Faltering or Flourishing in Faith
Day: 14 | Plan: Luke
Today’s Reading: Luke 9:28-62
Luke 9:41a (NIV) “‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?’”
Have you ever wanted to serve God in a big way, to see His power in your life, but felt like a failure? Me too. But we aren’t the only ones. Even the disciples of Jesus felt like this at times.
Luke 9 begins with Jesus gathering His 12 disciples and giving them power and authority to drive out all demons, heal the sick, cure diseases and preach the kingdom of God. As they travel throughout Galilee, they live out their calling with great success.
Then they hit a bump in the road. The disciples encounter a boy with a demon so strong and intense it is destroying the child. But the disciples are powerless to help. How is this possible since Jesus has given them the power and authority to drive out all demons? (Luke 9:1)
Out of desperation and with determination, the boy’s father cries out to Jesus asking Him to do what the disciples cannot. The father affirms his belief in Jesus’ power to heal his son and humbly asks Jesus to help any area of unbelief left in his heart. (Mark 9:24) And sure enough, with just a word from Jesus, the boy is instantly healed.
Why can’t the disciples fulfill their calling in this situation? Why did they falter and fail? Jesus had granted them the power and authority to do it.
It’s interesting that once the disciples’ failure is exposed, Jesus utters this strong statement: “‘You unbelieving and perverse generation,’ Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here’” (Luke 9:41).
This statement reveals part of the answer. The disciples are unbelieving and perverse.
- Unbelieving means faithless or without trust.
- Perverse means to twist or turn aside from the right path.
When the disciples asked Jesus privately why they were unable to drive the demon out, He revealed their failure was due to a lack of prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:28-29; Matthew 19:17-21)
Prayer and fasting do not make us more worthy. Only Christ makes us worthy. We have already been given every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3-10) But prayer and fasting cause us to turn our attention back to Jesus and lean in closer and harder to Him. It's through prayer that we acknowledge our dependence on Him, invite the fullness of His grace into our situation and flourish in our faith. He longs to give us the power we need when we are weak. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) A lack of prayer will rob us of the power we need to fulfill our calling.
Like the disciples, sometimes when we have success in our calling we can get off track and unknowingly begin to operate in our own strength. And sometimes fulfilling our calling is just plain hard. Either way, being an effective disciple of Jesus Christ is beyond our ability and requires complete trust and total dependence on Him. A lack of trust in Jesus and dependence on Him will cripple our understanding and limit God’s power in our life.
Have you encountered a stubborn problem or obstacle in your life lately? Is your faith faltering? Is there some situation that’s simply too difficult for you to tackle on your own? It’s not too hard for Jesus—it is moments like these we need to seek Him through prayer and fasting so that our faith can flourish.
Prayer: Lord God, nothing is too difficult for You. You are life, and You are light. You are the One we need. Lord, forgive me for the times I falter and fail. Thank you for being right there—ready, willing and available to pick me up. Your grace and mercy know no bounds! You know the deep places of hurt and sickness and pain in my life. I lift them up to You today. Meet me at my deepest place of need and heal my soul. Tend to my heart and minister Your mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name, amen.
By all accounts, this was a difficult demon that very rarely left the boy. We discover in... Read More
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