Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Oops, There Goes Another Rubber Tree

Jesus said if we had any faith at all, we could send trees flying. Well, I just looked out my window, and guess what-- not one went whipping past! Does that tell us that faith is a rare commodity? It's not like everyone doesn't have a tree or two he or she would like to fling (I've got three in my backyard all by myself); so wait a minute, let me look again-- nope, nothing! We're not talking about a lot of faith here, Jesus said a mustard seed's worth is enough. Shhhh, I just heard something, let me look again... it was only wind and thunder, no uprooted trees setting sail. The car owner in me is glad, the child-like Jesus follower in me, kinda wishes it was dangerous out there. Hard hat territory!

I know, I'm being silly and a bit cheesy, but there are a lot of folk in the Christian realm that feel absolutely awful because they're not able to get a flowerbed weeded let alone the dead oak out back banished. I'd sure like to comfort them with the words of Christ, but how are we to get past the rebukes for that kind of thing. Jesus made it abundantly clear that he wants us to have faith that moves things, that births miracles.

How? Sista Cala pointed out in the prior post's comments that Jesus marvelled at the centurion's faith. Wow, that's a mighty fine affirmation! What was it about his faith that gained the approval of Christ? Let me suggest two reasons:
1) The centurion's faith was rooted in the authority of Jesus;
2) The centurion's faith was focused without doubt.

I want to expand upon those thoughts in future posts (and add a few more), but until then, let me ask you, how do you feel about where you're at in those two areas of faith? Leave a comment, let's talk.

8 comments:

  1. Yes!!! "faith that moves things, that births miracles". I think that we don't know what real faith is in this time. I have "faith", but it's faith that if measured comparatively to the faith of many other Christians of this time would be much the same as those measured. If measured alongside the faith of, say...Abraham, Isaac, the centurion, the woman with the issue of blood, etc ... it would be weak.
    I want to have faith that makes me KNOW that if I can only reach the hem of His garment I will be healed. Veronica’s faith was so strong that she knew, she said within herself, I will be healed if only... She knew she didn’t have to ask Him, she knew she didn’t even need to call His name, she just knew. And when she did touch the hem of His garment He knew, without seeing with physical eyes, without feeling with human flesh, that her faith was tremendous. That IS faith…

    Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.

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  2. I agree. I'm watching a lump on my nieces arm, waiting for that mountain to move. I'll gladly put a fleece out like Gideon did. I would gladly fast and pray just to see your tree fly past the window. I want to see SOMETHING. ....I wonder if mustard seeds were bigger back in bible times. Maybe the size of a volkswagon.

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  3. Rita, Flyaway, & Carla:
    Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate your comments.

    A thought...
    Faith cannot be increased by concentrating on increasing faith but only by concentrating on Christ. Our hearts must fill with conviction concerning him as our eyes fasten upon him. Jesus said to John's messagers, "blessed are they that are not offended by me,"
    in other words, who are clear about me without doubts. The woman with the issue, Peter on the water, the centurion were all focused clearly on Christ, understanding who or what he was. This is the center and foundation of faith, and only upon this can a "taller" faith be built.

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  4. Sista Cala:
    An interesting question. Could it be that our faith for another person, in not being reflexive, doesn't have the same opportunity in it for doubt or second-guessing? When dealing with another we see the need, when dealing with ourselves, we see not only our need, but our weaknesses and failures, the struggles that have passed through our hearts and minds. A lot of clutter, as it were. Maybe that's why the solution to our own ailments in James 5 is to get someone else (the elders) to pray for us, rather than to pray for ourselves.

    Let me know what you guys came up with.

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  5. I've often struggled with this issue. Namely in the area of speaking in tongues. I'd read Luke 11 where it says God will give the Holy Spirit to those that ask. I asked for 16 years!!! Up until about a month ago I was fruitless in this area. Pastor had prayed for me as well as many others yet I always came away without receiving. It was very discouraging.
    Then a guest speaker came. Pastor had encouraged us one week earlier to be seeking the gift of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues. Somehow I managed to push all of the numerous attempts I'd made before out of my way and with what I can only describe as angry determination I went forward when the call went out in the service. I received!! I suppose my mustard seed ranneth over that morning. Praise the Lord!!

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  6. Flyawaynet:
    People are people in every age. Many have viewed Gideon's experiment as a lack of faith. If he had faith he would have acted like Abraham did when God commanded him to go to Moriah with Isaac. But he didn't, hence the hemming and hawing experiment. It's hard to argue that he wasn't struggling. Stories like that are a comfort, because they tell us that people in our age, not unlike the people of that age, can still find our way to the miracle God intends for us. And Flyaway, I do believe God intends miracles for us.

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  7. I have to look at this on a personal level...
    There have been things going on around me recently that I've put too much of "myself" into I think. In other words I've NOT given them over. I have spent too much time worrying about a situation. It is clear that I have tried to take it on rather than give it to God. I put more faith in myself than in God??? So I began to question my faith???
    I lead a monthly Connect Group for readers in my church and last night as we discussed the books we're reading we came to the subject of faith. This discussion and our discussion last night have helped me so much.
    When I question my faith it's painful for me. Does that sound nuts???

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  8. Looking in the mirror, spiritually, is always a difficult exercise, yet we are called upon to do it. The only thing that would be truly scary about it was finding ourselves reprobates, but then if we were that, it wouldn't scare us and we wouldn't have bothered with the examination in the first place! Ultimately, this kind of examination always turns us back to Jesus. Remember, faith is directional-- we can't question our faith without following the trail back the direction to which it points, Christ. So the question always eventually resolves itself to, "Is Jesus bigger than this (whatever this we're facing)?" We may hardly ever be bigger than whatever it is, but if you turn a humble heart to consider this, Jesus always becomes larger. He's large enough to walk me through, he's large enough to take it on, he's more powerful than what we face. And so faith grows as we hang on to Jesus through trials. Struggle doesn't mean we're nuts it only means we're human.

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