Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.Ephesians 6:10 (NKJV)
The Word of God tells us to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. The extent to which we are dependent on the Lord is the extent to which we are strong in Him and in the power of His might. One time the Apostle Paul had a challenge in his life and after praying about it three times the Lord told him that His grace was sufficient for him, for His strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9. The Bible also says that our sufficiency is from God. (2 Cor. 3:5). The influence of God’s power in our lives increases as we increase our dependence on Him. No wonder He told Paul that His strength is perfected in weakness.
We need to trade our inability for God’s ability. A lot of times we miss God’s best because we won’t let Him do it on our behalf. We must acknowledge that in ourselves we are not sufficient but our sufficiency is from the Lord. We are to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might not in ourselves. James 4:6 says that “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Remember He told Paul that His grace is sufficient. Now humility is acknowledging that the Lord is better and stronger than myself. It is acknowledging that I am weak in myself and therefore in need of the Lord. When I am humble before God I quit trying to get things done in my own strength and ask Him for His strength. That’s when His strength is made perfect in my weakness.
So now the extent to which I acknowledge my insufficiency in myself and the extent to which I acknowledge God’s sufficiency for me is the extent to which I am strong in Him. The more I submit myself to Him in humility the more grace I receive from Him, and the stronger I become in Him. Dependence on God and His word is what faith is. Proverbs 3:5 tells me to trust the Lord with all my heart and to lean not on my own understanding. The more faith I have in God, the lesser I will trust in myself and the stronger I will be in Him. So then the extent to which I am strong in my faith is the extent to which I am strong in Him.
The Bible makes a mention of five kinds or measures of faith. The extent to which you trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding is the determinant of the kind of faith you’re operating. These kinds of faith are: little faith, great faith, weak faith, strong faith and unbelief. As we continue with our study you will be able to identify what kind you're working with and how to operate in the right kind of faith.
In Matthew 6:25-34 the Lord Jesus was teaching on the subject of trusting God for our lives and He said that to worry about food and clothing is to be of little faith. (Matthew 6:30). On another occasion Jesus and His disciples were crossing the sea and great tempest arose, so that the boat was covered with the waves. Then the disciples woke Him up for He had been sleeping, and He rebuked the wind and it was calm. Now before He rebuked the wind He first reprimanded them for being fearful and having little faith. (Matthew 8:26). There was yet another occasion when they were crossing the sea, and Jesus having been left behind came walking on the water, and Peter, not believing that it was Him asked Him to command him to walk on the water for him to believe Him. Now the Bible says that Peter began to walk on water but began to sink when he saw that the wind was boisterous. Jesus said that Peter had little faith for he doubted. (Matthew 14:31).
So what makes up for little faith then? In all the cases where faith is considered little you’ll notice some things are common. The first thing you see in little faith is anxiety or worry. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. One gets little faith when they hear the Word of God but won’t believe it in the heart. In other words, there is no conviction in the reliability of the Word. In Matthew 6:25-34, the Lord Jesus first draws our attention to nature and how God takes care of natural things which have no worry. The birds of the air do not sow or reap or gather into barns yet God feeds them. The lilies of the field neither toil nor spin yet God clothes them. We know from Psalm 19 that the creation declare the glory of God, so our observation of these things should show us how much God cares for us since we are of more value than them. So when we worry about our lives it’s like we are ignoring His Word since such an observation is expected to make us have faith in God.
Mark’s account of the storm incident allows us to see more details. The first thing the Lord said was, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now that word was supposed to create faith in the hearts of the disciples. It was supposed to give them the assurance that they would get to the other side of the sea. Verse 38 tells us that they woke Him up when the storm came saying, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Now we know that the disciples were worried for cares and worries and anxieties are the same. Their reaction after the calming of the storm shows us that they had not woken Him up to calm the storm but to worry with them, for they feared exceedingly. (Mark 4:41). When you pray, do you call on God to help you worry about the problem or to deal with it?
In Matthew 14:27, the Lord Jesus spoke to the disciples saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Having walked with Jesus before, the disciples were supposed to have noticed that Jesus never lied, so He could not have claimed to be the one while it wasn’t Him. Notice what Peter said, “If it is You…” You see Peter never really believed it was Jesus, He had to prove it. If he really believed he could have said something like this, “Because it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” However because he didn’t believe he had to be shown a sign. Later, when he began to walk on the water he looked at the waves, forgetting that he was walking on water at Jesus’ word not on the absence of waves, and began to sink for he was afraid.
In all the three examples, men are trying to solve their problems their own way without God. Little faith has more confidence in self than in God and His word. Peter started fearing for he was putting the responsibility of remaining afloat on himself rather than the word of Jesus. In the storm the disciples became afraid for they depended on themselves to save their lives and not on Jesus. That’s why they blamed Him. In Matthew 6:30, it’s called little faith because the individual looks upon themselves to meet their needs. That’s the cause of worry and fear. Now when the Lord says something, our work is to believe it and do what He says, not to work out the results. Peter’s job was to walk on the water not to keep himself afloat. Don’t try to keep yourself afloat, you just walk if He has asked you to do so.
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