By Colleen Donahue

While Jesus, Peter, James and John had been up on a mountain witnessing the transfiguration of Jesus, the other disciples had been asked by a desperate father to heal his demon possessed son. No doubt he had hoped to see Jesus, but in his absence, he thought surely his disciples could do something. The public spiritual failure that resulted for those disciples was a stinging blow to their egos. With every failure there is a lesson to learn. We can learn with the disciples the reason for spiritual failure and....


The Essential Faith Needed For Life's Problems

Studies continued from Matthew 17: 14-20 (Also Mark 9:14-29)

Day 1- Although the disciples were not able to help this father, it was not beyond the disciple's ability to minister to people. Why?
Matthew 10:1

But here, in front of the father and the whole crowd with him, they had tasted of a public spiritual failure.
Matthew 17:16

Day 2- No doubt it had been humiliating and an experience they wouldn't want to repeat. As you read these next verses pick out the different reasons for spiritual failure.
Matthew 7:26-27 / Matthew17:19-20 / Luke 14:28-33 / 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 / Hebrews 4:6

Day 3- As you can see from reading Matthew 17:19 the disciples went to Jesus in private to ask Him why they couldn't drive out the demon. That is what we need to do as well -- go to Jesus with our failure and let Him tell us. He will not leave us in the dark. Read again how open and straight he was with the disciples.
Matthew 17:20a

The root cause of having "so little faith" is unbelief. How do we know when unbelief is lurking underneath our spiritual façade?

Day 4- When God tells us something will occur and we question the validity of it in the light of our own understanding. Here are a few examples:
Genesis 17:17 / Numbers 11: 21-23 / 2 Kings 7:1-2 / Luke 1:13-20

Day 5- When we are unable to do what God has given us the power and ability to do.
Matthew 10:1 / Matthew 17: 19-20

Day 6- When God has spoken some truth to us and we regard it as nonsense.
Genesis 19:14 / Luke 24: 10-11

Day 7- When we don't see God's miraculous hand working in our day to day lives.
Matthew 13:58

Day 8- When our speech is peppered with faithless words. For example:
"If only God could help me in this situation...."
"If Jesus is really God, then He might be able to help."
"I guess the only thing left to do is pray. Maybe God can help us."

Our words reflect what's really in our heart. If unbelief fills us, then what happens if Jesus does speak and act on our behalf?
Luke 22:67

Day 9- When we hear the testimonies of men and women who have experienced God at work in their lives and we don't believe it can be for us.
John 3:11 / John 10:24-26 / John 12:37

Day 10- When we are paralyzed by our fears and cannot act on God's will. (It is not wrong to feel fear but it should never keep us from going forward to do God's will).
Mark 4: 37-41

The Significant Point of This Story

Day 11- Now here is a significant point in this story. The boy's father had faith. Even though the disciples had failed him, he still believed Jesus could heal his son.
Matthew 17:14-16

Many men today have lost faith in the church, but they have not lost faith in its founder. As in these examples you too can go straight to Jesus with your concerns.
Matthew 15:25 / Matthew 20:30 / Luke 17:12-13

Day 12- Jesus had something to give to this man and his son. He had been with His Father in secret and gained strength and encouragement for His own soul. This is real spiritual life-- to draw our strength from God so that we have life to give to others in meeting their needs. Jesus' power and authority came from His Father, while He walked this earth. Now, as He abides within His children the power still comes from our Father in Heaven. It flows through Christ and out through us to the world.
1 Chronicles 29:12 / 2 Chronicles 25:8 / Psalm 62:11 / Psalm 93:1-4

Day 13- But what if we don't feel strong? What if we are weak and don't feel as though we have what it takes to give to others in their need? We need to take heart and believe God's own word to us that He will pour His strength through our weakness.
Psalm 73:26 / 1 Corinthians 1:27 / 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 / 2 Corinthians 13:4

Day 14- We see in this story the essential need for us to have faith -- even a little faith. With faith what can be done?
Matthew 17:20
This phrase "moving mountains" was a common one among the Jews. It meant removing difficulties. So Jesus is saying that if we have faith enough, all difficulties can be solved and even the hardest task can be accomplished.
So what is the essence of faith? It is that we believe what God says is true and we then choose to act in accordance with what God has told us -- whether or not we see the results immediately.
John 6: 28-29 / Hebrews 11:1, 8

Day 15- And how do we get this faith?
Romans 10:17

Let's Take a Quiz!

Day 16- Do you spend some time with God each day reading His word?
Are you putting yourself in places where you can hear God's word taught and explained?
If you answered "No" then there will be no chance for faith to develop and grow. But even if you answer "yes", what is the necessary attitude to receive God's word?
Proverbs 8:34 / Ecclesiastes 5:1 / Luke 8:15 / James 1:19

Day 17- Don't fool yourself. Yes, you may be skimming a few verses each day. Yes, you may be sitting in a pew on Sunday. yes, you may even be attending a Bible study. But if your life isn't changing and growing to be more like Jesus, then the effects of God's word are not in operation for your life. You could be just like the Jewish people that Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied about.
Isaiah 6:9-10 / Jeremiah 6:10

Day 18- Why did these people (the Jews) have little or no faith to "remove their mountains"?
Ezekiel 12:2 / Zechariah 7:11

Day 19- The key to a growing faith is "hearing" God's word. The proof that we have heard is when it is accompanied by action. If we "talk" faith but don't "walk" faith, what is true about our faith?
James 2:14-20

Day 20- Are you new to reading and listening to God's word? Are you acting on what you are learning? Then your heart is the right soil for faith to grow and with your small but growing faith you'll be able to "remove mountains".
Matthew 13: 23 / Matthew 17:20

Daily Discipline Table of Contents