The disciples had tried and failed, to cast a demon out of a young man. After Jesus was able to do it, the disciples asked Him privately why they were unable to.
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Matthew 17:20-21, NKJV
The disciples’ problem was unbelief. Jesus explains to them that faith as small as a mustard seed, working all by itself, can move a mountain. Nothing would be impossible for us if faith was the only issue.
If it were only about faith, then America should have the most miracles of any country on earth. We know that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. In America, we have access to more of the Word than in any other country.
The problem is that we have unbelief alongside that faith. The U.S. is also one of the most flesh-driven countries on earth.
Just driving down the street I can see a billboard that feeds my flesh. Standing in a checkout counter, listening to the news on the radio, almost everything I do causes me to access food for my flesh. Even though I try to filter it by “taking every thought captive,” some of this trash still gets through.
So the stronger my spirit is built up by the Word of God, the more my flesh is built up just by living in this society. It’s the presence of these two powerful forces in my life – faith and unbelief – side-by-side, that’s watering down my spiritual strength. What can I do about it?
The key is the statement made by the boy’s father.
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
We have plenty of faith, but how do we overcome our unbelief? There is a solution. Jesus tells the disciples, “This kind only goes out by prayer and fasting.”
The question is; this kind of what? Most people say He was talking about the demon. I don’t believe it. A demon couldn’t care less whether you’ve fasted or not. Look at the emphasis of the verse. It’s the disciples who were talking about the demon.
Jesus never once mentioned the demon. He spent the whole time talking about the problem – unbelief. What Jesus wants you to get rid of is unbelief. It’s this kind of unbelief that blocks the working of your faith to the point where nothing happens, even though you believe the Word of God.
Where does fasting come into the picture? Fasting is a way to forcefully and supernaturally win a major victory against your flesh. You’re telling it, “I don’t care what you say – I’m not listening to you today.”
When you fast, it’s as if you’re turning down the volume control to the voice of your flesh. This allows the faith that you have to effectively become stronger. Without the voice of your flesh talking so loud, you will be better able to hear the voice of the Lord speaking to your spirit.
This is why I often tell believers that if they want to see a great change in their lives, they need to fast regularly and consistently.
Question: How well do you hear from God presently? Would you like to increase your spiritual sensitivity?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi