We must stop treating faith like a superpower. Jesus set the standard for faith so that it would be attainable by all.
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).
Jesus recognized how difficult it was for His disciples to believe. He expressed that because they had “so little faith” that He would actually adjust the results of what tiny faith could produce. He makes the threshold for the miraculous, low and attainable. He says that if you have faith the size of a “mustard seed”—which is the tiniest of all seeds—the result would be that mountains would be displaced at our request.
When you see huge acts of God performed on behalf of the apostles, that is not a reflection of huge faith; it’s the exact opposite. Tiny, baby faith can create seismic results. When you see the unrealistic occurring in scripture, that is no real credit to the human vessel who made the request or step of faith. Mountains move. Waters part. The sun will stand still. Healings take place, and resurrections occur as a result of mustard seed-sized faith.
No Enhanced Nature
There is no character in scripture who should be exalted. Every miraculous occurrence is a credit to the God who performed it, not the vessel who believed for it. Nothing that God did for them is out of reach for you, if your belief can just reach the size of a mustard seed.
I believe that this is one of the most difficult concepts to digest. The reason some of us won’t get unrealistic in our prayers or in our beliefs is because we are very realistic about who we are spiritually. We are keenly aware of our sinful cycles, our lapses in faith, the inconsistency of our prayer lives, and the shameful behaviors we only confess to God. Because many of us see God’s goodness and abundance as merit-based, we see others as more deserving than we are.
Nothing accomplished by God or in God’s name is the result of human righteousness; it all flows from God’s righteousness, God’s worthiness, and God’s concern for mankind.
Scripture is actually silent about praise for mankind. The Apostle Paul sums it up by lumping all of humanity together in the same moral boat.
“As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless” (Romans 3:10-12).
Double Take of the Giants of Faith
The unrealistic doesn’t require an enhanced prayer life, enhanced spirituality, or even an enhanced nature. “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17).
The Bible makes it clear that Elijah’s nature was just like ours. It was fatally flawed, fallible, and woefully insufficient. If his nature was like ours, that means his humanity functioned just like ours. His nature had the same liabilities as ours. At times, his humanity reacted with impatience. At times, his humanity was lustful. At times, his humanity was petty. At times, his human nature was vindictive. At times, his human nature doubted. At times, his human nature became discouraged by life’s perils.
After seeing God answer his prayers and witnessing God send fire from heaven, he became so discouraged that he sat under a juniper tree and expressed suicidal thoughts, desiring to simply die.
Scripture is transparent with the faults of mankind so that we can recognize that we belong.
Abraham, who is referred to as the father of faith, had no superpowers. He didn’t heal people, he never resurrected anyone, and he wasn’t very honest. He was just willing to make a step of faith by leaving his family without requiring all of the details of when, where, and how. Yes, Abraham believed and left home, but he questioned the promise when he took Hagar to be his wife.
Yes, Noah believed and built an ark, yet he got really low, really drunk, and pronounced curses.
Yes, Peter believed and walked on water, but he also doubted and denied the son of God.
Yes, David had the faith to step out and fight Goliath, but he became so proud that he went to bed with another man’s wife and had that man killed to keep the secret.
Yes, Moses believed that God would send water from a rock when he struck it the first time. He had such an outburst, however, that striking the rock a second time signified the end of his leadership tenure. The great men and women of faith in the Bible experienced the miraculous in their utter fallenness.
Your Faith Is God’s Gift
The beauty of the journey of faith is that you don’t have to create faith, conjure faith, or even earn faith. Faith is gifted to us by God.
“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has given to each a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).
Tiny, baby faith can create seismic results.
Each one of us is given faith by God. The only question is, how do we steward faith that has been given to us? Every human being demonstrates faith in some capacity. We exercise faith in some way. Some people exercise faith in the mystical power of the universe. Some take the faith that is given to them and they trust the dice in their local casino. Some take the faith that has been allotted and place it entirely in people who are destined to disappoint. Some take the faith that has been given and apply it to good luck charms, chance, or serendipity. Every human being functions with a measure of faith. The only question is, will you take the faith that has been provided to you and invest it completely in God’s word and will you apply yourself totally to doing God’s will?
Be all that you can be—natural, human
Relieve yourself of the errant thoughts that suggest that faith is a superpower. Faith is a gift from God. A measure is given to every man to trust in something that cannot be detected through empirical means. You qualify for the supernatural. Recognize that all you can be is natural. Being super is completely in God’s hands. God calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things. The greatest trait of any visionary is willingness to receive vision and the courage to act upon it. Stop trying to grow your faith to a certain level before you expect unrealistic outcomes. Just implement the faith you have no matter how small. You’ll be surprised with what a mustard seed can do.
DeblEaIre Snell is the Speaker/Director of Breath of Life, and the senior pastor of the Oakwood University Seventh-day Adventist Church in Huntsville, Alabama.
All scriptural texts are taken from the King James Version unless otherwise indicated.
This article is part of our 2022 May/June Issue