2021_09_13 Insight Post- Kim Feld
This week's reading- Luke 17-18
Jesus begins Luke chapter 17 with hard teaching about the implications for causing someone to stumble in their faith or causing a roadblock to faith. He follows with some tough words about our call to forgive our brothers and sisters, meaning our fellow Christ-followers. The disciples respond with, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). They recognize that doing what Jesus is saying is going to be extremely difficult, and they are not sure their faith is strong enough to do it. But Jesus disagrees with them that they need more faith. He tells them that the size of their faith is not what’s in question. It’s about who they are placing their faith in and how big they think He is.
N. T. Wright (2004), in his book Luke for Everyone, says:
Faith is like a window through which you can see something. What matters is not whether the window is six inches or six feet high; what matters is the God your faith is looking out on. If it’s the creator God, the God active in Jesus and the Spirit, then the tiniest little peep-hole of a window will give you access to power like you’ve never dreamed of (p. 204).
This is power exercised through obedience to Christ. That all sounds well and good, but I think the problem is that many of us don’t really believe it.
I was reading an article this morning about being mentored by Jesus. You can find it here: https://bit.ly/3A3VWEJ The article’s premise is that although Christians would say they believe Jesus is a worthy role model, most feel that He sets an unattainable standard. I mean, He’s God, right?! But when we think that the way of life He instructs us to live is unachievable, we let ourselves off the hook, which can lead to becoming complacent about our sin. So, is there a difference between faith and belief?
Although faith and belief are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. We read in Mark chapter 9 about the father who brought his son to Jesus for healing. The father says, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus tells the man that “everything is possible to the one who believes,” to which the father replies, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” The father wasn’t sure that Jesus could help, and, in his honesty, he asked for help to believe.
Belief is defined as “a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). Faith is defined as “allegiance to duty or a person” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). I can believe that God exists, but still not have the sense of allegiance to Him that faith requires. However, I can’t have full allegiance or devotion to a God that I struggle to believe. So, the question becomes, do I really know who God is?
Here’s my point: our ability to truly live like a disciple of Jesus hinges entirely on who we believe He is. Jesus told us that if we’ve seen Him, we’ve seen the Father (see John 14). God, Jesus, Holy Spirit – three mind-blowingly in one, is our God and how much we know of Him impacts our ability to live a life of complete surrender and allegiance. The more we know Him through reading and studying His Word, prayer, and all the other spiritual disciplines, the greater our ability to be transformed as a disciple of Christ. How big is your God? Honestly ask yourself that question today and prayerfully work through your answer.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Belief. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/belief
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Faith. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith
Wright, N. T. (2004). Luke for Everyone. Westminster John Knox Press.