“Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, ‘Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?’ ‘You don’t have enough faith,’ Jesus told them. ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.’” – Matthew 17:19-20 (NLT)
“You don’t have enough faith.” Now there’s a statement! Other versions of this text have Jesus quoted as saying, “Because of your unbelief” or because of “your lack of firmly relying trust.” (KJV, AMP) When the disciples wanted to know why something they were sent out to do didn’t work, Jesus pointed to their lack of faith. Just hearing the marching orders won’t guarantee you'll get the job done. You’ve actually got to believe in the One who sent you. Just believing in the “mission” of the One who sent you isn’t enough, either. Without having an underlying faith in Jesus himself, we do not have the power or the ability to accomplish the work he has given us to do.
How do we get this sort of faith in Jesus? I look to two different scriptures when I need to bolster my faith level. The first is Mark 9:24 where a father asks Jesus to free his demon-possessed son if he is able. Jesus tells him anything is possible for a person who believes. Then the father says, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.” It's so awesome to know we can simply ask God to help us with our unbelief!
The other scripture I draw encouragement from is Matthew 8:5-10 where the Roman Centurion comes to Jesus and asks him to heal his servant. When Jesus offers to go to the man’s house to heal the servant, the man refuses, saying “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus was so impressed by this demonstration of faith that the scripture says he marveled at it. I want God to marvel at my faith. This scripture tells me that in order for God to marvel at my faith, my faith needs to believe God at his Word. If I want to build my faith, I’ve got to get into his Word, read his Word, meditate on his Word and believe his Word. Romans 10:17 tells me faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. We have to hear the Word on a regular basis. Hearing the Word builds our faith.
Jesus told his disciples faith makes all things possible. He's telling us that, too. When we have faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains. If we need help to obtain a mustard seed of faith, all we have to do is ask him for help.