“When the disciples saw it they marveled, saying, ‘How did the fig tree wither at once?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.’”
Frankly, powerful statements that Jesus made like this about faith unsettle me. Does this promise mean if I believe hard enough, God will enable me to rob our local bank and cause the bank guard to wither when he tries to stop me? Does it mean I can have a pink Cadillac, if I drum up enough faith, saying, “I believe! I believe! I believe!”?
Such declarations tend to make us uncomfortable because we do not understand what faith is or how to acquire it.
Biblical faith responds to God. It rests on what God’s word says and on what God speaks to our hearts. Romans 10:17 says,
“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Paul, of course, is referring primarily to hearing the gospel. But Jesus clearly told us no one could come to Him without the Father drawing. (John 6:44) This is not simply hearing the gospel from another person or reading it in the Bible. We must hear God speaking to us through the Bible or another person. As we respond to the gospel, we enter a relationship of faith by which we continue to hear God speak and trust in Him.
In Romans 12:3 Paul writes,
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
Paul goes on to list different spiritual gifts that God calls us to trust him for. God may or may not call you to turn the Potomac River to blood or part the Mediterranean Sea for refugees to walk through on dry land. But if you grow in hearing God's voice, you will be amazed at what He will do through your faith in Him.
I need to say, I have trouble believing God for what He desires to do in and through my life. I want to cry out with the man in Mark 9, “I believe; help my unbelief!” I think that man, in his desperation, grasped the key to growing faith. He asked Jesus. Jesus develops our faith as we seek Him and spend more and more time listening to His voice.