"Increase Our Faith!" (When I want to say no)
Have you ever wanted so desperately to say no to something which you just know God requires of you?
I’m certain it’s not just me who has often felt every ounce of my flesh rise up and decide that no matter what God says, I don’t want to do that.
What’s your ‘that’?
For the apostles, it was forgiveness.
“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent’, you must forgive him.” (Luke 17:3-4)
In some ways, this might have been a bitter pill to swallow. Here are these faithful followers of Jesus perhaps thinking that their standing with Him might afford them some form of status within society, some sort of ‘right’ to say ‘do you know who I am?’
No. Compassionate, gracious, ever-loving Jesus suggests forgiveness every time. Not once, not twice, but as many times as there is repentance, there should be forgiveness.
That must have stung a little. Can you relate?
Can you remember going to God with some form of annoyance or ‘righteous anger’, feeling or thinking that you absolutely only want to respond one way and one way only to this particular circumstance, only to find that God suggests something entirely different. Something which flies in the face of your flesh.
I can imagine wanting to pout and sulk and that I would feel absolutely justified in doing so. But there’s that still, small voice which rises up alongside that bad attitude isn’t there? That voice which reminds you that you’re not your own and that you were bought with a price.
There’s that reminder of the cross and the price Jesus paid. All of sudden your pity party starts to feel more and more difficult to attend, doesn’t it?
We can all learn a thing or two from the Apostles response here…
“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5)
They didn’t sulk, argue or ask questions. They asked for more faith. What an example for us to follow!
Challenging situations absolutely do arise. People will annoy us, circumstances will upset us and certain things will be beyond our control. However, instead of responding in accordance with the flesh, let’s make it our aim to go to our gracious, Heavenly Father first.
In His presence we can be reminded once again that nothing is too hard for Him, we can be reminded that in our weakness His power is made perfect and we can be reminded that He goes before us.
I’m not saying that’s not difficult and I’m absolutely speaking to myself here when I say, “Lord, increase our faith!”
Before saying no, count to ten and pray. His grace is sufficient.