“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
There are many things to have faith in. You can have faith in a person. In your spouse. In a company or organization. You can have faith in friends, teams, a small group of trusted acquaintances that have experienced similar experiences, failures.
And there are many kinds of faith. There is small faith. Weak faith. Faith that comes and goes. A faith that’s like a roller coaster: up and down. And then there’s a faith that falls off the edge of a cliff.
We may have all kinds of faiths to choose from. We look at faith like a Chinese menu, filled with lots and lots of options. Different kinds of meats. Different kinds of cooking. Different kinds of vegetables. Different kinds of sauces.
Or we look at faith like a spiritual Golden Corral buffet where everything is spread out in front of us. Where we get to choose what and how much. We can skip the vegetables and go hog wild on the meat and shrimp. We can pass on the soup and dive directly into the deserts.
This is how we look at faith today. Something that we get to shape, form, and paint it the colors we choose. Faith has become intensely personal based on our individual choices, beliefs, and views.
But Jesus is talking about an entirely different kind of faith. It’s not a faith that comes and goes. A faith that softens over time, like so much melted ice cream.
No, when Jesus talks about faith, it’s not something that changes. But is a secured certainty. And we are to have this faith actively going on within our daily life.
And this isn’t a suggestion, some optional choice that we might select or not. When Jesus tells us to have faith, it’s a command. There is no getting around the fact that Jesus expects, no demands, that we have faith.
A faith that’s as certain as a signed contract. When you pay off your mortgage, it’s stamped “paid in full” and no one can change that. When you pay cash for a car, you not only get the keys, but you get the title with just your name on it. It’s yours and no one can take that away from you.
The faith Jesus talks about is more of a guarantee than a guess. It’s more fixed than flexible. More definite than doubtful.
His flavor of faith isn’t sudden or isolated on an island. The kind of faith that Jesus describes is woven tightly into every part of life. It’s not delayed. It’s never late. It never gets lost. It never takes a wrong turn.
Now, we may do all these things, and more. But Jesus’ faith does not. We may stray, stumble, fall, get lost and injured. But faith in a God who constantly sees and knows us, who’s never lost when it comes to us, makes life not only bearable, but dependable.
Because God is dependable, we can put all our dependence, all our faith in and on him. He never moves. He never fails. He never changes. People, parents, partners, all disappoint. But Jesus never fails.
Having faith that a fig tree will dry up isn’t the key. Throwing a mountain into the ocean isn’t the underlying reason Jesus says this. And, by the way, this is not a Christ Credit Card that allows us to ask, no, demand, anything and everything from God in this life. This isn’t a guarantee that if I have enough faith that I can have the car. Have the house. Get the partner. Win the contract. Win the election.
Faith isn’t something we create, or even plug into. The Jesus kind of faith is when we personally and intimately connect with the God of the universe. When we see life from his perspective. We ask what he wants to do, for his glory and the good of his people.
Having faith isn’t nothing but happiness either. It’s not all about success and celebration. It’s not about having good feelings. It’s not experiencing pain or suffering either. Jesus had great faith and yet he experienced great pain, suffering, loneliness.
If Jesus, our great God and savior experienced pain, suffering, loneliness, what makes us think that we’re going to escape these same experiences? If our great high priest went through the valley of the shadow of death, how can we think that God will have us travel through this life via some overpass of life?
When Jesus commands us to have this active, living faith in God, he’s calling us to an intimate partnership with God. Where our heavenly Father cares and comforts his children.
In this life, we’ll have trials and tribulations. But Jesus says that he has already overcome the world. When we live by faith, we play the game, as rough as it may get. But we know who wins in the end.
So, there’s nothing to worry about.