Jan 13, 2012

Mustard Seed Faith - A Growth Process

This morning's message is about a subject that seems to be poorly understood by most people. The subject is faith. We'll look at faith and how it applies to healing, which is somewhat different than faith for other things.

Healing the sick is something we do by faith. In contrast to traditional medicine, which is a matter of what you know and how skilled you are, divine healing is a result of who you know and what you believe. Simply put; if you know Jesus and you believe He is still healing people today, He will heal the sick through you. Once your relationship with Him is established through the operation of the Holy Spirit, growing your faith in God’s ability and desire to heal is the next step.

How do we develop the kind of faith that heals people consistently? It was in their failures that the disciples of Jesus were given some of the most important lessons from their teacher. When they were not able to heal a boy with epilepsy, they asked Jesus why:

"And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
(Matt 17:14-20)

Jesus said they could not heal the boy because they lacked the necessary faith. The disciples were not completely devoid of faith; they had already worked many miracles by this time. They had adequate faith for healing some diseases, but not the faith to accomplish this particular healing.

Jesus said if they had faith as a mustard seed, they could move mountains. Some teach that Jesus spoke of the size of faith when He compared faith to a mustard seed. They teach that faith which is small can move mountains – if it is pure or has some other quality. But Jesus didn’t use size in this comparison. He didn’t say they needed to have faith as small as a mustard seed, but rather they needed faith that acts as a mustard seed does. Small faith was never applauded by Jesus – instead he often rebuked people for having little or small faith.

In order to understand why He compared faith to a mustard seed, we need to look elsewhere in scripture. The first mention of mustard seed in the bible is in the kingdom parables of Matthew chapter 13, where Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed:

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matt. 13:31-32)

The mustard seed though small, grew to be massive in size. Here is the key to how mustard seed faith behaves – it grows. A seed bears no fruit until it germinates and grows into a plant; the larger the plant – the more fruit it bears. Faith must grow before it produces the fruit of healing.

When I began praying for the sick, almost no one was healed. I was discouraged and I wanted to quit. I had almost no faith. All I had was a promise from God; “You pray and I’ll heal”. I had a seed of promise and nothing else. But as we’ve seen, the kingdom of God is about growth.

So I planted the seed and watered it. I watched videos featuring Todd White as he prayed with people on the streets and I saw miracles happen. And the seed sprouted. I watered it with scripture, reading every account of healing in the bible. And it grew roots. God gave me dreams in which I saw myself praying for the sick and they were being healed. Leaves grew from a small stalk that emerged from the ground. I continued to lay hands on anyone who would let me and eventually, I saw some of them healed. Fruit began to appear.

In the beginning I failed to understand what it took to see people healed. I saw others operating consistently in healing and I wanted to know how they did it. Like many people, I misunderstood what faith for healing is and how it operates.

Most of you would call yourself Christians, disciples of Jesus or simply, ‘believers’. You believe certain things about Jesus; the most important is that He is your Savior. This ‘kind’ of faith is the kind that saves us from the consequences of sin, but it’s not the kind of faith that heals the sick. Every Christian believes that Jesus is their savior, and yet that faith does not heal the sick. There must be another kind of faith that heals.

The kind of faith that heals isn’t a belief that God wants to heal the sick. Many people believe that God wants to heal the sick and yet the sick are not healed by their faith. Faith that heals is different from this.

Faith that heals the sick consistently and predictably is the belief that when you are presented with an opportunity to heal someone who is willing to be healed, that God will in fact heal that person of the condition they desire to be healed of through you. Faith that heals is not general. It is specific to the individual in need, the problem at hand and the one praying, which is usually us. Allow me to illustrate:

When the woman was healed by taking hold of the hem of Jesus’ garment, Jairus was in the crowd. His daughter was sick so he came to Jesus for help. After the woman was healed, Jesus had her testify to the crowd. After she testified, a friend of Jairus informed him that his daughter had died. Jesus looked at Jairus and said, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” (See Luke 8:40-50)

The woman’s testimony was needed because Jesus wanted Jairus to hear it and have faith for a something specific. Although believing that He was the Messiah was important, it wasn’t the thing He was after. He didn’t want Jairus to believe that God heals some people or that He raises some people from the dead. He wanted Jairus to believe without a doubt that his daughter would be raised from the dead. Note; Jesus said the girl would be made well, if he believed. The faith Jairus needed to see his daughter resurrected was specific to his daughter and her condition.

This is the kind of faith we need for healing.

When I began praying with people for healing, I seldom expected any of them to be healed. I believed that God wanted to heal some people and some conditions but I didn’t believe He wanted to heal all of them and I thought the person I was praying with wouldn’t be healed. I had a lot of doubts and those doubts involved either the person I was praying with or the condition I was praying for.

I doubted that God wanted to heal everyone and in fact, I thought He would heal just about anyone except the person I was praying with. Because I didn’t know that God wanted to heal everyone, my faith was generalized to some people, but not specific to the one I was praying with. So when I prayed with specific people, my doubts surfaced and I imagined them not being healed. My specific doubts destroyed my generalized faith and no one was healed.

After six months of fruitless attempts at healing, I realized I had to change some things. I noticed that Todd White commanded healing instead of asking God to heal and this approach worked well. Here’s an issue we need to consider. Has it ever occurred to you that when we beg God for healing, we believe that we are more compassionate than God is?

I changed my approach and started to command healing and as soon as I did, I saw people healed – often they were healed instantly. I saw a lot of success with torn rotator cuffs and carpal tunnel syndrome, seeing one person after another healed miraculously.

I began to approach these two conditions with more confidence. After only a few more months I’d seen dozens of people healed with a success rate of around 90%. Because of that success, I began to believe ( I had confidence) that God would actually heal everyone I prayed with who had one of these two conditions. My faith, which was generalized until then, became very specific. There were certain people with certain conditions that I knew in my heart, without any doubt God was going to heal. It was at this point that I began to tell some people they would be healed before I prayed with them. Something had changed in my approach to healing and that translated to greater confidence and better results. I’d like to explain how those changes occurred.

I began with a generalized faith. My general belief was that God wanted to heal “some people” of “some conditions”. This faith was weakened by specific doubts. I doubted that God wanted to heal the specific person or a specific condition through my prayers. Note - doubt comes in one of three areas; doubt about the person who is sick being healed, doubt about healing a certain condition or doubt that God will heal them through you. Doubt in all of these areas must be eliminated if you want to see people healed consistently.

As I saw more people healed, my generalized faith became specific – I had confidence (faith) that many of the people I prayed with would be healed. The doubts about specific people were being removed. I had also more faith for some conditions than others; my doubts about specific conditions was being removed. And faith for just about every type of condition was greater than it had been; my general faith for healing was growing.

As I began praying for people with neurologic disorders like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s) I had little faith for those conditions. Over time, my confidence began to grow and I began to see changes in some of those people as well. The same is true for cancer. Like many of us, my confidence for seeing cancer healed was small. I saw cancer as a stronger adversary, for some reason. But as I prayed with more cancer patients and saw some of them healed; my confidence for healing of cancer began to grow quickly. I don’t yet have the same confidence for cancer or ALS that I do for joint injuries, but the more I lay hands on people with those conditions the more my faith grows.

My faith, like the faith of Jairus, was strengthened by watching the power of God at work. Faith can and must grow. Seeing people healed is one of the keys to growth. I don’t think there is a substitute for experiencing the power of God at work.

The strategy for growing your faith is to start with a generalized belief that God heals. From there, you simply lay hands on whomever you can and eventually, you’ll see some of them healed. As you do, your weak, generalized faith will become more specific and stronger. As you continue in healing, you’ll see more types of diseases and injuries healed. You’ll develop more faith (confidence) for specific conditions. If you continue laying hands on people, the strong faith you have for a few things will broaden into a strong faith for many things.

There is a belief among Charismatics that some people have an ‘anointing’ for healing certain conditions such as back pain or migraines. In reality, there is no special anointing. But rather, they’ve recognized the fact that they have greater confidence (or a lack of doubt) for some conditions than for others. If they continue to pray with faith for other conditions, they usually develop confidence for them as well.

It has often been noted (primarily by skeptics) that no one has produced a medically documented case of an amputee who has had a limb restored through prayer. They use this as an argument against healing. In light of all the other valid testimonies of healing it seems like a weak argument. But the question deserves to be answered, “Why aren’t amputees healed in any significant numbers?”

Here’s my answer: I believe the lack of healing of amputees is due to nothing more than a corporate lack of faith specific to healing amputees. The church looks at the amputee as an impossible assignment. Torn rotator cuff? No problem. Multiple sclerosis? Yes, we can do that. HIV? Sure, we’ve seen a lot of people healed of that. But when we face the man or woman with a missing limb, we don’t have the faith (confidence) for it. When YOU believe (when you have a confident expectation) that God will heal a certain amputee through YOU, it will happen.

Jesus commented about the faith of the Roman centurion, calling his faith ‘great’. I’ve never considered myself to be a person of great faith. I thought that if I had great faith, every person I laid hands on who had missing limbs, would have them grow out. I’d be able to walk on water and do many other signs and wonders with great faith. And since these things weren’t happening, I concluded that my faith wasn’t very great.

I had a dream one night about faith that changed my understanding what it is and how it works. The dream was about a man who had great faith. His faith was so great that it could heal the entire city that he worked in. I didn’t realize it at first, but the man God showed me in the dream was me. What struck me most was the idea that it wasn’t the man or even God that had the potential to heal all those people – it was the faith he had which held the capacity to heal an entire city.

In the dream, God revealed something I didn’t know. He explained that my choice to continue praying with people, in spite of dismal results, was really the process of watering and nurturing the seed of faith that He had given me, which grew into faith that today has almost unlimited potential.

I don’t expect to heal an entire city, although that would be a great testimony to God. Such a feat would require me to stay awake for weeks or months on end and everyone in the city would actually want to be healed. God wasn’t speaking about actual healing, but the potential to heal. He was saying that my faith had grown to the point where I had the potential to heal thousands, if I chose to operate in a way that tapped into the faith I now had.

We know that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1) Faith has substance. It’s tangible and it does things, like heal the sick. I see faith as something like the currency of heaven. When we begin our journey in the kingdom, most of us have small faith. Our bank account of faith upon which we can draw out the resources of heaven is small. But as we walk with God and get to know His ways, we begin to trust Him more. As our faith in Him grows, so does the balance in our account. The more we step out and exercise our faith, the more we get to watch God at work. The more He works the more reason we have to trust Him. And trusting Him brings more faith into our account.

Unlike the balance in our bank account, which decreases the more we use it, the balance in our faith account increases the more we use it. Those who have great faith are those who exercise it often. Many of us underestimate what’s possible with the faith we now possess. It’s good to know that whatever level of faith we have today it will increase if we exercise it.


  1. I love your blog and love this post! I found your blog a little over a month ago and have been reading it straight through from the beginning (I'm still in 2009). But it's amazing to read your journey of how God led you to this point. God has been showing me the truth about healing over the last 8 months. Like you, I did not believe any of that stuff about healing prior. I've been a Christian 11 years and never heard it taught, but God has been showing me. Keep up the good work.

  2. It sounds like you have read 12 Steps to Divine Healing since much of your analogy is identical.

  3. Never read it, Eddie. But thanks for sending me the link to the e-book. Looking forward to learning more about healing.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Once again Prayingmedic, I find a tremendous strengthening as I read your blog articles. The Lord began to speak to me about how I must grow in this arena of healing. I initially saw Jesus' statement "My meat is to do the will of my father" then He took me over to Heb 5 - "Strong meat belongs to those who by reason of USE EXERCISE their spiritual senses..." There is an exercising, that waters the seed of faith for it to grow regardless of immediate results-Tremendous! I desperately needed to see that!

    Today at the 4-H camp I prayed for a contractor that was having back spasms of which I have experienced in my own back through the years. Knowing the pain 1st hand and as you pointed out I ran into doubt but did not recognize it. I prayed for him and nothing happened and I prayed again commanding what needed to be done but nothing happened. I assured him the Lord loved him and would see him through this. And as I went to my office feeling 1. really grieved for this guy having to suffer, 2. broken hearted that I could not release the supply he needed and 3.a bit confused. I earnestly asked the Lord what was up all afternoon. Then this evening I read this article you wrote.

    Brother, as I read this article it answered all my questions and then some! So Thank you man for your faithfulness in posting your journey in this arena of healing it has helped me and many of us here in this little home church in the N.Ga.

    The glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the earth! Jim

    1. Thanks for the feedback Jim. I'm blessed to hear that the article has strengthened you. If you ever have any specific questions, let me know. I'll do what I can to answer them.