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Summary: Increasing our faith is a gift from God that we recognize in difficult times when we question God less and trust Him more.

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INCREASE OUR FAITH

(Luke 17:3-6; Mt.15:21-28)

Increase our faith asked the disciples after Jesus had just explained to them the need to forgive your brother even up to 7 times in one day.

The disciples knew themselves well enough to admit that to forgive a person once can be difficult let alone seven times. They knew that many of the teachings Jesus taught required more faith than they had. On one occasion after Jesus had healed a son

who had a dumb spirit that caused epileptic seizures, the disciples asked Jesus privately afterwards: Why could not we cast out that dumb spirit as you did? And Jesus said to them

“this kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Mark 9:28ff) This episode of not being able to heal like Jesus and not being able to forgive as often as Jesus taught was cause enough for them to ask: “Lord, Increase our Faith !

It is our loss when we do not make the same request of Christ today. Most of the time it would seem that we are satisfied or willing to live with the status quo when it comes to our spiritual life. Then when a crisis occurs, we suddenly have an urgent need for more faith- God please heal my very sick child; God please save me from the shame and embarrassment of this sin in my life, God, please give me the right answer to this difficult problem I face; and we find

ourselves repeating the remark of the father speaking to Jesus about healing his son- Lord,I believe, help my unbelief— another way of saying Lord, I have faith, but I need greater faith to deal with this child’s problem.

We could take a long time talking about what faith is or what faith means but most of us already have a pretty good idea because of being disappointed by the

faithlessness we have all experienced at one time or another. The most common example is the person who promises to be somewhere at a certain time and then never shows up without any explanation or she told you even promised you she would never do it again and then she went ahead and did it again. And what did you say to yourself about that person:

“I don’t have much faith in him or her.” And we know exactly what you mean- the person can’t be counted on, can’t really be trusted, because they are unreliable for whatever reason.

Yes, we know something about faith all right even to the point of sometimes thinking or accusing God of being faithless. He didn’t answer my desperate prayer; He allowed this terrible evil to happen in my family; here I am trying to live a decent life and I’m getting further behind instead of ahead- where is this God who blesses and keeps safe- where no evil shall befall me, no scourge come near my tent (Psalm 91:10)?

What can be even more discouraging is what Jesus said to his disciples after they asked Him

to Increase our Faith. He said to them:

If you had faith even the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this tree be rooted up and be planted in the sea and it would obey you. In Mark 11:23 Jesus uses the example of a mountain

(far greater than a tree): “whoever says to this mountain, be taken up and cast into the sea and


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