Faith: Apply it Practically
There is a little boy whose father is desperate and compassionate for his son. The disciples had tried to do something about it. Do you remember what Jesus’ response was? He had just come down from the mountain with Moses and Elijah. Things are going pretty good. He comes against this practical situation, and that’s the point I want to make - it was a very practical situation. What did Jesus say to the disciples and really to everyone around him at that point? He was ticked. He was genuinely ticked at them for not being able to handle this situation. He felt like it was pretty pathetic that He had shown them Himself, shown them His ways, taught them His heart and mind, shown them His Father, and a practical situation came along and they are bounced around by it and failing at it. He was miffed at that. Because His expectation was that the reality of faith ought to be applied in practical situations.
Faith is not just something like, “Well, Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. I already told you that.” No! What are you going to do with this practical situation? “Because I’m ticked at you,” saith the Lord, “if when a practical situation comes along you don’t have the guts and the fortitude and the belief in my practical heart and mind and will, to be able to do something about what is in front of you.” Jesus didn’t define faith as being, “Well you believe I’m the Son of God, and isn’t that what faith is?” That isn’t how He defined it. He knew that they loved him. He knew that they had an appreciation of who He was. They weren’t plugging into the reality of this situation, of how it related to who He was, and what that meant. So He was genuinely angry at them about that. Because He’s the same yesterday, today and forever, He’s not any less miffed if we face situations that seem difficult or challenging either internally or externally, and we don’t face it in clear enough terms to say, “I will not put up with this. I renounce this evil that is plaguing me. I renounce this evil that is plaguing him or them. I will not put up with this.”
The heart behind it is not a charismatic counterfeit of “binding and loosing” - but the Real thing. The heart behind it is, “I really believe Jesus is the Messiah. And I believe that by His word and in His name that I don’t have to have this stuff in my head, in my heart, in my body, in my environment. This stuff does not need to continue. I do not have to put up with it.”
I want to define this idea of faith as it relates to justification—forgiving your sins and removing your guilt. As it relates to sanctification--that you can be the person that He always wanted you to be and you always wanted to be. You can be that person. And thirdly, glorification—in that my life can find its way into a pleasant place that is flowing with milk and honey. Life to the full, as Jesus put it. Rivers of living water gushing from the inner man. A pleasant place. I really do honestly believe that, and I actively oppose the things that are in the way of those three things.
It’s not just simply, “I believe Jesus is the Son of God.” They believed that on the bottom of the Mount of Transfiguration. They had just got done hearing, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. This is my Son. Hear ye him.” They just had an encounter with Him at the top of the mountain. The disciples had seen many miracles at that point in time. But what they didn’t do is combine their experience and the opposition to their lives with faith to really believe a practical thing and to act on that practical issue by faith. Define your faith as it leads to justification, sanctification, and glorification.
Define your faith not in a passive way of just believing that Jesus is a wonderful person and loving Him with all your heart. That’s great. That’s certainly foundational. The other thing is just a gimmick and a game without that. But apparently to Jesus it went even beyond that, because He knew that they loved Him already. He knew that they believed He was a great guy and could do miracles prior to that. But He was angry at them because they didn’t apply it to their practical situation in their own lives and the lives around them. Apparently His definition of faith means, “Let’s get on with dealing with issues in life, not just believing in a general way that He is the Son of God and loving Him in a general way. Believing that mountains can and will move by his grace.”