|"If you have faith the|
size of a mustard seed..."
(Matt. 17:20 KJV)
While studying a recent Sunday school lesson, I came across a passage of scripture that opened my eyes to this little word... "if"(Luke 17:1-6). Christ was teaching His disciples vital principles on forgiveness. In just a few verses of the translation I was reading He used the word "if" five times. Serious bible students will tell you that when a word is repeated in a bible text, you need to pay close attention. I did!
The word, "if" is used 1,595 times in 1,420 different verses of the popular King James translation of the bible. This says that it's a pretty important word for Christians. Don't you agree? For being such a tiny word, only two letters, it sure packs a wallop in its various meanings!
For example "if" can denote something conditional as in bible promises we saints are eager to claim: "IF you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer" (Matt. 21:22). Or "IF you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciple" (John 8:31). We glibly quote these scriptures confident we'll get what we want without being intentional about doing our part... accepting with joy whatever the Lord chooses to do in the matter?
Many times we see "if" used to express regret in stressful or emotional situations:
"Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, IF you had been here my brother would not have died" (John 11:21).
Even Jesus in His humanity felt these pangs when He wept over Jerusalem over their stubbornness: "IF you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes" (Luke 19:42). The word "if,"along with its cousins: "shoulda, woulda, coulda," has creeped too frequently into our conversations and life. A change in faith and attitude is now in order!
We are probably most familiar with "if" in situations suggesting hope. The bible gives us many examples of those as well: Before brash and impulsive Peter stepped out of the boat, he paused long enough to say these words: "Lord, IF it's you, command me to come to you on the water" (Matthew 14:28). We are encouraged by Jesus when He says: "I am the door: by me IF any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture (John 10:9). Embolden in our walk and ministry by Paul who preaches: "Therefore, IF any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Truly this tiny word "if" can put us on a path of faith or doom us to self-inflicting failure! It can be prohibitive, as a warning to keep us from harm or spur us on to greatness! It's all in how you choose to use it! Will you limit its potency by ignoring critical conditions? Sink into self-pity and settle for the ordinary. Or cling to a hope that guarantees success if you do it God's way!
It may help in your decision-making to remember this quote: Doubt kills more dreams than failure! Putting it in a different light, a fellow women's ministry leader and dear sister reminded us this week at the Grace Place, that life is too short to live with regrets!
Christians must embrace the teachings of one of the most powerful verses in the bible to fulfill the GOD-POTENTIAL in your life:
"IF you have the 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 17:20)
UNTIL NEXT TIME...
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