A man brought his lunatic son to Jesus’ disciples. Perhaps he thought that what was in Jesus was also in his disciples and whatever Jesus did, the disciples could do, too. Later, this same man went to Jesus and told him that he took his son to his disciples, but they couldn’t cure him. After Jesus cast the demon out of the man’s son, the disciples wanted to know why they couldn’t cast it out.
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief. For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:20).
When Jesus said ‘this kind’, I always thought he was talking about the demon that was in the man’s son, but He was really talking to the disciples about what was in them. In Matthew 10, Jesus gave the disciples power against unclean spirits to cast them out, but before they could cast out what was in the young man, the spirit of unbelief had to be cast out of them. Unbelief did not come from God. It came from Satan and Satan is not going to cast out Satan because that would mean he is fighting against himself and destroying his own kingdom (Matthew 12:26).
The word, unbelief, comes from the Greek word apeitheia, which means disobedience and apistia, which means distrust. You will never obey what you don’t trust. You would be amazed at how many Christians are praying, but not believing what they are praying for. When we ask, we must believe and not doubt (James 1:6). The proof that you believe what God said is when you do what He said.
God wants you to know today that if unbelief, doubt or distrust came in, it can also go out, but it won’t go out unless YOU do something. This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. You will never obey God with these things in you because what’s in you does not want to obey God. Everything that comes from Satan fights God and fights His word. Growing up, a lot of Christians used Hebrews 3:15 as a scripture for salvation, but it doesn’t only pertain to salvation. Any time you hear God’s voice, don’t harden your heart. Don’t ignore Him or disobey Him because every word God sends is to help you, not harm you.
In Luke 17:5, the apostles told the Lord to increase their faith. They had faith, but they were asking for more. Jesus made it very clear in the following verse that they didn’t need more faith. Their problem wasn’t a lack of faith or little faith. It wasn’t about the measure of their faith. It was about their obedience and trust. Jesus was telling them to use what He had given them. He wanted them to use their faith, which he described as the size of a grain of mustard seed because what seemed very small to them was able to produce much.
If God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, then our problem is not lack. Our problem is we don’t believe that we have all things. We are praying for more, but what are we doing with the little that God has given us? Any time you ask God for more of something, it will require more instructions because you will have to do something. Every miracle performed in scriptures required obedience first. There is no need to ask for more when you can’t obey the small and simple instructions He is giving you now. He will trust you with more when He can trust you with little.
If you say it, but don’t believe it, nothing will move for you, but if you can believe, all things will be possible for you. God still wants to do many miracles and mighty works through and for His people, but He can’t do it because of our unbelief. Let God set you free so that you can set others free.
If you can potty train a child or train a dog to sit, you can train your body to obey you. Stop letting your body tell you what to do and make your body do what it should do. Your body doesn’t always want to pray and fast, but your soul, spirit and loved ones need you to bring your body into subjection. Yes, it is a fight, but it is a fight that you will win – IF you obey.
God wants you to believe Him and His word because if you won’t believe it, you won’t see it.
Lord, help our unbelief.