The story surrounds an encounter between Jesus and a father with a demon-possessed child. The disciples couldn’t heal the boy and finally the father appealed to the Lord. Of course, Jesus healed the child. When the disciples asked why they hadn’t had any success (something that they had been able to do on other occasions (Matthew 10), Jesus answered: “Because you have so little faith” (Matthew 17:20). Even faith the size of a mustard seed would have move a mountain, let alone dealt with a demon.
I kept thinking about the size of my faith. I’ve never moved a mountain and I don’t “do” demons. I’d like to be able to put my hand on my friend and heal her back, but I don’t have that kind of faith either.
This morning, as I was reading this passage I wondered what it would be like to have the faith to heal. Instantly the Spirit prompted me to think about WHY I would want such a gift and I had to confess that my first motivation was the recognition that such an ability would bring me.
Which is probably why I don’t have that ability, even if I had the faith. Do you suppose that God would grant me the faith when He could be sure that my motives were pure? I don’t know the answer to that. Certainly I need to check my motivation for everything I do. Do I do what I do for God’s glory or for my own?
Ultimately only what is done for the glory of God, under His authority and relying on His power will result in something that will be gold, silver and precious stones to lay before Him (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
The question niggles in the back of my mind. The disciples couldn’t heal this boy on this occasion. Had the power and authority that Jesus had given them earlier to heal the sick and cast out demons, gone to their heads, stifled their faith and exalted their own sense of power? I don’t know, I can only suspect. But it is certainly easy for that to happen to any of us. We so easily begin to believe that we can do without God what only God can do.
Lord, examine my heart, and bring my motivation in submission to you.