Faith is a secure belief in God, and a trusting acceptance of God's will - so how strong, what is the quality, and how do you measure the quality of your conviction?
A Mustard Seed
Credit: Google Images
When the disciples asked Jesus to help enhance their belief he replied as follows:
The lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘ May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you. “ Luke 17: 6 NLT
Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” Matthew 21:21-22 NLT
How must we believers interpret these pronouncements of Jesus?
To be honest, I personally admit that I have always tended to feel uncomfortable when reading these pronouncements. The implications are so incomprehensible! The temptation however to suggest that surely Jesus must have been speaking metaphorically, is unsatisfactory.
In my heart, I know that such an interpretation is, in fact, nothing less than a “cop-out”! On the other hand, accepting that Jesus was speaking literally, would leave me feeling uncertain, uncomfortable, and utterly inadequate!
So, how must we interpret this definition of "Belief" as taught by Jesus?
First of all, remember that He uttered these words in sincere response to his disciples’ direct request regarding the enhancement of their devotion. Surely this precludes the idea that His replies were merely metaphorical?
I believe that the problem, rather, lies in our interpretation and also our visualization of what Jesus is actually saying? Personally, at first glance at the abilities of such assured devotion, I tend to visualize people with the ability to go through life endowed with the power to selectively cause havoc being able to “Zap” anything to enforce obedient compliance to his or her will.
I am sure, however, that this is not what Jesus was trying to convey. If we read further it becomes clear that Jesus was referring to the quality, and not the potential power of our belief structure.
This is why the metaphor of “faith like an atom” is so meaningful.
An atom is the embodiment of harnessed power. Misused, it can cause unimaginable destruction. Witness the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the disastrous accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that has left an entire region contaminated and uninhabitable for thousands of years.
On the other hand the power harnessed inside an atom, when used wisely and with caution, holds enormous benefits for mankind.
Here is dictionary definition of faithful conviction:
Christianity: “The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will”.
The words that stand out are: “A trusting acceptance of God’s will”. In other words, confident conviction, although potentially making God’s awesome power available to us, must always remain subjected to “trusting acceptance of God’s will”. Faith must be handled with care!
We read in James 5:16 “The earnest prayer of a righteous person. has great power and produces wonderful results.”
The analogy is that yes, profound conviction has enormous power. It is after all through such conviction that we lock into the Almighty’s power and potentially be used as instruments for ding His will. This potential power, however, must be used responsibly and wisely “in trusting acceptance of Gods will”.
Surely, in this quantum age in which we live, we must acquire the ability to more deeply comprehend that the phrase “Faith like a mustard seed” has an analogy with the term “Faith like an atom".