Mustard Seed Faith: What Does it Mean?

silhouette of man raising his hands during sunset

Matthew 17:20 is a favorite bible verse of many. The way that Jesus uses the symbol of this tiny seed is powerful. Mustard seed faith is not about big miracles or flashy evangelism – it’s about trusting God.

Mustard seeds have the potential to be so much more than what they appear to be. With the right fertile soil, water, sunshine they can grow into beautiful plants or huge trees.

In the same way, small faith might seem insignificant but with your heart set on God the right heart it can grow into a beautiful life devoted to God.

The context

A little context around this verse from Matthew 17. Jesus just came down from the mountain with Peter, James, and John where He transfigured before them.

These three disciples not only saw this transfiguration but also saw Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus. Additionally, they also heard a voice out of a cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”

Can you imagine?! They saw Him in a glorious state and heard God speak from Heaven. Peter, James, and John, were struck with such fear that they fell face down to the ground. It took Jesus Christ to touch them to snap out of their fearful state of mind along with His reassuring voice saying, ‘Get up, and do not be afraid.’

Mustard Seed Faith in Action

After the transfiguration they came upon a crowd. A man approached Jesus pleading to Him to have mercy on his son. *

Imagine that father – Feeling and seeing the pain of his suffering young boy. Under those circumstances, a parent would do anything to help their child.

The father told Jesus that the disciples couldn’t cure his son. Jesus’ response could seem a little harsh, “You unbelieving and corrupt generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.’

The boy was brought to Jesus and was healed. The father’s faith that was as small as a mustard seed healed them. How incredible it must have been for them to experience this miraculous power of how great God is!

What does the parable of the mustard seed teach us?

Later the disciples asked Jesus why they could not heal that boy. Jesus answered with a simple statement, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith;’

How often do we find ourselves in the same place as the disciples? Lacking faith. We see God work in amazing ways for others but when it comes time for us to step out we are afraid. We forget that true faith that we could say to this mountain “move from here to there” and it would!

Little faith can often feel very small in life today but sometimes it’s all we can muster. God knows that and it’s okay.

The Good News :

Jesus tells us that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed – then we can move mountains! “…for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

I love that bonus bit of wisdom at the end – ‘…and nothing will be impossible to you.’

How often do we disqualify ourselves by thinking that something is too hard for us to do? We need to remind ourselves that with God, nothing is impossible.

So the next time you’re feeling like your faith is small or you’re doubting that God can really do something big, remember this passage from Matthew 17:20 and mustard seeds. Everyone doubts and needs reminders!

God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

When we have a small amount of faith

How often are we challenged with this very thing? Challenged with believing that God can do the impossible in our life.

It is easy to get wrapped up in what we see and forget the power of faith. But this passage of scripture reminds us that even if our faith seems small, it can still have a big impact.

A mustard seed is one of the tiniest seeds, but it grows into a very large plant. In the same way, faith as small as that seed can grow and have an incredible impact on the world. 

So what does this mean for us practically?

Well, it means that we can have confidence in God’s power working through us. It means that we don’t have to be perfect, we just need to have faith. And it means that when we take those baby steps of faith – even if they seem small and insignificant – God can use them for His Glory!

This verse has become a reminder for me to have simple faith. Often we think that we need BIG faith – when really, the faith we have is strong. Even if it is as small as a mustard seed.

We are called to hope and trust God with the outcome. Not to overthink things or try to control the things hoped for, but rather to take a step of faith and trust that God will work everything out for the good of those who love Him.

Simple as that.

A physical reminder:

I wear my mustard seed necklace as a reminder of this simple faith It’s a great conversation starter too about Matthew 17:20! When people ask about it, I get to share this amazing story and how God is moving mountains in my life.

If you are facing difficulties in your life and your faith feels small, remember that even the tiniest bit of faith can make a difference.

God can take your little mustard seed faith and use it for His glory!

A Powerful Prayer

Prayer is powerful because the nature of it is one way that we can have a conversation with Jesus. Here is a mustard seed prayer:

Heavenly Father,

       Thank You Lord, You are a God who equips the ones you have called. Thank You that You do not ask us to be perfect, but rather to have faith. Help us to take steps of faith today, even if they seem as small as a tiny mustard seed. We know that with You, nothing will be impossible! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We don’t have to be perfect, we just need to have a little faith and hope for the great things God has in store for us. With God, nothing will be impossible!

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