A Tiny Seed of Faith

Throughout the gospels, Jesus often talked about the “kingdom of God” or the “kingdom of heaven.” He came to give us access to this kingdom, which I believe the Bible teaches is both a physical place and a spiritual state of being. When the Lord saves us, we enter the kingdom. Our citizenship is in heaven now, but until Christ returns, the kingdom of God exists within us.

How does God’s kingdom grow, and what does it take to enter the kingdom?

Matthew 4:30-32 – And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.”

The mustard seed story is a picture, a parable. Jesus isn’t speaking literally; there are smaller seeds and larger plants. He’s giving us an analogy to illustrate that the kingdom of God begins in a very small way but grows to influence many.

History bears this out. In light of secular history, Jesus was an obscure prophet in a very small place who influenced just a few people before His death. After His resurrection, the disciples gathered with only about 120 faithful followers. Yet, once the Holy Spirit came, just as Jesus had promised, the early church exploded, with thousands coming to believe in a day. Now, more than two thousand years later, the church is still influencing and providing spiritual truth and refuge around the world.

I think it’s interesting that Jesus used the same illustration of a mustard seed to describe how much faith it takes to do great things for the kingdom.

Matthew 17:20 – And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

Matthew 17:5-6 – The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.”

We know that we enter the kingdom by faith. The size of our faith isn’t relative. It’s the object of our faith that determines if we belong to Jesus and if we will accomplish anything as faithful servants.

Many people have GREAT faith, but it’s faith in the wrong things: self, good works, legalism, mysticism, spirituality, karma, success, money, possessions, power…the list goes on. Faith isn’t powerful because we have much of it; it’s powerful because we have placed our faith in the right place – Jesus.

Just after this lesson on the kingdom of God, Jesus illustrated (again) why the disciples could put their faith in Him (Mark 4:35-41). As they sailed across the Sea of Galilee, a fierce wind arose, causing the waves to break over their boat. As the boat filled with water, the disciples panicked, even though they were sailing through the storm with Jesus. In answer to their cries, He stood up in the boat and rebuked the sea with a simple command, “Hush, be still.” As the boat settled into the perfectly calm seas, Jesus asked them “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Perhaps you’re a skeptic and you feel you can’t believe because you just don’t have enough faith to accept all of Jesus’ teachings. It’s too fantastic, too unbelievable. I challenge you to begin with the tiniest seed of faith. Open your heart to believe one simple truth: God loves you and created you for a reason.

If you truly have faith in this first, basic tenet of the gospel, God can grow your faith. He will open the eyes of your heart and give you spiritual understanding. He will regenerate you, cause you to see your sin and separation from God, and grant you repentance and the faith to trust Him for forgiveness and salvation. All it takes is one tiny seed to begin.

If you are a follower of Jesus, what is it that you are struggling to believe? Is your faith wavering because of trials and tribulations? Has God not answered your prayers the way you think He should? Do you have the desire to follow Him with a whole heart and a devoted mind, but are hesitating because you think you don’t have enough faith?

Plant a seed of faith. Put your roots down into God’s Word and believe. Ask God for the refreshing water of the Holy Spirit, and watch God grow the kingdom of God in you. Your faith isn’t in your abilities; it’s in the object of your faith – the King of the kingdom of God, who can command the seas with a simple word, heal the blind and the lame, cast out demons, and raise the dead.

Come to Jesus and let the kingdom of God begin in you. All it takes is a tiny seed of faith.

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