This story about the boy and the evil spirit was important enough to be in three of the four New Testament accounts by the disciples. Matthew, Mark and Luke all give slightly different takes on this event, but the main thought rang true throughout all three…the disciples couldn’t heal the boy on their own. But instead of admitting defeat, giving up, or walking away, they came to Jesus searching for answers. In Matthew 21:21 Jesus replied to their inquiry by telling them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt…” Doubt is being double-minded or having a divided mind. So when we doubt, we sway back and forth between faith and fear…never achieving full confidence and trust in what God can do. But just like the disciples, if we will go to Jesus admitting our shortcomings, He will speak truth in order to dispel our doubt. And if, like the boy’s father we ask Jesus to, ” Help me overcome my unbelief!” He will show us the way.
There was a great famine in the land due to a drought. The prophet Elijah had been instructed by the Lord to find a certain widow in Zarephath who would supply him with food. But when Elijah found her and asked for bread, she told him she had only enough flour and oil to feed herself and her son for the very last time. Elijah then said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But make a small cake of bread for me first.” In other words, “Before you feed your loved ones, I want you to trust God and feed me first.” Elijah was asking the widow to stretch her faith farther than it had ever been stretched before. He was challenging her to put her faith in God for the family’s provisions…no matter how long the famine lasted. He reassured her that by trusting God the jar of flour and jug of oil wouldn’t run dry…and they miraculously didn’t. Oh, to have the faith of that widow! Her eyes only saw a handful of flour and a dribble of oil left…but yet she bravely stepped out in faith, trusting God to provide for her family.
The only way you can become really good at something is to practice…whether it’s a sport, a musical instrument, or a newly discovered talent, without practice, it’s just wishful thinking. Today, this Scripture wants us to take a new and different attitude when faced with the trials in our lives. It wants us to consider trials as practice. Every time we’re put to the test, we need to realized it’s a God-ordained crucible in which we are being purified. In other words, trials equal refining…trials equal developing patience…trials equal suffering in the faith…trials are a chance to practice what we preach.
Do you know where you’ll go when you die? If you’re a Believer, do you have the trust to confidently state, “Yes, I’m going to heaven.” Or do you stand there today just hoping you’ll make it? This verse should then refute that gnawing uncertainty in your mind once and for all. For when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we are reconciled and placed in right standing with God. And the peace brought about by this reconciliation to our Heavenly Father overshadows any doubt or fear our minds may have. So stand now in faith and righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord and be assured of your eternal life.
God is faithful…keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations. (Deuteronomy 7:9) He is trustworthy, just, and true, unlike anyone else on this planet. For others will betray you…even those professing their love for you. But God will never go back on His Word. He can be trusted…so in turn, we can believe in Him. And in that confidence, springs hope. (Hebrews 10:23)
Jesus Christ came to earth and died on the Cross to fulfill the demands of the Law. He freed us from the impossible observances of those Laws…giving us instead His perfect Law that offers freedom from sin and guilt. For anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus…the old Law-keeping vanishes, as the new covenant is activated in their heart.
I’ll be the first to admit…I’m not a patient person. But patience is exactly what God wants from me. He asks that I steadfastly pray for unsaved loved ones…even if I don’t see change. He asks that I not give up on dreams He’s given me…even if it’s been years. God only asks that I be patient in my faith…unwavering in my trust of Him, as He works towards His divine purpose in my life. For if you think about it, it’s very little He’s asking.
When God is seemingly hidden…when He’s working behind the scenes and not in obvious ways for you, what do you do? Do you walk and seek Him with faith or cower in fear? Is it with trust that you face down the challenge, or is it with trepidation? Despite the fact you may not see God working, do you move ahead with confidence and certainty, or draw back with concern? A lot of our Christian walk has to be done by the determination of sheer faith…faith that God’s still there…and still in control.
There’s no way around it…we all need to be around fellow Believers. There’s nothing like being with like-minded Christians…sharing, listening, and bearing each others burdens in prayer. All of us need encouragement and our faith strengthened by interacting with other Believers…we all need to hear how God is moving in other’s lives. As it says in Proverbs 27:17, ” As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Think of it…something the Lord has brought you through is exactly what someone needs to hear today.
As the upheaval of this current world continues, no where will you find with certainty reliable truth and enduring principles. It’s only with the Lord that you will find a firm foundation to build your life upon and statues to live an ethically upright life in the mist of this chaos.