“I do believe. Help my unbelief.” – Vs 24
Boy, can I ever relate to that statement. Especially right now when it seems that so much is going on around me. It seems that my faith is being tested daily by my circumstances and surroundings. And I believe. I really do. I believe God is there. I believe He is all powerful. I believe He is in control and fully aware of my situation. I believe what the Word of God says and have confidence in its promises for me. I believe Jesus loves Me and wants what is best for me.
But in spite of all my belief, I still seem to struggle with unbelief. It’s really not an issue of a lack of belief or faith, but the quality of that faith. One translation renders verse 24 this way: “I have faith; make my feeble faith stronger” (BBE). Just like the man in the story, I have faith, but my faith or belief is weak. The Greek word used is apistia. It means “want of faith, unbelief, or weakness of faith.” The “a” in front of the word is like or prefix “un.” When the man says, “I believe,” the Greek word used is pisteuo. It means “to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, to place confidence in.” This man did believe. Otherwise he would not have brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples for healing. Remember, Jesus and three of His disciples had been up on the mountain for His transfiguration. The rest had been left behind. When Jesus arrives on the scene there is a crowd gathered. This man had brought his son for healing, but had received none. Jesus’ first response upon arrival was to say, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring Him to Me!” (vs 19).
The word Jesus uses to describe what He sees is “unbelieving.” In the Greek it is the word apistos. There’s that “a” prefix again. The word means faithless or unbelieving. Look familiar? It’s the same basic word the father uses in the story. He had heard Jesus’ statement and he includes himself in the crowd of those who are lacking in faith. He understands that he is part of an “unbelieving generation.” He believes. He has faith. But it is of a weak variety. For all intense and purposes, it is non-existent. Because a faith that does not see results might as well be unfaith. It is a non-existent faith. So far this man’s faith had gotten him nowhere. His son was still possessed. So he knows nothing more than to ask Jesus for help with his unbelief, his weak faith. And how does Jesus respond? He heals the man’s son. What do you think this did for the man’s faith? I think it was like a steriod shot or a double-shot of espresso. Watching Jesus work was a boost to this man’s faith. But isn’t that how it always works? We don’t muster up more faith. We can’t produce a greater degree of faith. We just have to take what little faith we have and bring it to Him. It is when we see Him work that our faith begins to grow. It is when we bring Him what little we have that we get the privilege of watching Him work, and we walk away with our faith increased. Isn’t that the story behind the feeding of the 5,000? The disciples had weak faith. They wanted to send the people away. They could not see any way to feed that many people. So Jesus asks them to bring what they had. And they bring a paltry couples of loaves and fishes. But what happened next? Jesus turns a little into a lot. He performs a miracle. And each disciple walked away with a basketfull of leftovers. They carried away an armful of increased faith.
How’s your belief today? You have it, but it is probably a little on the weak side. You have muscles, but some of them may be a little weak and flabby. Why? Because of disuse. They exist, but they’re underused. The same is true of our faith. We have it, but we just don’t use it. Why not bring it to Him today? Ask Him to help you with your unbelief, your “little” faith. If you do, you will walk away with increased faith, because He will act. He will do something to make your faith grow. He always does.
Father, help my unbelief. My faith is weak from under-use. I don’t exercise it enough. I have it, but I am afraid to use it because I don’t think it is strong enough to produce results. Which makes it all about me. But this isn’t about me. It is about You. You are strong enough. You can do anything. No situation is too big for you. And no situation is limited to the size of my faith. You said I only needed to have faith the size of a mustard seed (Luke 17:6). That’s pretty small. So Father, I bring my sometimes microscopic faith to you this morning and ask that you help me. Strengthen my faith by allowing me to see You work. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men