It seems, to me at least, that in so many evangelical churches, positive mental attitude has replaced biblical faith, so much so that many new or biblically illiterate Christians have total misconceptions as to the Christian life, mistaking triumphalism for faith and arrogance for assurance. This is dangerous, for a Christianity built on such a foundation is often feeble, unrealistic and brings nothing but condemnation. What is probably worst of all, it neglects the fact that Jesus wrestled with the will of God in the garden of Gethsemane [Matthew 26:36-45], Paul struggled with indwelling sin [Romans 7:14-25], Peter was publicly rebuked because of his religious/racial prejudice [Galatians 2:11-15] and John, on two separate occasions, tried to worship an angel [Revelation 19:10, 22:8-9].
My point is not to commend these things, for in fact, the opposite is true. It is to highlight these things so that the Christian might not be surprised at the constant battle within his/her own life, a battle that has been permitted by Christ to humble us [2 Corinthians 12:7-10] and cause us to rely upon Him and on one another. Nowhere can this be more consistently demonstrated than in this particular passage.
Here we see the inattentiveness of the disciples who are sleeping on the mountain of transfiguration [Luke 9:32], saying stupid things [Luke 9:33], unable to cast out a demon because of their lack of faith and prayer [Matthew 17:19-21, Mark 9:28-29, Luke 9:41] who refuse to ask Jesus when they clearly did not understand His teaching [Luke 9:44-45] and then argue over who going to replace Him when He died [Luke 9:46-48], something that also happens at the last supper Luke 22:22-24], not to mention the prejudice they show [Luke 9:49-50, 9:52-54]. My point is that even our so-called heroes in the faith were not perfect men and therefore we should not be surprised when these imperfections rear their ugly heads in us or in other people. They can and will be overcome. However, for this to become a reality, our faith must be based on Christ and His work and not on a positive impression of ourselves.
APPLICATION: This week I want to encourage you to accept who you are, failings and all, and understand the fact that this was exactly the reason why God chose you [1 Timothy 1:15-16]. Secondly, I want you to begin taking your faith and placing it on Him and upon His finished work and not upon yourselves. To understand this is to understand the grace of the Gospel, which is that He has chosen you, He will preserve you and He will sanctify you [Ephesians 1:4-5, 1:13b-14]. All you must do, by His grace, is believe it and allow it to be manifest in the way you think and live.
“When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Saviour died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.”
 Whilst “fasting” is a type of prayer and is added in some translations to Matthew 17:21 and Mark 9:39 it is not included within our best manuscripts of the New Testament and therefore should not be considered part of the original text. This is often picked up within the footnotes.
 “Before the Throne of God Above” by Charitie Bancroft