Faith is Only for the Weak
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:5
Many times, in my addiction, I prayed for God to make me a bigger, better person. I hated the fact that I had an appetite for pills, and I begged God to take away that appetite. Make me strong. Make me hate what I’m doing so I’ll stop doing it. God didn’t answer that prayer . . . at least not how I thought it should be answered.
When life fell apart in my addiction, I finally turned to God, asking him what it was that I needed to do to change. I recognized that it was my way of living that led me to misery and that if I had any hope of recovery, I needed to walk, not according to my plan, but his. This was the beginning of living by faith – to admit my weakness and my need for obeying God. Previously, I’d simply asked him to make me strong. The solution though, was not in my own strength, but in recognizing my weakness and my need for following something far greater than me.
The apostles in today’s passage made a similar request. They went to Jesus, asking for him to grow their faith. Make our faith strong (my paraphrase)! Jesus said they didn’t need to be strong. They simply needed to have faith in the one who is strong above all.
I often pray this way. I want to be a spiritual giant. I want to be the one people come to, asking about addiction and recovery. The underlying motivation here though, is self-reliance and pride. In my pride, I may not be using drugs, but I’m still addicted to me above all. I’ve just traded one addiction for another.
Some will ridicule faith, insisting it’s only for the weak. I say Absolutely! The only person who can truly walk by faith is the one who has admitted his own weakness and need. As the apostle Paul discovered, When I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Believing in my own strength leads to self-reliance. In thinking myself strong, I don’t need God anymore and I abandon him. God however, allows me to continue to struggle with weakness so that I learn to depend completely on him. Faith is not being strong enough to withstand the storms of life. Faith is relying on the one who commands the storms.