Help My Unbelief - Mark 9

Help My Unbelief - Mark 9

The father of a demon-possessed boy comes to Jesus. He explains to Jesus: “It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief." Mark 9:22-24

Belief has different ‘strengths’. There is strong faith and there is weak faith, yet both are faith. We start at some level, and then we can grow and strengthen our faith.

Faith CAN mean belief of facts/data. Faith is more often used of TRUST and entails acting upon it. Notice the examples of Hebrews 11: “By faith Abel OFFERED”, “by faith Noah prepared”, “by faith Abraham obeyed”, etc. The didn’t just believe facts about God, they trusted Him.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God (Rom. 10:17)

1) We get our facts and data about God from His revelation to us. WHAT we believe about God’s character and promises are to be learned in His word. The more you learn about God’s character (and that involves learning ACCURATELY), the more you can trust Him.

2) We have a history of God’s interactions with His creation, in particular, with PEOPLE. In such interactions, we see the consistency of God. He makes promise after promise and is always FAITHFUL to His promises. The more we see and acknowledge this, the stronger our faith can become. Paul would write concerning such stories of God: “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Thus, James encouraged us: “As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful” (James 5:10-11). God was faithful in His dealings with them, He will be faithful with us.

3) We also learn, grow, and strengthen our faith by experience. When we by faith respond to the teaching of God, we build experience after experience. Thus, Peter could write: “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow with respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:1-3).

4) We receive help from faithful brethren. We are instructed to “strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13). Sometimes we are the strong in faith and thus can help and support those who are weak, at other times we are those who need the encouragement and support.

Your faith is not STATIC, but changeable. You can feed it and strengthen it, or you can starve it and cause it to weaken and die. How are you treating your faith? 

Hugh DeLong