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Jesus talked about different levels of faith and the two predominant ways of measuring them. He used a spiritual device to measure faith. He did it by judging words and actions. Let's look at an example of this in the Bible.

No Faith
In the following passage, notice what the disciples say and do when adversity comes.
And the same day, when the even was come, he said unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, caress thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, he still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith.
(Mark 4:35-40)
To the disciples, Jesus said something like this:

"I'm going to measure your faith. Peter, I'll start with you. Before we entered the ship I said to you, Let us pass over to the other side. I did not intend to drown.

"While I was asleep, a storm arose. I had given you authority to get Me to the other side, but you reacted negatively to the storm.

"I'm going to use a spiritual device, which judges words and actions, to measure your faith. The scale registers your level of faith. Your words were, 'Don't you care that we perish?' Your actions showed that you were frightened. The scale registers 'No faith.'"

"But Jesus, I'm afraid because the sea is rough and the ship is shaking!"

"The wind has ceased, Peter. You're so frightened that you didn't notice. You have no faith."

Jesus does not waste words. If He says, How is it that ye have no faith? You have none.

Let's look at another time Jesus measured Peter's faith.
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit; and they cried out for fear (not "for faith"). But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it he thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
(Matt. 14:22-29)
Christ speaks, you hear, faith comes. Notice that when Jesus said, Come, Peter heard Him and immediately received that word into his heart. It conceived an image of him walking on the water to Jesus, so he got out of the boat and did just that!

Some people think that the moment he got out on the water, he began to sink. That's not true. He was actually walking on the water heading for Jesus.

This time Peter was operating in great faith. If you don't believe it, fill up your bathtub and try doing what Peter did. Notice what happened to that great faith:

"But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt" (Matt. 14:30-31)?

As long as Peter had his eyes on the Word, his faith was great. But when he saw that the wind boisterous, he started to sink. When you are looking at the circumstances, you can't see the Word. You don't have the ability to consider both at the same time. You may run from one to the other, but one of them will overrule.

As Jesus reached down to pull Peter out, He said, "Peter, I'm going to measure your faith. When I said, Come, you got out of the boat and responded in faith by walking on the water. The scale registered 'Great Faith.' Very good, Peter! The other day you had 'No Faith.'"

"But then you started considering the circumstances, the boisterous wind. You thought, I can't walk on the water when there is a strong wind! You were deceived, Peter. When you took your eyes off the Word, you began to sink. Then you cried out, 'Save me!' The scale now registers, 'Little Faith.'"

Peter had shown improvement. In the first situation he had "No Faith;" in the second, "Little Faith." It's better to have little faith than none.

Great Faith
In Matthew 8:5-8, Jesus measured a centurion's faith:
And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall he healed.

When Jesus heard what the centurion said...he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel (v.10).
Jesus was saying, "What the centurion said and did is causing the scale's indicator to rise fast? It registers 'Great Faith.' This is the greatest faith I've ever seen!"

After Jesus rose from the dead, He measured Thomas' faith. When the other disciples told Thomas that they had seen Jesus, Thomas said,

"Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails,...and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe" (John 20:25).

Later, Jesus appeared to them and said to Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger...and reach hither thy hand...and be not faithless, but believing" (v.27). In other words, Jesus was saying if you have to feel or see something first, your level of faith is "No Faith."

The indicator on the scale will rise fast if you react to sickness by saying: "The Word is my final authority. It says that I am healed by the stripes of Jesus. That's all the evidence I need. I'm healed, and that settles it!" Jesus will marvel at your faith.

Immeasurable Faith
Let's look at another level of faith that Jesus measured. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church, "Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly ..." (2 Thess. 1:2-3).

The Greek word for "exceedingly" is perissos which means "superabundantly above, beyond measure." You can get to such a high level that your faith becomes immeasurable.

The Thessalonians faith was so great that Paul said, "For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing" (1 Thess. 1:8).

Paul was saying, "Everywhere I go, people have heard about your faith. I don't even get to tell the story anymore. You have become the sounding board for faith."

Today, we Christians should be the sounding board for faith. The only way you can develop your faith to an immeasurable point is by applying the law: Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17).

Whether you have "No Faith," or "Little Faith," if you want more, simply meditate the Word. When faith comes, your measure grows and the limitations decrease. Finally you reach this point: All things are possible to him that believeth (Mark 9:23).

Source: The Nature of Faith by Jerry Savelle
Excerpt permission granted by Jerry Savelle Publications

Author Biography

Jerry Savelle
Web site: Jerry Savelle Ministries International
Dr. Jerry Savelle was an average, blue-collar man who was struggling and needed God's help. While he considered himself a "nobody," when he became a believer God told him not to worry about it because He was a master at making champions out of nobodies. God has since taken Dr. Savelle from being a constant quitter to a man who knows how to stand on the Word of God until victory is experienced. Because of the life-changing combination of God's faithfulness and Dr. Savelle's "no quit" attitude, his life is totally different than it was thirty-eight years ago.

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