Faith That Makes a Difference

Faith That Makes a Difference

Wouldn’t it be great to have it said of us at the end of our lives that we pleased God and even impressed him with how we lived? When we read the gospels one of the things that stands out is how often Jesus praised people for having faith in him. Whenever someone believed he could heal, forgive, or restore he made sure to applaud their faith and point it out for his disciples. Jesus never praised any one for their intelligence, giftedness, or earthly achievements, but he consistently acknowledged when someone had bold faith. The noteworthy thing about Jesus praising individuals’ faith in the gospels is that they were often not the people you would expect to have exemplary faith and yet they did. This tells us that what matters most to Jesus is our confidence in him not our creativity, charm, or charisma.

When a Roman centurion believed Jesus could heal his servant at a distance, Jesus marveled and said he had not found faith of that quality even in Israel (Matt. 8:8-10). A woman who suffered with a bleeding issue came and touched Jesus’ garment for healing and he said her faith made her well (Matt. 9:20-22). Once a Canaanite woman begged for Jesus to heal her daughter even though she was a gentile and Jesus described her faith as great and granted her request (Matt.15:21-28). Jesus told a panicked father, “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mk. 9:23). He also promised his disciples if they had faith like a mustard seed they could move mountains, and nothing would be impossible for them (Matt. 17:20). Jesus emphasized faith throughout his earthly ministry and when he saw it he marveled, praised it, and told others that they should strive to possess the same.

Christian, how is your faith? After all we’ve experienced with the Lord, do we trust him more now than ever before? Are we willing to step up and obey him because we believe he knows best? Do we realize the great difference our faith can make in our lives and in the lives of others (Mk. 2:3-5)? Faith is still the victory that overcomes the world (1 Jn. 5:4). In the New Testament faith is not simply mental acknowledgement of facts but a confident trust in God that leads to obeying whatever he says simply because he’s God. We cannot please God without faith, but with it we can make him proud (Heb. 11:5-6). If Jesus were walking the earth today would he marvel at our belief (Matt. 8:10) or at our unbelief (Mk. 6:6)? Would he be impressed with how confident we are in him, or would he be disappointed that after many decades of following him we are still suspicious of his goodness? Let us pray and ask like the apostles long ago, “Lord, increase our faith!” (Lk. 17:5).

-Hiram Kemp


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