Degrees of Faith
How’s your faith today? Good? Great? Subpar? Can we admit that there are various degrees to faith? Be it faith in God or faith in the things we believe in God for, there are degrees to faith. Sometimes we believe with every fiber of our being. I’ve had moments where I’d bet my house, car, and soul on things that I was absolutely sure of.
Then there are other times when doubt seeps through the cracks of what I thought was my fortified faith. At times, I become unsure. I become unsettled. The same faith that had me sure enough to gamble my life away drops down to not wanting to gamble quite as much as I was willing to do before.
And you know what? I’ve learned to stop beating myself up about it. Indeed, I wish my faith was at 1,000% at all times. But that’s not my reality or anyone else’s if we were to be truthful. I was reading the book of Matthew and stumbled upon an interesting fact.
We all know John the Baptist, right? The one crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”? John the Baptist knew exactly who Jesus was. In Matthew 3, we see that John was preaching to the people to repent of their sins and baptizing those who believed. Then, Jesus steps on the scene requesting to be baptized by John.
John immediately tries to stop Jesus and says, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me”? (Matthew 3:14 NIV) John felt as if he was unworthy to baptize Jesus. Why is that? He baptized everyone else with no issues. It’s because John knew who Jesus was. He was God in the flesh.
But just to make things clear, upon John baptizing Jesus, the Spirit of God descended on Christ like a dove and a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17 NIV)
If John had any doubt (it appears he didn’t at the time), this was confirmation that Christ was exactly who he thought He was. I imagine John’s faith was off the meter after this event. And yet, when you keep reading, we see in Matthew 11, it appears John’s faith had dropped a few degrees.
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
(Matthew 11:2-3 NIV)
Now, what happened here? Why is John asking if Christ was the One or not? Didn’t he just believe? Wasn’t his belief confirmed? Hadn't the Holy Spirit that lived in John reveal the truth? The Holy Spirit had always dwelt in John. In fact, Luke 1:15 indicates that John was born with the Holy Spirit. Scripture indicates that he likely had the Holy Spirit before he was born.
While both John and Jesus were still in the womb, John recognized who the Son of Man was. John leaped for joy in his mother’s womb when Mary visited John's mother, Elizabeth. John knew the truth before he was even born! His soul knew it, his spirit knew it. He knew it with every fiber of his being. And that knowing followed him into his adulthood.
So, why did John send his disciples to Jesus to inquire about something he already knew? This is only my speculation, but I think it had to do with his circumstance. He was in prison when his faith dropped a few degrees. He had informed the king of his sinful ways and landed in prison.
I imagine he didn't know if he was going to live or die. I can only assume the four walls of his prison cell threatened his faith. Although the Spirit still lived in him, maybe John couldn't feel the fire burning from within. In seclusion and ambiguity, perhaps God's presence felt distant.
Isn't that just like us? Usually when we are in trying circumstances, our faith wavers. When the disciples were caught in a terrible storm, they asked Jesus if He cared about their well-being. When Habakkuk saw the hardships his people endured, he asked how long would God stand by before He stepped in. And here, we see John the Baptist attempting to re-confirm what he already knew.
It's human nature to question truths when we are hard-pressed. Uncertainty will arise at times. But what I love about God is that He doesn't require a mountain-sized degree of faith to believe on Him or trust in Him to do a thing in our lives. God only requires us to have a mustard seed size of faith.
There may be times where you feel as if you have significantly more faith than that of a mustard seed size. There may be other times where a mustard seed size grain of faith is all you can muster up (pun completely intended). But as long as you have that tiny grain, you can move mountains.
John the Baptist was a spiritual man who had human moment. Yet, that in no way took away from how God viewed him.
Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
(Matthew 11:11 NIV)
God still esteemed John highly. God understands we will have human moments because He was once a human too. Having differing degrees of faith is natural. Don't sweat it. The key is not to completely lose the faith. For without faith, it is impossible to please God. But thank God, that even though the degree of faith may vary, as long as it is present, He will honor it.
That's all I have for you today folks! I pray you all have a fantastic week. Until next time, God bless and take care.
Quin Arrington's debut book "And Then You Shall Have Good Success: Attaining Good Success God's Way" is available on Amazon in paperback and eBook format. Links listed below:
And Then You Shall Have Good Success: Attaining Good Success God's Way - Kindle edition by Arrington, Quin. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
And Then You Shall Have Good Success: Attaining Good Success God's Way: Arrington, Quin: 9781737122500: Amazon.com: Books