A Little Faith
Chan Gin Kai
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. (Luke 17:5-6)
It Takes Faith
Jesus taught that we must forgive those who sin against us, even if they sin against us repeatedly (read last article). Upon hearing this, his disciples replied, “Increase our faith!”
It is indeed difficult to forgive a person, especially if they sin against us again and again. The disciples were right in realising that they need faith in God to do that.
We may not trust those who have sinned against us. We may doubt their sincerity, question their repentance, and even fear that they’ll hurt us again. But we’re not asked to forgive them because of their goodness, we’re forgiving them because we trust in God’s goodness.
We believe that God is wiser than we are. We have confidence in His protection, we are assured of His fairness. That’s why we trust that God has His reasons for commanding that we forgive. Forgiveness requires faith in God.
So do all the many other difficult things that God requires of us.
Without faith, it is impossible to love our enemies, be patient in affliction, and deny our desires… “without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
These commands are hard to follow because they don’t make sense to us. They fly in the face of human wisdom… We fear that forgiving our enemies makes them think we are weak, so we respond to hurts with retaliation. We don’t see the good that can come from difficulties, so we get frustrated with our afflictions. We overvalue worldly pleasures and underestimate the consequences, so we give in to our sinful desires.
We have a natural tendency to focus on what we can see, deduce and understand. But the Bible teaches us to focus on what we cannot see — God’s character and His promises. “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Faith in God helps us to change our mindset. When we trust that God is fair and that He will vindicate us, we can forgive and even love our enemies. When we are confident in God’s protection and timing, we can be patient in affliction. When we believe in the rewards that God has stored for us in heaven, worldly desires lose their allure.
It is impossible to obey God when our mindsets are wrong. We know we can’t count on the goodness of our nature or the strength of character to succeed. But when we have faith in God’s goodness and love, it becomes easier to obey Him.
A Little Faith
While the disciples were right in realising they need faith to forgive people, they were wrong in thinking they need more faith.
Jesus replied that they’ll only need faith as small as a mustard seed to uproot a mulberry tree. The mustard seed is only one to two millimetres in diameter. The mulberry tree grows us to 24 meters tall, and has roots that grow aggressively and extensively. A little faith is sufficient to achieve big feats.
We don’t need to have BIG FAITH in God; we need to have faith in a BIG GOD. It’s got nothing to do with OUR faith, but everything to do with HIS power. Faith requires shifting our focus from ourselves to Him.
Small faith in a good plane may make us scared of flying, but big faith in a bad plane can get us killed. The former is an inconvenience, the latter is a danger. What we believe in matters much more than the size of our belief.
Do we believe that God’s promises are more desirable than the world’s pleasures? Do we trust that God’s power is greater than our problems? Do we have the confidence that God's love is bigger than our sins? What do you believe in?
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)
Peter said that if we believe in Jesus and love him though we have not seen him, we will be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. Do we feel that? And the end result of our faith is our salvation. How does that excite us?
Jesus asked for a little faith. It is not the strength of our belief, but the One we believe in that empowers us.
A little faith goes a long way.
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.