Why are we able to ask an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing God for help? Why can we ask for a better life and future with him? There's really only one reason. The reason is the object of our faith. Because of this object, we can boldly come to God with our needs and wants and receive answers. It is not faith in and of itself. We don't put stock in the fact that we know how to believe. It's the object of our faith: Jesus. It's in him that we put our faith. It's not in our amazing confession or how good we are at asking or believing. It's all about him. It's because of who he is that we can continue asking, even when we've heard "no" or "wait" in the past.
Walking into God's plan and truly living by faith come by understanding that Jesus is the source of our faith. "By grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).
This grace that has saved us is not some principle. Grace is a person. It's Jesus. And it's not ourselves and our amazing faith that transform our lives: it's this grace from Jesus. All our confidence and all our faith have to be wrapped up in the Son. Because of him, we can approach God, ask with boldness, and see mountains move. Because of him, we don't have to beat ourselves up for that relationship we let go on too long or that job opportunity that fizzled. Because of him, we can dream differently and see those God-ordained dreams come to fruition.
Let's say you're going to a horse race and have to pick a horse to win. Maybe you choose Clever Donkey. (Not sure why a horse would be called Clever Donkey, but just go with it.) You arrive and give the guy at the booth your money. "I'm going to put all my money on Clever Donkey!" you say. "Clever Donkey will win this race!"
Then you watch the race. And Clever Donkey starts coming around the track. In that moment, your whole body is filled with confidence and hope in Clever Donkey. Because you put your money on the line, you'd expect that horse to win this race.
It's also a little bit like when you watch Steph Curry as he's about to shoot a three-pointer on TV. You'll see an entire arena holding their breaths, waiting for him to make it. Everybody stands and watches the ball as he shoots it. They wait eagerly as it makes its famous high arc. And if he misses, the whole room gasps in shock. If Steph Curry doesn't make his three-pointer, the room cannot believe it. Why? Because we've put our hope and confidence in his abilities as a shooter.
Luckily, unlike a horse or an NBA player, Jesus always wins. If you put your faith, your money, your life, and all your confidence and hope in him, he won't let you down. It's because of him that you can even ask God in the first place. Through his death and resurrection, he bore our sins and made a way for us to go straight to God. Because of him, we have an incredible future in front of us.
It bothers me when Christians make faith about something that it's not. I hate seeing faith become some kind of accent or personality. I'm not a huge fan of the strange subculture that defines itself as the ones "walking in faith" yet is really just putting all their faith in themselves. Faith is not about your own doing. It's about the gift of Jesus. It's faith in him that opens the door of possibility. Faith in him leads to lives saved and bodies healed.
The father in Matthew 17 knew the disciples weren't the source. When things didn't work out at the church, he went straight to Jesus to ask for help. It's time for all of us to go straight to the source with complete confidence that he can move any mountain and help us walk into our future. Let's go straight to Jesus and make the Big Ask.
What are you asking God for? Don't wait to get to heaven one day and wish that you would've believed for more. Don't arrive at eternity and wish you would've asked for more in this life. Doubt and the Devil say, "Wait for tomorrow." Faith and the Father say, "Ask today."