Monday, August 5, 2013

Where Faith is Tested and Perfected

by Gregory A. Johnson

Where Faith is Tested and Perfected, by Gregory A. Johnson
It is easy to obey the Lord when we see results, but that is not where our faith is tested and perfected. Our faith is tested when our prayers go unanswered, and we do not see the expected results. Our faith is perfected when we do not give up, and we continue to obey without seeing.

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, passing along between Samaria and Galilee. “And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed” (Luke 17:12-14 ESV).

Please allow me to point out that:
  • The ten lepers cried out to Jesus for mercy in their time of need.
  • The need and the cry for help got the attention of Jesus.
  • Jesus gave the ten lepers something to do but did not immediately give them what they were asking.
  • The ten lepers obeyed Jesus before seeing any results.
  • The ten lepers were cleansed as they obeyed Jesus.
There are blessings associated with obedience. As we obey the Lord, he will bless us in many ways. Many today will not follow Jesus until he does for them what they want. Like the ten lepers, they call Jesus “Lord” or “Master,” but they want him to “do for them” rather than they submit to him as Lord. If Jesus does not perform for them, they grow discouraged, disgruntled, and oftentimes angry. Counseling numerous ones that have been in such a state, it is oftentimes hard to get them past their misconceptions of Jesus. Some walk away from him with their faith shattered because they will not permit Jesus to perfect it through obedience.

If Jesus is our Lord, we will obey him, whether or not we see the answers to our prayers before, during, or after our obedience. We are to do what he says, trusting that he will give us his mercy and grace in ways that most bless us for an eternity with him. As we do, our faith will grow as Jesus brings it to perfection.

Christ’s followers do not live by what they see. Christ’s followers simply obey him, allowing him to perfect their faith on this exciting journey from earth to glory. The writer of Hebrews encourages us to be “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV).

Beloved, may the Spirit lead you to obey Jesus whether or not you see the answers that you want for the wishes of your heart and your prayer requests. Serve him with expectation, knowing that he is doing a wonderful work in you that will be manifested through your obedience.

Know that you are loved,