Faith Learns Trust and Reliance
After seeing God's glory, the disciples had to learn trust and reliance. Jesus brought the disciples from their incredible emotional mountain top experience directly into the valley of daily life where they were met with opposition and failure. The valley was filled with unbelief, Jesus' coming suffering, and taxes. The disciples put into practice what they saw and learned, and quickly hit a wall of opposition. They saw that taking both what they had learned and their experiences, then applying all of it took more than merely an attitude of, "just do it." Jesus had already given the disciples the power to exorcise demons; they were perplexed that, for some reason, they were unable to follow though (Matthew, chapter 10).
· The disciples sought to do an exorcism under their own power, neglecting God's power as well as prayer. After trying to do the work of God without prayer or trust, they had to learn how to take their knowledge and make it real and impacting in their life.
· We can never just stay in the glory of great experiences and insights, of worship and growth. There has to be a time when we take what we have learned and apply it. When the reality of Christ's power and purpose hits us, we must also realize that others will not have the same beliefs and experiences. We will face the daily trivialities of life that seem to take a toll on us. We will face people who will reject us. We will try to put into practice what we have learned and we may fail. We can become frustrated and give up unless we focus, learn, and do not give up. We can best get though by our prayer life, and by our trust and reliance on His work!
· Do not let your lack of willingness to grow in the faith rob you of His plan for you. We can enjoy the mountain top, but we also have to get busy in the valley where we live. When we do succeed, we need to be sure it is His success that is motivating us.
· Enjoying success and blessings is not a result of faith or what faith is about. Faith helps our relationship with God by bringing us closer to Him so He can use us more. Our experiences and ideas tend to get in the way, so God sometimes has to knock us off our stool of pride so we will look to Him (Job. 13:15; 2 Cor. 5:7).
· The disciples had confidence, and seemed to be surprised that their exorcism did not work. They could have also taken for granted their position and not exercised trust. Confidence cannot precede faith; confidence must come from faith and one's growth in Him. Confidence without faith is pride-a heinous sin!
· Submissiveness to God shows faith more than any deed (Mark 9:29).
· We have to be on guard that we do not overlook how God is working. We can be so busy serving and trying to please Him that we do not bother ourselves to know Him through prayer. Nothing God calls us to do is impossible when we are focused on Him with our faith, trust, obedience, and mindsets.
· A person's personal prayer life is key to being used by God and to using God's power (Mark 9:29).
· We, as Christians, should always focus on His truth and not our rights.
1. If you could do literally anything with your faith, what would you do? What stops you? How have you learned trust and reliance?
2. What do you still need to learn?
3. What have been the realities of your daily life, such as, what things trouble and tempt you?
4. What do you do when you face unbelief and frustration? What can you do? What should you do?
5. Why is it outside of God's will and plan to have confidence without faith?
6. How is a person's personal prayer life the key to being used by God and using God's power? Can you give an example?
7. How would the Church and society benefit if Christians always focused on His truth and not our rights?
8. Has it hit you that with faith, nothing is impossible, that you can stretch beyond your own ideas and experiences? What would that mean to you? What would your life look like if you lived by this kind of faith? How has this happened to you? If not, what do you need to do to make this happen?
9. There has to be a time when we take what we have learned and apply it. Yet, most Christians, including most pastors, will never really apply their faith. Why is that?
10. What can your church do to motivate and encourage its people who moan and object to a stretch in their faith?
11. What can you do to avoid becoming frustrated and giving up with your faith when faced with the realities of daily life and/or failure?
12. What are you going to do so you do not let your lack of willingness to grow in the faith rob you of His plan for you?
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
© 1992, 2001, completely updated and revised 2004 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word http://www.intothyword.org/