What is your favorite New Testament story about faith? Mine is the story of the centurion, as found in two of the referenced scriptures (Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10). This story resonates with me simply because the centurion was able to amaze and astonish Jesus, and that amazes me!
Does My Faith Amaze Jesus?
The centurion was so certain of Jesus’ ability to heal his sick servant that he asked Jesus to just “…say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:7). He did not ask Jesus for a miraculous sign; he did not beg Jesus to come to his home, to touch the servant, or to pray over the servant. It completely surprised Jesus that this man, a non-Jewish commander in the Roman military, had such strong faith that he only asked Jesus to “…say the word…”. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matthew 8:10). In these stories, the words “astonished” and “amazed” are used to describe Jesus’ reaction to the centurion’s faith. Is Jesus astonished and amazed at my faith?
If I answer that question honestly, the answer would be: Some days, maybe; other days, no. Do I want Jesus to be astonished and amazed at my faith? Of course! So what is stopping me?
“If You Have Faith…”
Is it simply a matter of asking God for more faith, like the disciples asked in Luke 17:5-6? Do we just need to ask, as Jesus said in John 16:24: “Until now, you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
Or maybe it is a little deeper than that. My pastor has been preaching on faith the past few weeks. As we’ve read the stories in the referenced scriptures, he made this point:The issue is not primarily the level of our faith, for God can work with the faith we have. It is more a matter of combining our faith with
A C T I O N
To support this, consider the following:
- Read Matthew 21:21 again, where Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” Note the emphasis on what you can “do” and “say”.
- In Luke 17:5-6, Jesus said “…If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’, and it will obey you.” Note the emphasis on what you can “say”. Also, the fact that Jesus used the example of a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, to represent the level of faith. He did this deliberately. Why?
What is Jesus trying to tell us with all this? That the problem isn’t that we don’t have enough faith, but that we don’t combine the faith we do have (no matter how small an amount!) with “saying” and “doing” what the Spirit is prompting us to do?!?!? Is the problem not a lack of faith, not the amount of faith we have, but rather our lack of applying and living our faith by stepping out and acting on it, like the centurion did?
Call to Action
This week, make it your goal to demonstrate your faith in a way that amazes God! Pray to God and ask Him what He wants you to “say” and “do” to apply and live out your faith this week. It may or may not be as big a gesture as the centurion’s, but whatever it is God calls you to do, step out and take action. By exercising your faith, you will strengthen and increase it. The important thing is not how big or small the step is, but that you take it in obedience.