“Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:19-20
In Matthew 17, Jesus’ disciples attempted to cast out a demon from a boy. The boy’s father was desperate for his son’s healing, but they were unable to perform the miracle. In previous chapters, the disciples were given authority to cast out demons and had been successful. What happened? Perhaps the disciples shifted from total trust in Christ to a subtle confidence in their own abilities. In other words, they got comfortable.
Have you ever driven on “autopilot”? You’re so familiar with the route that you let your guard down a little? Maybe you change the music, send the text, choose the podcast, enjoy the scenery, but forget to pay much attention to the road. After all, you could make this drive in your sleep! What happens when something unexpected shows up on the street in front of you or a car makes a sudden stop? Because you are on autopilot, you are less prepared for the unexpected. You swerve or jerk the car, hoping to avoid an accident or, worst case scenario, you might even kill someone. It’s not that you don’t know how to drive or haven’t done it before, you just got too comfortable and quit paying attention.
This could have been what happened with the disciples. Instead of praying and fasting and coming to God in total dependency, they became comfortable and confident in their own abilities. The longer they walked with Jesus, the more tempting it became to rely on themselves because, after all, “they’ve done it before.” This happens in our walk with God, too.
It is easy to grow comfortable in your faith. So comfortable that you forget how utterly dependent you are on God. However, God’s power is not experienced in the present because you had faith in the past. God’s power is experienced in the present when you exercise faith in the present. Very often, it is when you come to the end of yourself that real faith can begin. Take a moment to consider areas in your spiritual walk where you have grown comfortable. Confess to God, and ask Him to replace your self-sufficiency with a God-dependency!