Whats faith got to do with it?
"Where is your faith?" Jesus once asked. (Luke 8:25) He proclaimed that faith as a grain of mustard seed was powerful. (Matthew 17:20) Many times he told people who had been healed, "Thy faith made thee whole." (Matthew 9:22, Mark 10:52) Faith definitely carried a lot of weight with Jesus!
Perhaps this is why he reprimanded his doubting disciple Thomas and said, "Because you have seen me you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet believe." (John 20:29)
How many times when making a resolution, taking an action or when thinking about something you’re striving or hoping for, are you apprehensive, doubtful, leery, skeptical, unbelieving, wary or uptight about the desired results?
I found it compelling that this list of adjectives was among synonyms for those "without faith" in light of another saying of Jesus: "…according to your faith be it unto you." (Matthew 9:29)
Could it be that our tentative and timid faith becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?
This reminds me of when Moses led the Children of Israel through the wilderness for 40 years in search of the Promised Land. I can’t help but wonder that perhaps they would have reached their desired destination quicker if they had not lost their faith so many times.
So what is it about faith that is so very powerful?
If our list of adjectives above gives us an indication of what it means to live without faith, perhaps we need to better understand what having faith entails.
The innocence of youth is often equated with blind belief, as if blind belief was somehow defining the meaning of faith. Hardly, my friends!
It seems to me that there’s nothing blind about the faith of children. Yes, children trust without question. They believe with conviction. Their confidence is unwavering. And their expectancy is definite. There is nothing provisional or hesitant about the faith of a child.
Children have faith because they know in their hearts what is true. Their faith rests entirely upon the certainty of their knowledge. So, of course, children are confident.
Of course, they have no fear. Of course, they have no reason to doubt. Oh to have child-like faith! Now that’s what I call having faith!
I’ve had times in my life when my faith was shaky. And it’s been in those times when I learned that my answer was found in "an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, — a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love," as Mary Baker Eddy writes.
Understanding God as Love, good and all is pretty powerful when you consider what these spiritual facts must then mean for you and your life as a child of God.
God’s love for His children surely means He is "a very present help in trouble." (Psalms 46:1) God’s goodness must certainly mean He only wants good for His children. And the allness of God undoubtedly leaves no room for "evil" to have a permanent place or be a destructive force in our lives.
I’ve been learning that as I assert my God-given dominion and freedom, my faith brings deliverance and blessings and leads to divine heights.
Your knowledge of God and His promises can transform your world. What’s faith got to do with it? Jesus would say everything!
Annette Bridges is a freelance writer who lives on a north Texas ranch with her husband, John. Her columns are published weekly on United Press International’s ReligionAndSpirit uality.com, Examiner.com and numerous other Web sites and newspapers. Visit her Web site and participate in her blog at www.annettebridges.com and send her an e-mail at email@example.com.
Difficult is not impossible!
I’ve had a few friends tell me about their new goals and the difficulties they expect in achieving them. And while I admitted their concerns seemed legitimate, I still had to interject that difficult did not mean impossible.
The "world view" of your decision, adjustment, task or situation may only be focused on the difficulties and even predict likely failure or at best a long and weary struggle. But I find comfort and hope in words Jesus once spoke: "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
I think Jesus would be unimpressed by any and all mortal opinions, theories, fears and conjectures on any and all subjects. He basically contended that if you had faith, "nothing shall be impossible to you." (Matthew 17:20)
If we’re going to make and implement goals, we need to believe our goals are attainable. Believing something might not be possible is surely self-defeating.
I don’t think Jesus was ever worried about being able to heal or feed the multitudes. He had no doubt that all needs would be met by our loving and gracious Father-Mother God. He listened for God’s guidance and was obedient to the instruction he received.
The Bible is filled with examples of people overcoming what some would have called impossible odds and circumstances. I have many favorites.
David conquering Goliath (I Samuel Chapter 17) and Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah Chapters 1 - 7) are two of them. Both trusted in their spiritual intuition and what they believed was God’s guidance and wisdom. Both were undaunted by fear, doubt, criticism or gossip. Their confidence rested upon divine mission and purpose. And they were certain and expectant of their success. How could they fail? And so they didn’t!
I love another Biblical example that illustrates not being overly impressed by what would at first appear to be impossible odds.
Apparently, the king of Syria sent a "great host" of men on horses and chariots and surrounded the city where Elisha was. When Elisha’s servant saw the army surrounding them, he fearfully asked Elisha, "How shall we do?" Elisha tried to calm his servant’s alarm and responded, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." (II Kings 6:16)
And then the Bible says, "And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." (II Kings 6:17)
When I find myself in situations that seem pretty much impossible to deal with or overcome, my prayer begins, "Open my ears, Lord, that I may hear your direction and guidance. Open my eyes, that I may see the solution you have provided. Open my mind, that I may understand your ever-presence, your allness, your power, your love."
It’s sometimes tempting to be fooled into believing our circumstances are beyond God’s control or reach. But not true, as Elisha’s experience aptly illustrated. Right there in the midst of what appeared to be imminent danger was God’s protection and saving power.
It is often our fear that keeps us from seeing solutions that are often closer at hand than we realize.
One of my favorite lines by Mary Baker Eddy is, "Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life, and recognizing no mortal or material power as able to destroy."
And so I also often pray, "Let me feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing me into newness of life. And let me recognize no mortal or material power as able to destroy."
So, my friends, when you’re faced with the difficult, remember difficult is not impossible. And you can feel and trust the power of God to enlighten, guide and save you.
Annette Bridges is a freelance writer who lives on a north Texas ranch with her husband, John. Her columns are published weekly on United Press International’s ReligionAndSpirituality.com, Examiner.com and numerous other Web sites and newspapers. Visit her Web site and participate in her blog at www.annettebridges.com and send her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.