In the previous post, “It’s About Faith,” we considered faith’s merit, faith’s purpose, and faith’s condition and test. Today, we will consider faith’s attributes and learn that faith comes from God.
From what Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, faith has the characteristic of amount or quantity. Jesus told us that even the smallest amount of faith can move mountains.
The amount, size, or quantity of faith we each have is unique. We are told in Romans 12:3, “each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” And Jesus said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:31)”
Therefore, faith can be tiny or little. It can also be great. We know this from Christ’s encounter with the Roman Centurion: When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! Matthew 8:10 NKJV” The Greek word for “great” that is used in this verse means: So great, so large, so long, so many.
Since we know how great Peter’s faith became after he received the Holy Spirit in Act 2, we know that God can increase our faith. 1 Corinthians 12:1–12 NASB tells us about the use of Spiritual gifts, and verse nine states that the Spirit gives to some the gift of faith. 1 Corinthians 12:9 NASB, “to another faith by the same Spirit”
From God’s Word we see that faith comes from God. We can’t create it. Faith can be tiny or large. God distributes faith to His children in the specific amounts that pleases Him. And the Holy Spirit can increase our faith, and that He also gives to some the gift of faith – an unusual faith for God’s word.
Just as faith connects us to God, unbelief separates us from Him. We learn this from Jesus when He visited His hometown.
And he [Jesus] did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.Matthew 13:58
Unbelief does not tie the hands of God! Nothing can hinder God. It’s helpful to remember Psalms 115:3: “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” Unbelief is not a hinderance to God, but it seems to withhold His favor.
Faith is like the air hose for a scuba diver. As long as the hose is connected to the air tank, the diver can live underwater. However, unbelief disconnects that air hose. By faith we are connected to Almighty God.
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He [Jesus] said, “Come.”Matthew 14:28–29
When we act in faith, we act in God’s will. Perhaps, it’s better to say it the other way. When we act in God’s will, we are acting in faith. When Jesus walked on the water, the apostle Peter asked Jesus to call him to the place where Jesus stood, and Jesus said, “Come.” Then Peter walked on the water until he put more faith in his understanding than he did in Jesus.
To summarize Peter’s experience: Peter prayed. Jesus gave Peter his request. Peter, by faith, received and acted on his answered prayer. Then Peter allowed unbelief to enter into his answered prayer. Peter’s answered prayer was lost because he couldn’t believe what God [Jesus] was doing. The amount of Peter’s faith, at that time, wasn’t sufficient to receive what he prayed for.
So, we have now seen that faith is not something that we either have, or don’t. Faith comes from God, and He distributes faith to individuals based on His purposes. Perhaps, the most important attribute we’ve seen about faith is that we need to have sufficient faith to receive what we pray for. This doesn’t mean we should be praying “smaller” prayers, rather, we should ask God for greater faith.
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