The apostles said to Jesus, ‘Increase our faith!’ The Lord replied, ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it would obey you.’

Luke 17:5-6

Jesus was right to respond as He did to the apostles. Jesus was right to let them know that faith is a matter of exercise, not a matter of a wish on a star. The apostles, in their naïveté, thought they could ask their master whom they had seen perform numerous miracles to increase their faith and it would happen. In these few words, Jesus told them they did not have the faith that was required of them because they had not been exercising their faith.

How, then, does one exercise faith? We exercise faith by moving forward while trusting God. I have a little acronym that I use to remind me of what faith requires: Forward As I Trust Him. Let’s discuss this, shall we?

  • Forward: Moving forward pertains to accepting what is next as the Lord determines. It does not necessarily mean movement as in doing something. Sometimes the Lord will require us to be still, to wait, while He does what only He can do. At other times, the Lord will require us to take action. Forward, therefore, is not about busyness or action, it is about accepting the next step whatever that may be.
  • As: ‘As’ in this context can be substituted with the word ‘because’. ‘As’ in this context justifies, rationalises and explains why we accept the next step. On the faith journey, the next step might not make any sense to us. Sometimes, we might look to God askingly and in sheer disbelief, ‘Are you sure that is what you mean for me to do?’ Be reminded that God does say in Isaiah 55, ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways’, and reinforcing that, declares ‘so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ On the faith journey, therefore, it’s not about whether we agree or understand.
  • I: The third letter is the most critical part: I. Faith is a personal choice. Sometimes it is a communal choice. The strength of the communal choice, though, is built upon the strength of the individual choice to move forward. My faith cannot increase if I do not make myself an active part of the process. And, while the action of God in the lives of those around me plays a part in that increase, it can all fall apart if I do not choose. The ‘I’ also acknowledges that faith requires a personal relationship between you and God.
  • Trust: This next word gives the motivating factor for moving forward. It also leans a bit on Proverbs 3:5 which urges the believer to ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.’ Underpinning this trust is surrender, really. This trust says, ‘Lord, I don’t understand why you are telling me to do what you are telling me to do, I don’t even agree, but I know that you always lead me along the right path for your Name’s sake and for that, I move forward.’ This trust, says, ‘At the end of the day, Lord, your will, not mine, be done.’
  • Him: Of course, this last word identifies in whom we place our trust.

Friends, there is no easy way to faith. There are no quick fixes. There is no shortcut. There is only the decision to move forward in trust in God. That process requires any number of things. God, in His infinite wisdom, determines what that means for you. For me, it has meant patience, obedience and trust. And, it wasn’t a three-step process of patience, then obedience and then trust. It was more of a braiding process. Sometimes, it was patience that was being built, then it was trust, then it was obedience, and then it might have been patience all over again. God who knit you together in your mother’s womb, will determine what are the stepping stones of your faith journey and how they are to be laid. You will know, though, for God will tell you.

I will say this, though: faith is required if we are to achieve purpose, for, only in moving forward as we trust Him can we keep in step with the Master. It is for this reason that we must endure our HEWing. We must be stripped of the behaviours, mindsets and attitudes that make it difficult for us to move in step with the Master. We must be stripped of the things that separate us from the Master, the things that bind, the things that keep us walking in darkness. As our HEWing takes place, moving forward trusting God becomes the more obvious choice to make. It doesn’t mean it will be the easier thing to do, it’ll just be the thing you know you need to do.

As you continue along your faith and purpose journey, I bid you go in the strength of the Lord. I pray that you would, indeed, say to the mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!

Until next time,

One response to “Faith”

  1. […] faith, that ability to go ‘forward as I trust Him’ (see last week’s piece, ‘Faith‘), is strengthened. It is on this basis that Jesus could say to the man, ‘your faith […]


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