March 22, 2010
"Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.'"
Matthew 15:28 (NIV)
I used to covet others' faith. I'd watch the spiritual "giants" in my church and community and wonder why they were given a greater faith than me. It didn't seem fair. Even worse were people with great faith who never seemed to have any type of adversity. Do you know the kind of people I'm describing?
One day, I decided to get to know a person with obvious great faith. I think it was one of the best things I've done to increase my own faith. The first thing I learned was people with great faith got it from their abundance of trials, not from their lack of trials. Trusting God in one trouble gave them courage to trust Him in another. Before they knew it, they had developed great faith in God. Great faith didn't happen overnight; it was a process.
Through the course of trusting God, we discover several things about great faith. First, it leads to great undertakings. Take the Gentile woman with a demon-possessed daughter found in Matthew 15 - pause to read her story if you can. She cried out for Jesus to heal her daughter, but she received no response.
This action on Christ's part can seem confusing. Therefore, it is important to know that this woman was not only a Gentile, but was of Canaanite descent. The Canaanites were an immoral people God had commanded Israel to completely destroy during their invasion of Canaan under the command of Joshua. Israel did not fully obey God's order and some Canaanites survived the invasion. This woman was their descendant. Nonetheless, this didn't stop her from appealing to Jesus for mercy and help.
Annoyed by her attempts, the disciples urged Jesus to send her away. She was a nuisance to them, but to Jesus the woman was an example of great faith. She was determined to do whatever was necessary to get what she needed.
Great faith also brings about great expectations. If you're like me, you often don't expect great results from your labors and prayers. This is because we lack faith. This was not true of the Gentile woman. She expected the Savior to heal her daughter.
That's not all. Great faith awakens great earnestness. This woman didn't play by the rules so to speak. She didn't care what others thought about her actions. Crying, she fell at the feet of Jesus and worshiped Him. I've seen this kind of earnestness in others with great faith as well. They pray with persistence until God moves.
Great faith conquers great difficulties. The woman kept on pursuing Jesus even though He reminded her of her position as a Gentile, not a Jew. Christ responded to her begging, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs" (vs.26). In other words, why should He give her, a Gentile, what He had come to give the Jews?
Her answer to that was to agree with Him, "Yes, Lord." And then throw herself on His mercy again by adding, "…even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table" (vs. 27). She understood that even one morsel of God's power was more than enough to heal her daughter. Pleased with her faith, Jesus commended her.
Finally, great faith achieves great victories. Jesus rewarded the woman's faith by healing her daughter. Our difficulties can be overcome by expressing great faith in Christ's mercy and love, which provide for our needs.
Great faith isn't given to some and not to others. It is a choice we make to trust and pursue God even when at first there appears to be no response.
Dear Lord, my circumstances call for great faith. Today, I'm ready to undertake whatever I need to do in this situation. I expect You to hear and respond to all my concerns. With earnestness, I promise to seek Your will in this area so that I may be more than a conquer. Victory is already mine because I trust in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears by Micca Campbell
Birds in My Mustard Tree: How to Grow Your Faith by Susanne Scheppmann
Visit Micca's blog
Do not give up. Find a mentor with great faith and become their student.
Practice great faith by expecting God to hear and meet your needs.
Do you ask God to provide for a need and then try to take care of it yourself? If so, why?
Do you think following the example of the Gentile woman will increase your faith?
Mark 9:23b, "Everything is possible for him who believes." (NIV)
Psalm 130:5, "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, in his word I put my hope." (NIV)
© 2010 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 22 March 2010.