Between Christmas and New Year's Day, I always take a day of prayer and personal reflection with the Lord. During that day, I seek the Lord for His desires for me in the New Year. This year, the phrase that He spoke to me was "bold faith."
The story told in Mark about the friends bringing the paralyzed man to Jesus for healing illustrates bold faith beautifully (Mark 2:1-12).
In case you're unfamiliar, some friends heard that Jesus was in town speaking in Capernaum. Rumors spoke of miraculous healings and happenings surrounding every event where Jesus was present. So the friends of a paralytic man crafted a plan. They would carry their friend on a stretcher and get him to Jesus. Only problem? The house where Jesus was speaking was packed with crowds, and they couldn't get through. But the friends were determined—they would not give up. What did they do? They climbed up on the roof, carrying the stretcher, and dug a hole through the roof. Then they lowered the paralytic man right in front of Jesus. Pretty amazing, right?
Can't you just imagine the crowd when they realized a hole had been cut in the roof and a man was coming through? I wonder if some in the crowd freaked out, wondering if it was a terrorist attack? Or if others thought some type of natural disaster was occurring? Jesus, on the other hand, was amazed and impressed at the bold faith of the four friends. I love that!
As I reflect on the four friends, I see a few principles that will help us embrace bold faith:
- The friends were persistent and passionate in bringing their friend to Jesus. Who are the friends you are persistently and passionately bringing to Jesus? Are there those who you are praying for regularly who need a touch from Jesus? Maybe you have friends who have been sick or struggling emotionally; maybe they are discouraged or defeated. Part of bold faith is carrying those who are hurting to the Lord in prayer. Not just praying a quick sentence, but really believing in your heart that God cares and wants to help. Are you persistent enough to keep praying by faith until you see God moving? Those prayers don't seek to manipulate God—they seek to cooperate with God in what He's already doing. There are several close to me whom I know need encouragement. I am persistently and passionately bringing those people before the Lord until I see God move on their behalf.
- The friends took a huge risk by digging through the roof. I've visited Capernaum; the houses were small, and most had dirt-type roofs. What if the whole roof had collapsed on the people? What if Jesus had become angry that they interrupted His message? What if they looked insane in front of their other friends? What if they failed and their whole elaborate plan was a bust? What then? In any adventure of bold faith, there will be risk. You can't always play it safe and truly follow Jesus because Jesus calls us to a life of bold adventure. When was the last time you took a risk? Maybe you've been hesitating about going on a mission trip or waiting for the perfect time to tell a friend about Jesus. Stop hesitating. Bold faith demands huge risk. If you fail, you fail. But your faith honors God.
- The friends believed Jesus had all power to heal their friend. What do you believe about Jesus and His power? Do you believe He truly can change a person's life? Do you believe He truly has enough power to change your relationships, your job situation, your financial situation or your health? Here's the thing: If Jesus is who He said He is, then He has all authority and power. If you're struggling to believe that, may I gently challenge you to ask the Holy Spirit to deepen your faith? Spend some time writing down what you know to be true about Jesus, and then go out today and live as though you really believe it.
Friend, what does it look like for you to live with bold faith in 2018? What needs to change in your life in order for you to begin living what you say you believe? I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell me one risk you've taken recently to exercise bold faith.
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