I’ve been struck over and over in this week’s reading about the importance of faith. Back in chapter 6 of Mark, there’s a verse that brought up a lot of questions for me. Verse 5 says, “And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them…” To say someone “couldn’t do” something generally means they weren’t capable of doing it, but knowing that Jesus’ power is unlimited, I had to search deeper for my answers. After reading several commentaries, it seems that volition played a part in this. It’s not that He couldn’t do miracles in the sense that we think of the word couldn’t, but more that He wouldn’t do them in light of their lack of faith.
Just doing a search in the New Living Translation of the Bible for the word faith yields over 500 results. The Bible has 1,189 chapters in its 66 books, so having one word (including its different forms e.g. faithful, faithless, etc.) appear so frequently is really striking to me. Faith, as well as the lack of it, is a really big deal.
Jesus’ words about faith in Mark 11 astound me: “Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.” It makes me sad to think how much of God’s power I may have limited by my own lack of faith. But on the flip side, I’m blown away by the potential of faith.
Faith is more than belief, it’s belief plus trust. Our faith is meant to be active and give us the courage to live boldly. If we truly believe that God is for us, and we recognize Him as He is in all His power and glory, does it really matter who is against us?
Faith, our belief plus our trust, opens the door for God’s power to work in our lives. But we have a choice whether we will believe and trust or not. Faith is like a muscle that gets stronger one decision at a time. Every single day we are presented with opportunities to either grow our faith or allow it to wither.
I don’t want to miss out on seeing God’s power in my life and I bet you don’t either. Let’s make a commitment to exercise our faith muscles this year and see what God can do!
Executive Director of Education and Outreach