Matthew 16:6-12 (KJV)

6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Jesus spent much time developing His disciples’ faith because He knew it would be essential for the tasks ahead of them.

For over three years, they attended a school of faith with Jesus as their instructor and the Scriptures as the textbook. Sometimes Christ used verbal instruction, but many of the lessons were taught through demonstrations. He healed the sick, cast out demons, fed thousands, and calmed the sea. Their training even included tests that revealed if they truly believed Jesus was the Messiah.

At times the disciples’ understanding was slow or faltering, but Christ never gave up on them.

He reproved them when they exhibited a lack of trust (Mark 4:40) but also commended signs of progress (Matt. 16:15-17). His objective was to firmly establish their faith so He could accomplish His work in and through them. After His ascension, He commanded His men to spread the gospel of salvation to the remotest parts of the earth. Without faith, they would have failed.

The Lord has the same goal for us—to increase our faith so we can do the work He’s planned for us.

If our faith is great, He will entrust us with challenges and achieve amazing things through us. But small faith limits God’s activity in a believer’s life. He uses us only to the degree that we trust Him.

Faith building is essential in a believer’s life, and God has two primary means of doing this. Scripture tells us what to believe about Him, and tests place us in difficult situations that stretch us to believe and rely on God instead of our own understanding.

Each time we believe Him, our faith grows.

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