Faith’s Simplicity

One great mission, regretting the dearth of workers, recently printed this remark in their bulletin:

“Many interested persons have declined the opportunity to work with us because they are unable to raise the funds needed to support their family while they are in full-time ministry.”

The sentiment and the statement are typical of most missions.

The NTMU does not require a guaranteed income for new workers, which makes us one of the few exceptions. It may also have earned us epithets like ‘anachronistic’, ‘stuck-in-the-mud’ and the like. However, if we want to do a “New Testament work” and be a “faith mission”, we can hardly expect the servants of the King-of-kings to go around with a virtual begging bowl.

The following article, though written well before our time, is spot on. Allow it to bless you!


By Alex. R. Hay

This article was originally published in the February 1933 issue of  Field News.

“If I can!” replied Jesus: “Why, everything is possible to him who believes.”  Mark 9:23.

“That is why I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, if you believe that you have received it, it shall be yours.” Mark 11: 24.

“Nor did he stagger at God’s promise in unbelief, but became mighty in faith, giving glory to God, and being absolutely certain that whatever He has promised He can also carry out.”  Romans 4: 20-21.  (Weymouth’s Translation)


George Müller, being called of God to care for orphan children in Bristol, England, and having no resources of his own with which to do it, trusted God to supply all his material needs. He believed that the responsibility for the provision of the needs of the work was not his but God’s. This belief he based on God’s Word. In the Word he was assured that all his need would be supplied and he was instructed to “be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” to make his needs known to God.

He therefore did not make his needs known to men but simply laid them before God in prayer, believing that God would keep his Word. The way in which he should act in the matter was clearly indicated in Scripture. To have done differ­ently would have been to follow his own understanding and to take upon himself burdens which he was not called upon to bear.

It is said that George Müller had great faith and that it was the greatness of the faith which he exercised that accomplished the marvelous work that has since been such a testimony to the glory of God. It is true that his faith was great; but in what respect was it great? Was it great in quantity or was it not great merely in its simplicity?

Often our idea of what faith is needs clarifying. In spiritual things we are so apt to allow our vision to be clouded by difficulties and complications that are the result of our own imaginings. In the matter of faith it seems hard for us to have a look that is entirely God-ward. It is hard for the flesh to accept the fact that it has no part in the matter; that faith is not doing, but ceasing to do and simply believing that God will do what He says He will do.

Faith, moreover, is not a commodity that we can have in store, and add to until we have much of it, and employ to accomplish great things. It would be wrong also to believe that faith gives power in proportion to the amount we may possess. If such were the case, it surely would be agreeable to our own pride of heart.

The power is not of us at all; nor is it wielded by us. The power is entirely of God. It is He who works. Our part is only to believe He will do it.

In George Müller we find a man who, in the first place, was obedient to God’s call. God called him to a definite work. In such a case the part which God undertook to do was definitely stated in Scripture. Müller’s faith consisted simply in obedience and in believing God would do his part.

Faith can be exercised only in accordance with God’s will as revealed by the Holy Spirit. We must know to what God has called. All are not called to found an orphanage, but all are called to a definite service for God, no matter how humble it may appear to be. It is for each one to permit the Holy Spirit to reveal what that service is. When that has been ascertained, we find out from Scripture what God has undertaken to do in such a case. Then we go forward, simply believing that God will do just what He says and all that He says.

Why is it that, so often, instead of believing that God will do his part and leaving him to do it, we set about trying to do his work in our own way and in our own strength? Is it not because we are so prone to lean on our own understanding? Our reason tells us that the simple way of faith is not practical; that it is not business-like; that it cannot be done. We will insist that it is not because we do not believe God can do it, but we advance what we consider conclusive reasons why we should not expect him to do it in just the simple way given in the Word. We say that conditions have changed; that the world is different today and that the simple way of faith is not possible under the conditions of our highly organized religious systems and advanced civilization.

When we have said all and given all the reasons and excuses that we can think of, what is it that we mean? Just this: we do not believe. God has said He will do certain things. Though we may say we believe him, we really do not and we justify our unbelief.

Hudson Taylor, going to the root of the matter, speaks of the method Satan has used since the beginning of the human race to rob us of the simplicity of our faith: “Has God said? Are you not mistaken as to his commands? He could not really mean so. You take an extreme view – give too literal a mean­ing to the words! Ah! How constantly, and alas, how successfully, are such arguments used to prevent whole-hearted trust in God and whole-hearted consecration to God.”

The truth is that the thing that is hard in faith and robs it of its simplicity is not the obtaining of the promised results, but the getting of victory over the unwillingness of the heart and mind to believe God and the temptation to modify his statements and make them conform to our fleshly desires and to the material principles of our human reasoning.

Faith means believing just what God says. Faith means refusing to listen to our own wisdom and human reason­ing; refusing to consider the circumstances and practicability and difficulties and impossibilities of the case. To have faith we must step up on to the spiritual plane above human reason­ing and material circumstances, and, no matter what reasons there may or may not be to contradict God and make his Word of no effect, we must in utter simplicity take his Word as it stands and act upon it.

How much faith do we need? Our Lord said: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed … nothing shall be impossible to you.” That surely is very small. But if we know God’s will and have faith just sufficient to take our stand on God’s promise, that is enough because it enables him to do the rest.

This applies, not only to big things, but to the smallest detail of our Christian lives and the daily walk of faith. It is as potent in the obtaining of victory over sin as in our service for the Lord.

Faith is not a mysterious thing that is difficult to understand. It is fully and freely at the disposal of the youngest and humblest Christian. It is never easy for the flesh because it never glorifies the flesh. It deals with spiritual things and therefore is “foolishness” to the human understanding which knows only that which is material. But to those who believe, it is the power of God. Faith is simply believing all that God says and doing just what He says.