Luke 7:3-10 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But 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 at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
Amazing faith is faith that’s exercised.
Do you like to exercise? Or just the idea of exercise? A friend of mine told me the story of one of his students who signed up for a gym membership as one of her New Year’s resolutions. She even began wearing yoga pants and running shoes to class. But in a conversation three months later, she complained about how expensive the membership was and how frustrated she felt because she hadn’t lost any weight and still had problems running a mile. Shrugging, she said “I guess I’m going to have to actually start going.”
Many times we think of faith just as a practice of mental assent, measured in how certain you feel about the rightness of your beliefs. But biblical faith isn’t about feeling certain or just thinking about Jesus; it’s a willingness to trust Jesus’ character, to step out and commit to living out a relationship with him when it’s hard, when the world is against you, and even in the face of uncertainty. The only time in the gospels it is recorded that Jesus marveled at the faith he found in a person is the story of the Roman soldier. The centurion, oddly on great terms with the Jews, goes out of his way to send Jewish leaders to get Jesus to come and heal his favorite servant. When Jesus shows up, the guy further expresses his trust, humbling himself while lifting up Jesus. In turn, Jesus is amazed… but not surprised. Jesus has come not just for the religious but the irreligious, for the Gentile as well as Jew, for those on the edges, for those who recognize their need. This Gentile “gets it” more than the Jews who surround him, who had been reading God’s Word for years yet hesitated to exercise faith in Jesus. To the centurion, it was nothing to believe Jesus without actively trusting him with the most important things in life.
Faith is not about membership. It’s not about ideas or intentions or looking a certain way. Faith in Jesus is meant to be exercised, lived out, demonstrated through our actions and dependence, even if we, like the centurion, have only heard about Jesus. It’s through this exercise that we learn to trust Jesus with more and more. It’s through the exercise of faith on the road of Life that faith grows stronger and stronger. And it’s through exercising our faith that we grow into who we were created to be.
On Today's Road: Is your faith in Jesus a thought or an exercise? In what situation is God calling you to exercise your faith in Jesus just a bit more?