2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.”
There are times when you read something in the Word of God and think; “I don’t believe I had seen that before” or “How did this not jump out at me before?” I say that about the statement: “……for all men have not faith.”
It caught my eye because I know that the Bible also states:
Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
So, if every man has a measure of faith, I guess it truly matters what we do with that faith. How we exercise that faith truly matters
To truly understand that statement, we must understand the biblical definition of faith.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
The Bible has many descriptors for faith.
There is NO faith.
Deuteronomy 32:20 “And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.”
We do not normally use that word ‘froward’, but, it appears often enough in our Bible that it stands to define it. Webster’s 1828 dictionary states:
FRO’WARD, a. L. versus: turned or looking from.
Perverse, that is, turning from, with aversion or reluctance; not willing to yield or comply with what is required; unyielding; ungovernable; refractory; disobedient; peevish; as a froward child.
They are a very froward generation, children in whom is no fair. Deut. 32.
Thomas, the apostle; known to us as ‘doubting’ Thomas, was accused by Jesus of being faithless, or without faith. Though the Bible never labels Thomas as a doubter, Jesus told him to exercise his faith.
John 20:27 “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.”
Those with no faith are reluctant to believe; unwilling, unyielding in their belief systems.
There is LITTLE faith.
Meaning, that faith is present, but in small measure.
We find it when the disciples were caught in a storm with Jesus fast asleep in the stern. He arose and rebuked the wind. It may be they did not grasp who Jesus was or believe that He would or could deliver them.
Peter, the only other human being recorded to have walked on water, began to sink when he saw the wind boisterous and possibly the waves washing over his feet. Jesus points out to us that a more significant amount of faith could have overcome the obstacles that caused Peter to waver in his faith.
On one of their journeys, the disciples had forgotten to take bread. Jesus said:
Matthew 16:6 “Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”
The disciples thought it was because of their failure to remember the bread. Jesus pointed out that their perspective was far too narrow, and they should see beyond that which they could see and touch.
Matthew 16:8 “Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?”
Matthew 16:11 “How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?”
Then, there is GREAT faith.
Two people are described as having great faith. Most of us know of the centurion who when his servant was ill sent elders of the Jews to tell Jesus to come to heal the one who was sick. When Jesus was on His way, the centurion sent friends to Him and said:
Luke 7:6-8 “Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.”
This simple request was elevated to be greater than all of the nation of Israel.
Luke 7:9 “When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”
Then, there is the account of the Canaanite woman who besought the Lord to cast the demon out of her daughter. She pressed beyond the social and cultural moors of the day to seek help for her daughter.
Jesus stated clearly that He was not going to help her.
Matthew 15:26 “But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”
Her faith went above and beyond and pressed Jesus further.
Matthew 15:27 “And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
She was so willing to humble herself and to go to such lengths as to be called a dog. The exercise of her faith was to so sacrifice everything for what it was she desired – healing for her daughter.
Are you convicted as I am? That the exercise of my faith is not on that level? Much of what I do is within the realm of my gifts and talents. I sometimes feel as if I have reached a comfort level in my Christianity to do that which “I” am able, instead of what the God of the impossible can do through me.
Young, enthusiastic, and newly saved; it was easy to exercise my faith then. Now, however, I must press myself to take steps of faith continually. Daily Manna was a seemingly small step of faith. Today, it is read in over 85 countries in this last year alone.
Often, we fear failure so much; we do not even try. I am reminded what God can do with our ‘mustard seed’ of faith.
Matthew 17:20 “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.”
We need once again, to attempt the impossible as we serve the God who can make all things possible!