Thursday, October 30, 2008

Matthew 21:18-22 "Faith Without Doubt"

Read Matthew 21:18-22.

"If you have faith and do not doubt...." NIV
Jesus' authority is making itself more evident in the narrative. Before this point, He has shown his authority mostly through healing and through His preaching. He has been very vocal with the Sadusees and Pharisees. But after the temple event where He physically throws out the hypocrites, Jesus displays a power He has not shown before this. Is it because the time is short and He feels the pressure of making His point quicker? Somehow, He must make the people see the truth.

Then of course in this particular passage, we see two messages. First, that anything that isn't bearing fruit is cursed. A tree with leaves should have fruit. The leaves could represent the appearances of a Christian walk. But without the evidence of fruit, the tree is useless. In the same way a Christian is useless without producing fruit. There is no depth to their belief and thus no lasting, productive service to the Master. He desires our heart more than our sacrifice. But a heart surrendered to Him will yearn to serve. And one serving Him and others will produce fruit.

Secondly, Jesus points out the power we have in Him if we have faith AND do not doubt. We can say we trust someone, and we may have some level of trust. But complete trust comes without doubt. It's like rappelling. I can say that I trust that the harness and the rope and the belayer are all going to do their job. Afterall, I've watched several people go down the mountain before me, and nothing has happened. However, there is probably a small part of my brain that is still unsure if I'm not going to be the exception. Jesus is saying that inkling of doubt is what stops us from being able to tap into the complete power He provides. If God is leading us to do something, we must throw ourselves into it with complete abandon for it to happen. The results are not based on God's ability to do it, but on our ability to trust Him. That's His priority - not the result, but the process. He wants us to grow in our faith in Him to the consistent point of complete abandon. If God says it will be, and we believe completely, it will be.

Let go and fly -- the harness is secure.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Moses began with a tremendous amount of doubt. List what His doubts were. Then list the amazing steps of faith that Moses took so God's power was displayed.
  2. What does it mean to pray according to His will? How do we know what God's will is in a given situation? Support with Scripture.
  3. What is it that God wants you to do in complete trust of Him? Do it!

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