Matthew 8:8-10 (NIV) Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
Have you ever wondered if you missed God’s Plan? You thought that you knew what the Lord wanted you to do, but then somewhere along the way began to second guess your decision? I think that is exactly what happened to Peter after he stepped out of the boat and took a few short steps on the water. The Word of God tells us that Peter got down out of the boat walking on the water towards Jesus, but then he saw the wind and became afraid which made him sink. When our faith runs out and fear takes over, it is hard to stay the course.
On our trip to Orlando this weekend, the GPS guided us from home to the Magic Kingdom. The coordinates were set sitting in our driveway. Our last minute systems check confirmed that all luggage was in place, tickets in hand and destination ahead. But along the way as the scenery changed, doubt rose up that maybe the navigation system was wrong. Perhaps the satellite was messed up and so a few wrong turns were made. Luckily, the not-so-dumb device was able to recalibrate and show us a new direction in the midst of our faltering faith and we made it. We were a bit delayed. But on the way home, as we traveled in the light of day, we could see that actually it was right all along. I could stop here and I think most of us would get the message, but for those of you who are like me and need a little more reinforcement – let’s keep going.
I know the Voice of God. When He speaks to my heart in an audible voice, it is without question that it is my Father talking directly to me. He is clear in His Instruction. It always lines up with the Word of God. Over the test of time, I have lived long enough to see that it is all about God’s Timing, but that doesn’t make me a good waiter. I am impatient especially when what the Lord tells me is not what I see. This is the point in time when doubt tries to make its way into my mind to takeover my heart. These are times when I cannot rely on what I think or feel but rely solely on the Word of God for my life. We must learn to trust God at His Word. To do so means we must have confidence in the Authority and Power vested in it by virtue of nothing more than Who He is.
Numbers 23:19-20 (NIV) God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it.
The beginning of faith in God is our ability to believe in the infallibility of His Character. The Lord is absolutely trustworthy. We add nothing to His Absolute Perfection and can nothing from it. He is God. He is perfect. He is faithful always. Failure to see God’s Promises and Blessings in our life lays upon our shoulders not that God has lied or changed His Mind about everything. His Word also tells us in Jeremiah 29:11-13 that He has a plan for us that includes a future and hope that is discovered and afforded by the heart that seeks him with all that it is. You cannot experience the perfection of God without seeking Him wholeheartedly. It is the Word of God for our life. All of me for all of Him.
“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior…” were the opening words of Paul’s letter to Titus who was young. (Titus 1:1-3) The point of his letter to this young man who he called his true son in our common faith? To further their faith in God who does not lie and His Promises made from the beginning of time which is now for the appointed season. The premise of our life is the Word of God given to us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is our guidebook and reference for all things in this life. Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh to demonstrate God’s Love for all mankind. The Word is our Salvation. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and Life. No one can come to God but through the Word. The Word of God is essential in strong faith and the ability to stand in the wind, storms and fires of life.
Ephesians 1:18-23 (NIV) I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
The infallibility of God is not only His Trustworthiness and Faithfulness but to believe also in His Power and Authority. We must believe that God raised Jesus from the dead with resurrection power. Our Father can bring dead things to life. Do you believe this is true? Not only that but God gave Jesus “all rule and authority, power and dominion” over every name that is invoked from now into forever. God placed all things under His Feet and appointed His Son over everything for the church. Jesus is the Fullness of God by which we are made to be Children of God. Do you believe that Jesus Christ has absolute power? Well…
If I truly believe with absolute faith that God never lies or changes His Mind…I would trust Him completely. If I truly believed that Jesus Christ has all power and authority in heaven, earth and the universe, I would remain faithful in all things. I do not. I want to. Yet still I wrestle with rebellious flesh, captivating thoughts, fear, doubt, anxiety, stress and all the other emotions and feelings I can muster up. I am slowly learning…when I say slowly…like a snail’s pace because I am fifty years old and have been saved more than half my life. I still have to remind myself on a constant and daily basis that God does not lie or change His Mind and that Jesus has full authority and power in and over my life. “But just say the word, any my _______ will be _______. Lord, please help me believe with the same kind of faith that the centurion had if not more.
Matthew 14:28-31 (NLT) “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
John 21:7-8 (NIV) Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, if it’s you tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” This is the beginning of our faith and trust in the Lord. We ask Him and He affirms us. So we come, but something happens and as we begin to walk our faith runs out and we begin to sink. The Lord reaches down and picks us up again. Dusts us off (or dries us off), wipes our tears, and binds our wounds so we can try again. Grace is fathomless. It is the very thing that keeps us from falling too far. The intent of Peter’s heart in all his faults and failures was to have faith in Jesus Christ and be with Him forever. Even in the courtyard of denial, it was a fear response though faith was still stirring within him. When Jesus called to them from the beach after His Death, Burial and Resurrection, we see a different Peter. He knew it was the Lord. He didn’t ask for another invitation. He didn’t have to pray about it. He was confident. So confident, in fact, that he jumped in the water and swam to shore. How far did he swim? Well, it is estimated to be 100 yards or the length of football field not counting goals or four laps in a lap pool which is about 25 yards one way. He didn’t care. Peter was willing to do whatever it took to close the distance to get to His Lord and Savior. Peter now had faith in God’s Word. The Word spoken to him in the wind on the water the first time he stepped out of the boat through trial and error, success and failure, and now in absolute trust and confidence – he believed God at His Word.
Colossians 2:6-10 (NIV) So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
Did you notice that the man of the greatest faith was NOT a Pharisee, priest or disciple? It was the man who understood authority and power. The one who recognized Jesus as Lord. He knew that Jesus had to but say the word and his situation would change, a solution found and life restored. We do a lot of things to try to please the Lord every day. We serve in church. Do good things. Try to live apart from sin. Do. Do. Do. When all along, Jesus just wants us to believe. To trust Him completely at His Word. To believe without seeing, touching or feeling. Can I do that today? Can I take the Lord solely at His Word? Today, will I choose to believe His Word for my life or do things my way because I still have some doubts? Lord, help my disbelief. I want to be like the centurion and in all things believe “but, if you say the Word” it is finished.
Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV) And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Ch