The Cure for Unbelief
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” —Matthew 17:17-20
When the disciples saw Jesus cast the evil spirit out of the epileptic whom “they could not cure” (Matt. 17:16), they asked the Master why they had failed. He had given them “power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases” (Luke 9:1 KJV). They had often exercised that power and joyfully told how the devils were subject to them. And yet now, while He was on the Mount, they had utterly failed. Christ’s casting the evil spirit out proved that there had been nothing in the will of God or in the nature of the case to make the miracle impossible. From their expression, “Why could not we?” it is evident that the disciples had wanted and tried to cast the spirit out. They had probably called upon it, using the Master’s name. But their efforts had been in vain. They had been put to shame in front of the crowd.
Christ’s answer was direct and plain, “Because of your unbelief.” Christ’s success was not a result of His having a special power to which the disciples had no access. He had so often taught them that there is one power—the power of faith—to which everything must bow. In the spiritual world, failure has only one cause: lack of faith. Faith is the one condition on which all divine power can enter man and work through him. It is the sensitivity of man’s will yielded to and molded by the will of God.
The power the disciples had received to cast out devils did not belong to them as a permanent gift or possession. The power was in Christ, to be received, held, and used by faith alone, living faith in Himself. Had they been full of faith in Him as Lord and Conqueror in the spirit world, had they been full of faith in Him as having given them authority to cast out devils in His name, their faith would have given them the victory. “Because of your unbelief” was, for all time, the Master’s explanation and reproof of impotence and failure in His church.
Though faith is the simplest exercise of the spiritual life, it is also the highest. The spirit must yield itself in perfect receptivity to God’s Spirit and become strengthened for this activity. Such faith depends entirely on the state of the spiritual life. Only when this is strong and in good health—when the Spirit of God has total influence in our lives—does faith have the power to do its mighty deeds. —Andrew Murray
· Am I fully aware of all the power I am offered through faith in Jesus Christ?
· What ways am I actively trying to mold my will to God’s? What does that look like?
Prayer – Father in heaven, teach me what it means to live in Your Holy Spirit. Lord, my efforts and prayers for grace are so ineffective. I know it is because I want You to give me strength in myself, but that would not be a life of faith. Help me to mature in faith so that, through You, nothing will be impossible. In Jesus’ name, Amen.