“Lord, increase our faith!”
That was the cry of Jesus’ first 12 disciples…and it’s been the heart cry of untold millions of believers ever since. And why shouldn’t it be?
Again and again in the New Testament we see people receive miracles from God…according to their faith. We hear Jesus say, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20). We read the words of the apostle John who wrote, “…this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (I John 5:4).
The Bible makes it absolutely clear: Faith can overcome anything in this world order. There is literally no limit to what faith can do.
Why then aren’t more Christians enjoying the limitless blessings that faith can produce in their lives? Primarily because we’ve limited ourselves to this natural realm. We’ve spent most of our time looking at the things we can see with our physical eyes, and believing what our natural senses tell us. We haven’t cultivated the vast field of faith that’s available to us.
You might say, we’ve fenced ourselves in by unbelief.
Jump the Fence!
Some years ago, the Lord dealt strongly with me about breaking through that fence. As I was praying one day, He reminded me of my grandfather and the 640-acre plot of land in the panhandle of Texas that he farmed when I was a little boy. Time and again I’d seen my grandfather climb on his tractor and plow one row after another on that land. He’d come up one way as far as he could go until he reached the fence at the edge of his farm; then he’d swing that old tractor around and start another row.
An excellent farmer, my grandfather knew how to make those 640 acres produce to maximum capacity. But, even so, there was a limit to what those acres would yield. If he wanted to go beyond that limit, he’d have to buy the land on the other side of that fence. He’d have to farm some new territory.
As I fellowshiped with the Lord that day, in my spirit I could see my grandfather going up and down those rows, turning every time he reached the fence. Then suddenly the Spirit of the Lord hollered in my spirit and said, Jump the fence! Get over into the ground of faith where the possibilities are unlimited! That ground will produce a crop as big as you’ve got the guts to plow!
Bless the Lord, I’ve been jumping fences ever since!
I’m not planning to stop either because I’ve discovered for myself that living by faith is exciting. There’s no end to what faith can do. Even more importantly, God Himself is pleased by faith, so the more I grow in faith, the happier He is.
Of course, people aren’t always as happy about faith as God is. Some of them have warned me not to go overboard with this faith business. “You’d better stay balanced,” they say.
They think balance means mixing equal parts of faith and unbelief. But Jesus never said anything about that kind of balance. He never rebuked anybody by saying, “Oh ye of too big faith!” No, it was little faith that bothered Him. He’s always been pleased with great faith.
Become a Faith Farmer
“But, Brother Copeland,” you might say, “there’s one problem. I don’t have any faith.”
Yes, you do. When you were born again you received the same faith Jesus has. It’s the same faith Paul had, the same faith Peter had and the same faith John had. They got theirs from Jesus just like you did. He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Ephesians 2:8 confirms that. It says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” When we were saved, God gave each of us a measure of His own faith. We didn’t do anything to earn or deserve it. He gave it to us freely as a gift. We do, however, have the responsibility to develop it.
I know, you’re probably thinking, Then I have a lot of developing to do, because my faith is really small.
That’s OK. Don’t worry about that. Nobody starts out with great faith. We all begin with just enough to get born again. That’s why we must set ourselves to become faith growers.
Some people grow cotton for a living. Some people grow wheat for a living. As believers, we grow faith! We start out with the seed of the Word. We plant it, cultivate it, guard it against the pests and elements that try to destroy it. If we’ll do those things our faith will grow greater all the time.
Faith Gets the Job Done
Jesus left no doubt about that. In Luke 17, when the disciples asked Him to increase their faith, He said, “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you” (verse 6).
In other words, if you have just a little bit of faith, use it like a seed. Plant it in a situation with the words of your mouth. Then keep believing and that faith will grow and work in that ground until it becomes great enough to get the job done.
That’s not a message Jesus preached just once. He preached it again and again. It’s so vital that in Mark 4, where He taught it in the greatest depth through the parable of the sower, He said that if we don’t understand that message we won’t be able to understand anything about the way the kingdom of God works on the earth. Then He added: “Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it” (verses 30-32).
What’s more, Jesus didn’t just say that faith, once sown, grows up and becomes greater; He demonstrated it. When He cursed the fruitless fig tree by saying, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever” (Mark 11:14), He planted His faith by speaking words to that tree.
To the natural eye, it looked like nothing happened right away. But Jesus’ faith went to work immediately in the roots of that tree and it kept working until the whole tree withered—leaves and all. When He and His disciples passed by that tree 24 hours later, it had dried up from the roots. It took a day to finish the job but, in the end, faith got it done!
Don’t Just Scatter the Seed…Plant It
“Yeah, but that was Jesus,” somebody might say. “Nobody else can operate in that kind of faith.”
On the contrary, Jesus commanded us all to operate in it. He said, “Have faith in God.” (Or as some translations put it, Have the God kind of faith.) “For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:22-23).
According to Jesus, if you’re a whosoever (and that covers just about everybody) you can and should have the mountain-moving faith of God.
How do you grow that kind of faith?
You start by planting God’s Word in your heart because “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
You can’t just casually scatter the seed of the Word on the top of the ground where the devil can steal it from you, either. You must plant it deeply and securely in your spirit. The best way to do that is by obeying the instructions in Proverbs 4:20-24: “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”
It’s Not Always Easy
If you truly want to obey those instructions, you must decide—once and for all—to make God’s Word the final authority in your life. You must determine that regardless of what happens in your life, you will live by the Word.
I’ll never forget the day Gloria and I did that. It was back in 1967 when we first started out in the ministry. We were attending some of Brother Kenneth Hagin’s meetings and we heard him talk about the commitment he’d made years before to honor God’s Word as the ultimate authority in his life. He had determined early in his ministry that he would make whatever adjustments necessary to make his lifestyle fit the Word.
Gloria and I went home that day and said, “That’s what we’re going to do, too.” So we sat down at our little table, took Communion and said to the Lord, “From now on, we’ll believe whatever Your Word says. We’ll do whatever it says to do.” And we’ve done that ever since.
It hasn’t always been easy. There have been times when I’ve been hurting…or mad…or disappointed about something and Gloria would remind me that the Word says in those situations we should praise the Lord. There have been times when I felt sick and somebody would remind me that the Word says that by Jesus’ stripes we were healed.
I knew the Bible said those things but I didn’t feel like acting on it right then. I felt like saying, “Hey, get out of my face with that! Stop telling me what I should do!” But then I’d remember the commitment we made back in 1967 and I’d make my flesh get in line.
The decision I made back then would take over and I’d say to myself, “Look here, flesh, I’m going to do what the Word of God says to do whether you like it or not. I am going to praise God. And I’m not allowing that ‘I’m sick,’ ‘I’m tired,’ ‘I’m broke,’ ‘I don’t know what we’re going to do’ junk to come out of my mouth again.”
Once you make that kind of quality decision, the door is open for you to go on to greater things. You’ll be in position to put your flesh where it belongs, under the authority of the Word. You’ll be ready to bust through the natural limitations that have kept you from enjoying the abundant blessings of God.
So go ahead, jump the fence and start planting the seed of God’s Word in the soil of your heart! Grow the biggest crop of faith you’ve ever seen.
Your heavenly Father is sure to be well pleased. –Ken Copeland