About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Can We Get More Faith?

Iíve heard people say, "I need more faith", as if faith was a commodity that falls down from Heaven into our lives. This statement shows a lack of Biblical understanding concerning what the word "faith" actually means. Is faith really something that we can get more of? I donít think so.

If faith is not a commodity that we can get more of, then what is it? The Greek word "pistis" that is translated as "faith" in the New Testament means "to trust". So when we say "we have faith in Jesus", what we are saying is that "we trust Jesus".

I believe our society understands the idea of trust better than faith. We trust in all sorts of ways. We trust the bank every time we give them money to deposit into our accounts. In this sense, is trust, or faith, a commodity that we can get more of? No.

Trusting in Jesus implies having some kind of relationship with Him. Thus in a Biblical context an expanded definition of faith is "a trusting commitment between a person and Jesus". The two important thoughts here are trust and relationship.

So what do we mean when we ask Jesus for more faith? Are we asking for a bucket of faith to be poured into our lives? Sorry, but it doesnít work that way. In actuality, we are asking Jesus to help us "trust Him more than we presently do". Simply put, we donít need more trust (faith). We need to trust more.

I think many of us have a different definition of faith than what Jesus has. Let me give this analogy. A 3 year old boy asks his mother for a banana, thinking that a banana is round and red. So his mother gives him a banana, knowing that a banana is long skinny and yellow. The boy takes the fruit from his mother, looks at it and throws it away because it doesnít look round and red.

The boy and his mother have a problem based on their different definitions of what an apple is. The boy asks for a banana, thinking a banana is an apple. The mother gives the boy what he asked for, but not what he wanted. This is a common problem when we ask Jesus for something and our definitions donít match His. He has 2 choices concerning our prayers in this regard. Either He doesnít answer our prayers because our prayers makes no sense, or He does answer our prayers based on His understanding of what we are asking for. Either way, we donít get what we expect, resulting in disappointment because we think our prayers werenít answered..

So we ask Jesus for "more faith", thinking that faith is a commodity that we can get more of, hoping it will supernaturally appear in our lives. We wait. We wait some more. Then while we are waiting trials come our way. This is not what we asked Jesus for and as a result, like the little boy, we try to push the trials away, blaming our wives, our husbands, our kids, or the devil.

Thereís a good chance that Jesus did answer our prayers, yet like the little boy, we misunderstood what we asked for, thus we didnít recognize Jesusí answer when it came. We ask for more faith, thinking that faith is a commodity that we can get more of. Like the mother, Jesus answers our prayer knowing that faith means trusting Him.

An answer to this situation is found in 1 Peter 1:6-9 where we find out why trials come our way. Jesus gives us trials to prove that our faith is genuine. I hate to say it, and I certainly donít like it, but the way we "trust Jesus more" is to go through the trials that provide another opportunity to trust Him.

Peter compares faith to money. He says that our faith, or our trust in Jesus is more precious than gold Ė thatís money. Now thatís a tough idea to get around. We all like money. Iím no exception. Jesus thinks our trust we have in Him is more valuable than our money. Can you believe that? Our trust in Jesus is more important than money. Jesus doesnít sound like a good capitalist to me.

So what do we trust Jesus for? Do we simply trust Him for salvation, or our invitation into Heaven? No. We trust Him with our whole lives. I think as Evangelicals we have missed something in our presentation of the gospel of late. We preach, "have faith and get saved", but thereís more to getting saved than just getting saved. Becoming a Christian is in fact giving your life to Jesus as Lord, trusting Him for all aspects of your lives.

Jesus is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). As Christ, He offers us salvation. As Lord, we offer Him our whole lives in a trusting relationship Ė thatís faith. If we donít preach both of these aspects of salvation, then we are not preaching the gospel. This results is a misunderstanding of what being a Christian is all about by those who hear what we preach. This misunderstanding gets people off on the wrong foot in their Christian walk, which is a real problem in todayís church.

It is my opinion, we as Evangelicals have been drifting away from accurate Biblical content in our thinking. The whole definition of faith and the resulting implications is just one example. We need a clear understanding that faith is not a commodity that we can get more of. Faith is trusting Jesus for our whole lives, which includes our salvation. If we want more faith, we must understand we want to trust Jesus more than we presently do. This means that He must give us an opportunity to trust Him more. Sometimes we succeed at this further attempt to trust, and sometimes we fail. I recognize that this is not easy at times. Iíd prefer that trust was a commodity that falls from Heaven, but it isnít.

Do a little homework by taking a passage of the Bible and every time you read the word "faith" substitute it with the words "trust in Jesus" and see how much clearer that passage becomes. Try it. You will be surprised. Hereís an example. "In His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope Ö kept in Heaven for you who through Ďtrusting in Jesusí (faith) are shielded by Godís power Ö. Though for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials Ö These have come so that your Ďtrust in Jesusí (faith) Ė of greater worth than gold Ö may be proved genuine Ö" (1 Peter 1:3-7)

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