Increasing Faith: Luke 17:1-10

Focus Passage: Luke 17:1-10 (NIV)

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’”

Read Luke 17:1-10 in context and/or in other translations on!

Coming right after Jesus talks about challenges and forgiveness, the disciples make their request. Jesus’ “answer” doesn’t really appear to be about faith at all. He initially gives a statement that a seemingly insignificant amount of faith can cause a massive impact, but then moves the focus onto obedience. Jesus doesn’t say, “Here are three steps to increase your faith,” because faith cannot be broken up into steps and milestones.

Instead growing faith moves through stages based on our obedience. The more obedient we are, the stronger our faith can become, and the more opportunity and responsibility will come our way, leading us further up the stages of faith.

“Mustard-seed-sized-faith” might begin with a declaration—a milestone moment at the beginning—but according to Jesus’ response, for our faith to grow we must be obedient to what Jesus has called us to. Obeying is much more difficult than simply thinking or talking about obeying. Obeying with our actions grows our faith!

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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