Imperfect Faith

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And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them? And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and sayeth, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him; and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up, and he arose (Mark 9:14-27).

In this account, have you ever noticed a couple of things this father said to Jesus? He said, “If you can do anything, have mercy on us. Then he said, “Lord, I believe. Help thou my unbelief.” This man was in an extremely difficult situation and his faith was shaky. In other words, his faith was far from perfect.

Jesus called the multitude a “faithless generation.” He corrected the crowd, but he did not really correct the father. Why? The crowd wasn’t going through the situation; the father was.

It is not unusual for our faith to be imperfect when we are the ones going through tough times. Sometimes people correct us by saying, “All you have to do is believe. Just believe.” Satan himself will take it upon himself to question our belief in God and will float those questions through our minds. Two things we need to remember when this happens:

1. It is easy to tell someone else how they should react if you aren’t the one in the fire.

2. Satan is a liar. Therefore we should never entertain any thoughts he gives us.

Jesus said, “…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.” (Matthew 17:20)

Our faith doesn’t have to be a big faith that doesn’t see circumstances for what they are and is one prayer and done.

When God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, he was giving him a monumental task. Moses saw the situation the way it was: “God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) He had real questions. However, we know that his faith grew as God performed miracle after miracle before his very eyes.

What about the “one prayer and done” kind of faith? I have heard people say that if you have faith, you should only have to pray once. Mark 8:23-25 says, “And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.” (Mark 8:23-25) If Jesus touched this man twice, I don’t think He has a problem with our faith just because we pray more than once about a matter.

I mention these things simply because our faith isn’t in our faith. Our faith is in Him. Hebrews 11:6 says we must believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Our faith begins with simply believing in God’s existence. This leads us to seek Him with all of our hearts. Then we get to watch Him do what only He can do.

Look closely at the words of Isaiah 55:8-11:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Notice, God is higher in His thoughts and His ways than we are in our thoughts and our ways. When He speaks, things are accomplished. Faith acknowledges the sovereignty of God regardless of the outcome. We pray and leave the results up to Him. Sometimes our faith is imperfect- just plain weak at times. However, we trust in our God who is perfect. We trust in our God who is always strong.

Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.

Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children  — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter  — Breanna. 

Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.

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