“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked.  Mark 9:23

One day while worshipping in the spirit I said four words that totally changed my life.

“Lord, sanctify my faith.”

It was like I had stepped outside of myself and heard my own prayer.  I wondered why I even spoke those words. It caught me by surprise.  I had no idea faith needed sanctifying, and in particular my faith.

I had to meditate on this and soon realized not only my faith, but my hopes and dreams were in desperate need of cleaning too.  You see I was putting my faith, my hopes and even my dreams in people, in rituals, in books, in teaching series, in church instead of Jesus.

These things were leaving me disappointed, because they can’t fullfill the deep needs.  There were some things in my life they had no answer for.

When I did approach God my disapointments came with me.  I was putting my hopes on the backs His people and not Him. I was putting my faith in churchy things to do and not Him. Sometimes the line between the two can get blurred.  Sometimes we look at the church and loose faith in God because of her shortcomings.

It’s like people tend to associate their biological father’s actions to God’s.  If their father was absent, then they tend to perceive God as absent.  If their father was demanding then they perceive God as demanding.

When that happens our faith gets tainted and in essence we approach Him with “if you can” and don’t even realize we’ve done it.

Jesus had to stop this guy in his tracks and let him hear what was coming out of his mouth. That question was about sanctifying the man’s faith.

It was sanctifying his hope and faith.  He hoped taking his sick boy to the disciples was going to make it all good. Instead the disciples started arguing with the Pharisees. (Hmmm that can preach.)

This father’s experience was putting limits on Jesus. His disappointment with the disciples manifested in his request.

We might not say exactly “if you can” to Jesus but sometimes our actions does.

I used to pray if it’s your will Lord.  What was I doing? Why was I praying something I didn’t even know was His will or not? Shouldn’t I have gotten that satisfied first, before I went to the King’s throne?  If I had, I would have walked away with a whole lot more assurance of getting some prayers answered.

I had to start listening to my prayers, were they faith filled or were they just routine with no real expectation for an anwer. I had to start acknowledging my unbelief and asking for help.  I had to start identifying where and to whom I putting my hope, trust and faith in.

Today is a good day for allowing the Holy Spirit to search out any “if you can’s” in our hearts. Don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit goes straight for your disappointments.  Those experiences can really taint your hope in what God “can do.”

Trust me, it takes God’s grace to fight the good fight of faith.  Especially for leaders (like the disciples) our faith is on display. People with broken hearts, afflicted bodies, failing marriages, wayward kids the list could go on, are looking to us to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  It’s not easy to keep the faith when surrounded by unbelief, but God’s grace is sufficient to get you through.

For me, I have to constantly remind myself –  it’s not what people can or can’t do it’s what God can and will do.  It’s knowing “He can! Even when they can’t!”

Lord, sanctify my faith, my  hopes and my dreams.  Your Word says “in God I won’t be disappointed.” I hang on to that.

Isa 49:23 Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”

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Q4U: Has someone’s faith encouraged you? Who were they and how?