Gary Carpenter Ministries
Over the years I have had heard many sermons extolling the virtue of having "mustard seed faith." Generally, the sermons go something like this, "If you only have a little faith, just a little faith the size of a grain of mustard seed, then you could move whole mountains and nothing would be impossible to you. You just need a little faith." The problem is, when I did a study of that phrase "little faith" in the New Testament, I found out Jesus NEVER said anything good about having "little" faith.
Mat 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Mat 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Mat 16:8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
Luk 12:28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
See what I mean? Not once does Jesus commend anybody for having "little faith." So maybe what Jesus means by "mustard seed faith" is something different than just being "little." Jesus helps us by giving us more information about the mustard seed:
Mar 4:30-32 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
Yes, He refers to it being small all right. But the key is … it doesn't stay small. It becomes so big it shoots out "great" branches. At first the birds could just eat the mustard seed. But once it is grown, it gets so big the birds can take refuge in its branches. What is Jesus teaching? Is He only talking about how "little" the mustard seed is? No, He is talking about how big it will become. The question is … what causes such growth? The key is the "image" contained within the seed! It isn't the size of the seed that matters. It is the image within that seed that matters! Mustard seed faith sees the "image" contained in God's Word of whatever it promises. God's Word is seed! Like every other kind of seed, each word contains an image. Mustard seed faith plants the Word of God in the heart and has faith that the image contained within the Word will be made manifest in the earth.
The question arises, "Do you have mustard seed faith? Is there an image on the inside of you that is planted by the Word of God? Do you see change coming to your life because you have faith in God's Word? Are you trusting God that He will do what He said He would do?" These are all valid questions to determine if we have real "mustard seed faith" or not. Did you know the devil knows how faith works? He knows that faith works together with the images (hope) contained within the Word of God. He tries to counteract faith by using images of his own. What produces those images? Doubt, worry, and fear. Worry is sort of like "faith" in reverse. Here is the bible definition of faith:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Here is a pretty good definition of worry: "Worry is the substance of things we do not want and the evidence of bad things that haven't happened yet." Faith is always based on God's Word. Worry is always based on circumstances. Many people have "mustard seed worry." What I mean is, if the slightest little negative thing happens to them, they will worry and worry and worry about it until their little "molehill" becomes an impassable "mountain!"
Once in the gospels nine of the twelve apostles had failed to cast out a deaf and dumb spirit from a lunatic boy. When Jesus came on the scene He cast out that devil in short order and the boy was restored to his father completely healed. The apostles asked Jesus why they could not cast it out.
Mat 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
"Because of your unbelief." Real plain isn't it? But then why does He go on to talk about having mustard seed faith right after that? For the longest time I did not understand because I was still confusing "mustard seed faith" with "little faith." Finally one time I was reading through the four gospels again I found out that Luke wrote about this same incident in Luke 9:37-42. But notice what Jesus had already told them in the very first verse of Luke chapter nine:
Luk 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
How many devils? All devils! They already had the Word of God authorizing them to cast out ALL DEVILS! ALL OF THEM! Those few little words contained a great big image! But the manifestations of the devil through the lad (foaming at the mouth, wallowing on the ground, falling in the fire and water) produced images within them that caused them to "doubt" the promise contained in the Word of God to them. Faith was neutralized by circumstances. May it never be so with us! Have great faith!
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,