of faith because of course Jesus can do anything.) Jesus replies that all things are possible to those who believe. Immediately the father cried out and says with tears, I believe-help me in my unbelief!
Jesus sees a crowd starting to run and come together, so he heals the boy and leaves with his disciples. His disciples ask Him privately why they could not cast him out. Jesus replies that this kind can only come out by prayer and fasting.
Who would you say is having their faith tested in this scripture?
I would say the father and the disciples. The father would have gotten an F on this test. Many times when people come to Jesus with an ailment or come on behalf of someone else, Jesus says to them, “According to your faith be it unto you.” Or “Your faith has made you whole.” Notice He didn’t say anything like that to this man. Instead He said that all things were possible to those who believe. The father cries out in tears that he needs help in his unbelief. But I commend this man! This is the lesson for us who lack faith! We must learn to have enough faith to call out to God and ask for help believing!
The second thing I want to point out is that when God moves, He moves according to faith. But it does not necessarily have to be the recipient’s faith. It was not going to be the boy’s faith that was going to bring him his own deliverance but his father’s. And even for His disciples, in the midst of an unbelieving father, they would have been able to bypass the father’s faithlessness if their own faith was strong enough.
We get more faith by coming to God and asking God for it.
Let me stop and say that faith is trust. The question is how much do you trust God to move on your behalf in the name of Jesus? How much do you trust that God is able to do anything except be someone He is not (a liar, a failure, etc…). How much do you trust that God is who He says He is and His Word is true.
So you get more faith (or you build your trust) by asking for more of it. You get more faith by coming to God. Ask and you shall recieve. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened unto you. You have to get to know someone in order to be able to put your trust in them. In order to have powerful faith you have to get close to God.
So what does that look like? How do you get close to God so that you can have powerful faith? Jesus tells His disciples, PRAYER AND FASTING. Prayer is seeking after God and listening to what He has to say and talking to Him about His promises that you have studied in His Word. Fasting is separating yourself from your fleshly lusts and turning off the noise of the world so that you can tune in to God.
Prayer and Fasting! That’s where the rubber hits the road. That is how you get powerful faith. No prayer and no fasting; no coming to God and getting to know Him = no faith. Little prayer and little fasting = little faith. Much prayer and much fasting = much faith!
Where’s your faith? Where do you want it to be? Where does the people who need you need it be? What are you going to do?