Thinking About Faith...
I love the Bible so much. One of the most interesting things to note in modern life is that everyone in the West seems to think they know what the Bible says when they have never once opened it or read it. People dismiss it as antiquated and irrelevant - even crazy and strange - but they have never cracked it open for themselves. It is actually full of truth and hope and also some incredible historical accounts. Let’s look at a truly thrilling story in the Bible, found in the book of Matthew chapter 17, verses 14-20. This is a glimpse into a day in the life of Jesus...
When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.
Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
I picked this account in scripture with a few purposes in mind, and I hope that it challenges your thinking right away. Did you catch that this boy keeps trying to kill himself by throwing himself into the fire or by trying to drown himself? We don’t really know how old the boy is, maybe a young child or maybe a teenager, but this poor father is at the end of his rope in trying to help the young man. Is this story really from 2000 years ago? It sounds a lot like it could be a headline today! Some things never change. Teenage boys have always been messing around with things that are literally trying to kill them, and it often goes way too far and succeeds in taking their life. Did you also catch that Jesus does not wonder what could be the problem, or worry about whether or not they would be able to help this kid? Jesus knows what is wrong - the boy has literally invited a demon into his life and now the demon is trying to kill him. Yes, a demon - yes, evil is real. Jesus rebuked the demon, and the boy was free - just like that.
I love the next part. His disciples (close followers) come up to Him after the crowd scatters. Can’t you see it in your mind’s eye? They get up really close to Him and whisper, “Hey Jesus - why couldn’t we get rid of that thing? Why couldn’t we help that boy and his father?” I am sure they had been feeling like big shots before this. Jesus is really cool and does amazing things, and they were His friends - they were his entourage! I think this has great application to so many of us today. We are Christians, and we really do love Jesus and hang out with Him a lot, but we manage to have very little impact on the actual hurting and suffering people around us. Jesus, why can’t we help?
I heard a story once about two friends climbing a mountain. They were both very fit and had all of the best gear, and the day was glorious. Clear skies, cool mountain air, sun shining - the perfect day to climb. Then, disaster struck and some boulders fell all around them. The climbers found themselves on a ledge that they could not climb back off - they were going to have to jump quite a ways down to get to safety. There were two ways to go, to the right or to the left. The first climber was absolutely sure that the jump to the left would put her on a safe rock that will hold her. She knew it with every fiber of her being - she was thrilled with the rightness and hope of the direction she had chosen. The second climber was not at all sure which rock to jump to. She thought it might be the rock to the right, and was very nervous about the whole thing. They both jumped. The first girl jumped to the rock she was so sure of, the rock slipped, and she fell to her death. The second girl jumped to the rock she had doubts about, the rock held firmly, and she lived triumphantly.
Why can’t we help people, Jesus? He tells us, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
What is this faith Jesus is talking about?
Faith has nothing to do with how hard you try or how enthusiastically you express it. Faith, by definition, is putting your confidence or trust in a person or a thing.
And that is the point - we had better put our faith and confidence in the right person or thing. Faith in its essence is simply putting your hope and trust in the right rock - Jesus Christ Himself.
When you put your faith in something that is real and true and sure, it will always hold you and never shake or fall, no matter how sure or unsure you personally feel. Everything else will certainly fall, no matter how strongly we believe in it. All of the other things we put faith in fail, every time.
Don’t base your life on your feelings, or on chasing money or a high or pleasure. Don’t put your faith in another person - not even your spouse or your parent, because none of these people and things were made to hold you. Don’t even put your faith in your faith - you can’t hold yourself up. I want to encourage you today - put your faith in Jesus. He is the truth and reality in the universe. He is the one that can really help people, and will help us to do so also. He has always been and will always be, He will never fail or fall, and is a sure foundation for you and your life.
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Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
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