“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed . . nothing will be impossible.” Matthew 17:20 NIV
“Faith has to be firm and steadfast, resting solidly on what is unshakable and unchangeable.”
My thoughts today are about “faith is not manipulation.”
Ever felt manipulated? Did you feel very happy later when you discovered you were being manipulated? Such an experience disappoints you in someone you trusted, leaving a sense of their betrayal of your trust. You are manipulated when someone tells you what you want to hear to get you to do what they want you to do. At its source, manipulative behavior violates relationship. The problem is more motive than method! A manipulator’s self-interest results in their methods of influencing your decision or behavior – for their advantage at your expense..
Now let’s talk about faith. Faith is a powerful force; however, faith is never a way by which a person can successfully pressure God to give or do anything they want from Him. That would be a misguided attempt to manipulate God. As I stated above, that would be a violation of relationship. Faith is exactly the opposite of that; it is the expression of a trusting, mutually caring bond.
Faith releases God to accomplish things otherwise impossible. Faith has to be firm and steadfast, resting solidly on what is unshakable and unchangeable. Read James 1:6-8 NLT. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen . . but without faith, it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:1/6 NKJV.
Jesus talked a lot about faith as an essential element of every relationship with God. Every person is “by grace . . saved, through faith.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Jesus commended people when they displayed faith; He chided the disciples when they lacked faith. He explained that there are acts of God that only happen through the exercise of faith, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed . . nothing will be impossible.” Matthew 17:20 NIV.
Faith in God – His character and Word – moves God’s heart and releases His hand to do mighty works on your behalf, but never contrary to His own sovereign will and wisdom. Faith is the means by which you cooperate with God’s will, not counteract that. God may not always do what you desire, but God will do what is wise and best at all times. Real faith does not manipulate.
Believe God for great things; trust Him for the right things. James observed, “The reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong – you want only what will bring you pleasure.” James 4:2-3 NLT. Be unafraid to ask all your heart can hope and believe, then trust yourself completely to His care. In my lifetime, I am very thankful for the times God provided what I needed rather than what I asked.
My prayer for you today is as Paul prayed: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power . . to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ . . that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:17-20 NIV.