“LORD, INCREASE OUR FAITH”
“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5
Here the twelve were asking the God of the universe to "increase" their "faith." The reader will note that there is no hint in this passage that the twelve original disciples of Christ sought to believe in themselves more fully.
I visited a church fellowship recently and the message was good - except for when the pastor said that we should "believe in ourselves."
The Son of God instructed us to "Have faith in God (not self)." (Mk. 11:22)
Is not self-trust the message of the new age movement and all the cults - to look within because all you need is inside you? Wasn't this the first lie Satan told to the man and woman in the garden, and is still using the same lure? Didn't he convince them that they didn't need God because they were sufficient in and of themselves? (Gen. 3:1-5; 1 Cor. 10:13) Isn't this the message of all of alienated mankind (the world) who are not trusting in the total sufficiency of Jesus Christ?
The complete absence of even one instruction in holy Scripture to trust self should tell us something.
Isn't self-reliance the very thing that separates the saved and the unsaved? Wouldn't self-trust be the antithesis of trusting in God? Why would we need to "trust in the LORD with ALL thine heart" if we were sufficient in ourselves? (Prov. 3:5-6) Why would we need God if we have all we need inside us - without Him?
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 2:20-21
Have you noticed that this self-trust message has infiltrated every segment of society and nearly all motivational communications? This is to be expected among those who are without God (Eph. 2:12). Most unfortunately it has greatly consumed the church world through the psychologizing of the faith and most people in the Church world do not realize this. Most modern day church goers believe that they need a mixture of faith in God and self-trust and reliance.
Yes, we have our part in many things - but not justification. This is the free gift of God provided through Christ's one sacrifice (Jn. 19:30; Heb. 10:12). In our daily lives, the LORD calls us to use what He gave us with all diligence while simultaneously trusting Him in and for all things (Phil. 2:12-13; Prov. 10:4; 1 Cor. 15:10, etc.).
“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.” Proverbs 14:26
Our "place of refuge" is in "the fear of the LORD" and it is there we have "strong confidence."
Some have even taught that "God believes in you." How could this possibly be? - in the light of what He establishes in His Word about mankind (doctrine of man)? No doubt that the LORD knows who His good stewards are, but to say that "God believes in us" is unfounded and can be misleading.
The LORD is all-knowing and the following is what He tells us concerning fallen mankind.
THE DOCTRINE OF MAN (a foundational Bible doctrine)
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
“Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.” Psalms 39:5
“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Ecclesiastes 7:20
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10
When we truly understand the doctrine of sinful man, we realize the utter futility of placing confidence in him.
“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” John 2:23-25
Notice here that Christ "knew what was in man" therefore He " did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men."
Every human being has faith in something or someone. Would you agree that faith is only as valid as the object or person in which it is placed? Why place trust in any other than the eternal and all-knowing, omnipotent, God and Creator of all things?
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” 2 Corinthians 5:16
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3
The "manifold grace and wisdom of God" are totally sufficient to make His children excel in this life and be pleasing to Him in all things and at all times (Eph. 3:10; 1 Pet. 4:10). His surpassing greatness consumes and elevates all those who are pursuing ever-deepening relationship with Him, possess genuine humility, and truly trust in Him for all things (James 4:6-10; Ps 75:5-6). His grace is sufficient for them.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9