Commentary

Great Faith

“… Jesus Stretched out His hand and took hold of him and said to him “oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31

vs.

“…Then Jesus answered and said to her “oh woman your faith is great. Be it done for you as you wish.” Matthew 15:28

Two things that can be observed of faith between these two passages are, first, that faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed. If you trust a taco to satisfy your craving for a taco then your faith is well placed. If you trust a taco to fly you to Mexico City then your faith is poorly placed because tacos don’t fly people places, planes do. When Peter stepped out of the boat onto the Sea of Galilee he didn’t sink, not because he had a secret super power called faith, but because the Person he had placed his faith in was able to keep him upon the waves.

Peter’s walking on the water was not a demonstration of “great faith” it was a demonstration of the greatness of the object of Peter’s faith; namely Jesus; even in that even Jesus rebuked Peter for his lack of faith. Indeed Jesus frequently admonished his disciples for their having “little faith” but He marveled at the faith of the gentile woman. Why? Because the disciples were constantly doubting Him and worrying about the things of this world (Matthew 6:25-34 & Colossians 3:1-5). The gentile woman persistently believed and it had so altered her perspective that it compelled her to action. Jesus testing of her faith showed everyone that, unlike the disciples, whose faith was as stable as the shifting sand beneath the churning surf, her faith was able to be tested, it was solid as a rock and this allowed Christ to operate more freely in her life.

Simply stated Great faith is not defined in an isolated moment of intense or dramatic trust. It is defined in a consistent, diligent, abiding conviction of trust in some one or something that is true and worthy of faith. It so permeates our perspective that it determines how we actively live our lives every day. When you face daily struggles how do you respond? With faith or with fear? Do you worship or do you worry? Is prayer your first or your last resort?

Surely this is an area in which we all have some growing to do. The best place to start that I know of is with communicating with the Lord (which requires both talking and listening). Prayer is a discipline and, that being the case, practice is the key to maturity (see Matt 6:5-15 to see how Jesus taught us to pray). It has been said that “prayer is the life of the believer reduced to its barest essential*” and it is the best way to start fresh with Him.

Secondly great refreshment comes from reflecting on who God is and what God has done in history, in the lives of others and in our own personal lives and what He has promised He WILL do in the future and for eternity. We do this mainly by spending time reading and studying His word, investing in good fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ but also in things like getting into ministry (like sharing the gospel or edifying the brethren) and even journaling. Many good Christian saints have embarked upon long and miserable journey’s into the wilderness (and some never return) by wandering away from these essentials. All and all it is, I think, encouraging to know that, be it great or small, if your faith is in Christ Jesus, it IS well placed.

*”The Prayer of Jesus”
By Hank Hanegraaff.

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