We have all heard this phrase before. It is used all the time. Jesus actually used it quite a lot as well. Not to encourage his followers to trust him in some crazy stunt. But in most cases as a real powerful teaching moment to challenge them and move them from their possible sin. A Youth Pastor who is now working at my old home church posted this great reminder of what Jesus was meaning when he told people they had little faith.
What is little faith? The Greek word is Oligopistos and it means incredulous (unable or unwilling to believe something or be completely convinced), lacking confidence in Christ or little faith. There are four things laid out in the Gospel according to Matthew that are faith killers that cause us to be unable or unwilling to believe and have our full confidence in Jesus Christ. Let’s examine each one briefly.
Matthew 6:30-34, “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry…” What we see in this passage is that “little faith” is caused by WORRY. The word “worry” means to be anxious or take thought and the Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We have our God who is all-powerful, all loving and so much more what do we have to worry about?
Matthew 8:26, “But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” Here we see Jesus telling His disciples that being FEARful is a cause of “little faith”. The word fearful means timid, faithless and fearful. I like the word timid as it means demonstrating a lack of courage. We are not to be self courageous but those who trust in Jesus can be courageous in Him. I like the quote (though I can’t remember who said it) “He who fears God need fear nothing else.” When our trust is completely in God and the only one who holds our fear is God then we need not be fearful but faith filled.
Matthew 14:31, “And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” In this passage we see Jesus identifying DOUBT as the cause of “little faith”. The word doubt here means to waver in opinion. When our trust is in Jesus our opinion of Him cannot waver for it is based on the truth of God’s Word. James speaks of the one who doubts this way, “…for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6. We are to doubt nothing when it comes to our relationship with Jesus.
Matthew 16:8, “But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason/talk/discuss among yourselves because you have brought no bread?” In the fourth and final passage that we will look at Jesus identifies reasoning among ourselves as the source of “little faith”. The word reason means to reckon thoroughly. So a cause of “little faith” is to try and figure it out for yourself instead of trusting in the Lord. Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” We don’t have to understand all of the “Why’s” we have to trust in the “Who”! ~Jason Starinieri
So the four sources of the “Little Faith” syndrome pointed out by Jesus in these four Scriptures; Worry, Fear, Doubt and Reason, all attributed by the Savior as faith killers, those things that make us ‘little faithers’. They all rob us and take the place of faith.
The word faith means – reliance & complete trust in & upon someone/something. For us as Christians we put our faith in Christ Jesus. Our faith is placed in His promise, for new life, salvation, the New Heaven, New Earth… New Us. We are called to place a lot of faith and Trust In Jesus. When we worry we are not relying on Jesus, when we fear we are not relying on Jesus, when we doubt we are not relying on Jesus and when we look to our own reason we are not relying on Jesus. Faith trusts in Jesus no matter what, no matter the obstacle.
The Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” When we have faith in God it is the substance, more like the foundation of what we hope for. It is the evidence, the structure of what we do not see. Faith is what we stand on and what proves God will come through. Our Faith is the Home we build for Christ and Others to experience. Now our faith is not blind, we have the Word of God to give us guidance and comfort and to give this substance and evidence to our faith, the Bible even promises that by being in the Word our faith will increase (Romans 10:17). But we must avoid the faith killers.
Are you worried about the unknown or even about the things you can see? Trust that God can work in any situation that comes your way.
Are you afraid? Know that God’s love in Jesus will never forsake you and He is greater than anything you face. John from the Bible tells us that perfect love casts out all fears. You see Jesus is that perfect love that when we place our faith and trust in him we have nothing to fear.
Are you in doubt? Know that there is no need for our God is faithful and has proven so by sending His Son to die for us.
Do you insist upon your own reason? Isaiah 55 tells us a very powerful truth here that Gods ways our not our ways, our thoughts are not His. You see we can not fully grasp or reason anything about God or with God. To try and discuss it, make it make sense is 100% impossible when trying to be done by reason. But by Faith we see, by faith we know the truth and believe that God is the one worthy of putting our faith and hope and trust and love into.