What IS Faith, Anyway?
“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.”~ Matt 17
6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.~ Luke 17
31He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”~ Matt 13
20Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” ~ Luke 13
Everyone thinks that he is referring to the small size of the seed- but I don’t think that was his real point. I don’t think he’s saying that we can move mountains if we have faith as small as a mustard seed. I think his real point was this: no matter how small a seed is, it contains the full potential and all the knowledge it needs to create its intended plant. In other words, even the smallest seed contains all it needs to become everything it was intended to become.
Look at how Jesus talks about Heaven. First, he compares Heaven to the Mustard Seed. With water and soil, it will automatically expand to become a mighty garden tree. Then, he compares Heaven to Yeast that has been worked into 60 pounds of flour. Again, with the addition of water and this time, salt, once the yeast is mixed into the 60 lbs of flour, the dough will automatically double in size! It can feed over 500 people! In other words, the nature of Heaven is that it automatically grows and then greatly benefits people.
And look, Jesus also compared Faith to the Mustard Seed. So, he compared Heaven to the Mustard Seed and he compared Faith to the Mustard Seed. Therefore, the nature of Faith is the same as the nature of Heaven! They must both automatically grow IF initial work is put into it (sewn or added) and when God blesses it with water and soil/salt. We are the ones in control of the work aspect. God takes care of the rest! This is an entirely new way to see the Mustard Seed and Faith!
Therefore, even if you have the faith of the smallest seed, you have all you need to move that mountain! But the potential is not inside of you; the full potential for growth and completion lie in the seed you planted. In other words, it lies in the prayer or request you set before the Lord. This changes everything! You are not a factor- the seed and God are everything! Let us then examine the mustard seed more closely to understand what Faith really is so that we can have it. If you don’t understand what to have, then surely, you will never have it.
Very little needs be added to the seed to make it grow. It is almost self-sufficient- that is how powerful a seed is. Just add sun, water and soil- all freely given by God. Each seed comes with a bit of built-in fat to give it that initial boost of energy when it begins to grow. God has even provided the initial beginning of the first leaves and root. Even better, it is usually delivered into the soil with a bit of fertilizer because God is the master gardener. Either an animal has eaten the fruit in which it was housed and pooped it out (fertilizer!) or the fruit just fell to the ground and rotted (fertilizer!). What is even more amazing is that all the seed had to do was wait for gravity to pull it to the earth, for the wind to take it away or for an animal to eat it. It didn’t need to do anything!
Thus, our Faith need do nothing once we plant it. It is in the hands of God. We, too, should relax and wait on the Lord to complete what we set in motion. We are not to fret and worry about that which we asked. We ask, we pray, we plant, we knead.. and then.. we walk away and never think of it again. It is done. We are not to sit and stare at the mountain once we prayed for it to move. We are not to stare at the ground, breathlessly awaiting the first sprout to break the surface. We simply walk away and know that God will move it and grow it. This is faith.
When I was younger, I thought faith was an effort. I thought Jesus was implying that I needed to have faith that was at least the size of the mustard seed. That misunderstanding led to me staring really hard at mountains and straining my brain toward it and willing it to move! I have no doubt that many of you have done the same! And with huge faith in your hearts! But before I wrote this article, the Holy Spirit opened my mind with this new idea- it is not about the size of the seed. It is about the seed and what it represents. Every seed has it. Jesus only mentioned the size to accentuate the fact that even the tiniest seed had it. So, when we see it in this new light, it makes so much more sense. WE are not to move that mountain, my Friends. God is to move it for us. Our faith is in Him and in His Will. We plant the Mustard Seed and walk away. The soil and the water are freely given by God. He has promised to hear us. He has promised to move the mountain. We have no worries about this. He may move the mountain ten lifetimes from our time. Is this up to us? No, it’s not. Just walk away in happiness and freedom. You have other work to do.
This new understanding has me joyfully planting mustard seeds left and right now. My faith is growing leaps and bounds. I know, deep in my heart, that God will surely make those seeds grow! Just as Heaven grows, so do those seeds grow. Without my help, they will grow. God is the gardener. And ironically, just as everything with God, I, the seed-sower and the yeast-mixer, get the joy of having my faith grow every time I work for the Lord. In God’s world, everything flourishes. Nothing is wasted and nothing dies.
So. Go out now in this new understanding of the Mustard Seed. Never worry over the seeds you plant. Walk away. Every prayer & every request is a seed. Let it go. Rest in the Lord. It’s now in God’s hands and He will make it grow.