“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.”
Faith is the one element the epitomizes the ministry of Christ. You cannot look at the ministry of Christ without constantly seeing Him talk about the importance of faith. As is always the case, Jesus did everything with a purpose. When He walked by a fig tree in the morning that had no figs, He said to the fig tree, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.” At the end of the day when they walked by the same tree the disciples noticed that the same tree was “dried up from the roots.” They marveled that the fig tree had so quickly died, but Jesus used this as a teaching moment to build their faith. In order to build their faith, Jesus showed them five things that hinders faith. Let me share with you those five hindrances.
Misplaced faith is the first hindrance to faith. Jesus said in the verse above, “Have faith in God.” He didn’t say to have faith in your pastor, but have faith in God. He didn’t say have faith in your abilities, but have faith in God. You always have to remember the faith has nothing to do with your abilities, but it has everything to do with God’s omnipotence. If you keep your faith in God, you will remove one of the biggest hindrances of faith.
Doubt is the second hindrance to faith. Doubt is not just a hindrance, but it is the enemy of faith. You cannot have doubt and faith at the same time. Two times in this short conversation Jesus used the word, “believe.” Faith can only work to the degree of doubt’s absence. Doubt must wither and dry up if you want to have a flourishing faith. Your faith will never help others as long as you doubt God. You can remove doubt from your life if you somehow grasp the magnitude of God’s power.
Lack of desire is the third hindrance of faith. Jesus said in verse 24, “What things soever ye desire…” I believe that one of the reasons many lack faith is because they lack desire. Satan is always trying to water down your desire because desire is the kindling that ignites the power of faith. You need to let God’s Word build your desire. Get a desire to do something great for the LORD. You don’t have to be a preacher or a full-time servant for God to do something through you, all you have to be is a Christian with a heart to do something for the LORD to see God do something great through your life.
Prayerlessness is the fourth hindrance to faith. Jesus continued in verse 24 by saying, “…when ye pray…” Prayer is faith’s call to action. God cannot honor your faith if you don’t pray. The prayerless life is the faithless life. You show me how much you pray and I can show you how great your faith is. Faith and prayer are tied together. You cannot have one without the other. You will never grow your faith or see it come to life if you don’t pray. Don’t let your busy schedule keep you from praying. The Devil will always throw something in your schedule to keep you from praying because he knows that the prayerless Christian is the faithless and powerless Christian.
Unforgiveness is the fifth hindrance to faith. Verses 25-26 show the importance of forgiving for faith to work. Be careful that you don’t allow an unforgiving heart to hinder the work of faith that God wants to do through your life. Forgiveness will help every Christian to have an open spirit towards God so they can have the confidence to honor their faith.