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How Much Faith Does it Take to Move a Mountain?

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How much faith does it take to produce a miracle? Most of us would probably assume that it takes a lot. If you’re asking God to do something that seems impossible, it’s easy to assume that you need to have some sort of super-human faith that is somehow proportionate to the size of the miracle that you’re seeking. However, Scripture debunks this idea. God doesn’t rest on His throne with scales in His hand, measuring the size of our need and the weight of our faith.

Matthew 17:20 (ESV)
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Picture the scene. Jesus and His disciples always drew a crowd, and this time was no different. However, when they got to the masses, a man came to Jesus and asked Him for a miracle. Some translations say the son was demon possessed while others indicate that he had some sort of seizure disorder that caused him to fall into fire, water, and other dangerous situations. Whatever the need was, the man had already sought help from the disciples who weren’t able to help him.

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Matthew 17:16 (ESV)
“And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.”

The man knew who the disciples of Christ were. He had tried to get them to heal his son, and they gave it their best effort. However, the boy was no better than he was before. Jesus wasn’t pleased with His disciples. Insomuch, that he referred to them as a “faithless and twisted generation” before pointing out that He wouldn’t always be here to clean up behind them before calling for the boy and healing him (Matthew 17:17-18).

The disciples were confused. They asked Jesus why they weren’t able to heal the boy, and He responded with the words we read in Matthew 17:20. He blamed it on their “little faith.”

Over the years, we have taken that Scripture to point to the amount of their faith, but that’s not what Christ said. He didn’t say, “Because of the small amount of your faith.” He said, “Because of your little faith.” If we don’t read this Scripture from a place of quantity, it points to something different. The disciples had their faith in something little. It wasn’t that they didn’t have faith, but it was misplaced faith. Perhaps they were relying on their own ability to heal the boy. Maybe they thought if they prayed a well-rehearsed prayer that checked all the religious boxes, the boy would be healed. However, it seems obvious that they had their faith in something smaller than God.

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How much faith does it take to produce a miracle? Not much. The mustard seed is the smallest seed known to man. Even in its entirety, it’s barely visible to the naked eye. However, Jesus said that you could crush a mustard seed, and if your faith was the size of one small piece of the powder produced, you could move mountains. God’s willingness to produce a miracle in your life isn’t contingent on the size of your faith. Instead, it’s based on where your faith is placed. How do we muster up enough faith to do what the disciples were incapable of doing?

Hearing the Word
Romans 10:17 (ESV)

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

The Bible is a sort of multitool for Christians. It is the source of information about God’s plan for our lives. It contains the roadmap to salvation that we need in order to accept God’s free gift of salvation. It’s also full of stories that we need in order to build our faith.

When we read stories about how David killed Goliath with nothing but a smooth stone, how Joshua asked God to make the sun stand still and how Christ raised the dead from the graves where they laid, it’s impossible for our faith not to grow.

In his letter to the Roman Church, Paul points to the importance of allowing God’s Word to build our faith. He also points out that faith comes from hearing the Word taught and preached. Yes, you should certainly spend time reading God’s Word for yourself, allowing it to permeate the deepest parts of your being. However, you should also connect to a local church where men and women of God stand and teach or preach the Word of God. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God.

Believing the Word
Hebrews 4:2 (ESV)

For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.

How many times have you read a news headline or a post on your social media feed and said, “I just can’t believe that!” Most of us often find ourselves doubtful at headlines that we consider “click bait” and the host of mistruths that are often shared on social media platforms. However, the unnamed author of Hebrews pointed out the importance of fully believing the Word of God.

There are some amazing stories contained in Scripture. Our modern society would have you to believe that some of those are symbolic or simply made-up fables that have been passed from one generation to the next. Is it possible that Jonah was actually swallowed by a large fish and then spit up onto dry ground three days later? Is it really feasible that Lazarus had been dead for four days before Christ came and called him out of the grave by name? To the natural mind, probably not. However, God is not limited to our natural thought processes. The things that He does are often unexplainable.

If the Word is the root of our faith, it’s vital that we fully believe it. Afterall, if you need a miracle in your life, you may already be asking God to do something that seems impossible. Thankfully, God is not bound by our preconceptions of what is possible and impossible.

Speak the Word
2 Corinthians 4:13 (ESV)
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe and so we also speak.

Before we dive into the fulness of this verse, let’s revisit what Jesus told the disciples and the crowd around Him in Matthew 17:20.

Matthew 17:20 (ESV)
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Jesus said that once they have established their faith, they should speak to the mountain standing between their position and their need. In 2 Corinthians 4:13, Paul said that because we have faith, we speak about it. Those of us who believe God for a miracle in our lives speak and those miracles are produced.

Proverbs 18:21 teaches us that “life and death are in the power of the tongue.” In Romans 4:17, Paul told the Christians in Rome to “speak things that aren’t as though they are.” Note, this isn’t done as a means to manipulate God into doing what we want Him to do. Instead, it is a means of building up our own faith. When we need God to do something that seems impossible, start talking about it (even to yourself) as though it is already done. This allows you to begin to truly believe that God is performing the miracle that you’re seeking from Him.

A Closing Prayer:
God, You know that I believe, but You also know the miracle that I need. Lord, this seems impossible to me from where I’m standing right now. However, I know that nothing is impossible for You. I may not feel like I have much faith, but I know where my faith is placed. Lord, do what I am unable to do. Produce the miracle that I need. I believe. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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