Showing Off

Read: Matthew 8

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! (Matthew 8:10, NLT)

We have all done things from time to time to impress people—it’s just human nature. Little kids act up to get the attention of adults in the room; teenage boys do strange things to impress the young ladies; twenty-eight-year olds return for their ten-year high school reunion to show how successful they’ve become compared to their classmates. Men with a receding hairline and an expanding waistline buy a little red sports car to prove they can still get a second look from the gals.

Showing off is just a part of human nature.  We do it because we want to feel significant, valued and alive.  It is not always a bad thing; it is usually not a good thing.  We human beings have a “show off” gene that before the arrival of sin led us to lean into God for our security, significance and satisfaction.  Now, at best, it mostly results in wasted energy; at worst, it steers us into deep weeds.

As much time as we spend showing off to impress others, what if we spent it showing off to impress God?  What?  Do you mean that we can actually do something that causes God a second look?  Well, apparently Jesus was pretty impressed with this Roman officer here in Matthew 8.  When he saw the faith of this guy, he was blown away.  The Greek word for “amazed” in this text means that he marveled at this man and truly admired him.

Yeah, faith impresses God.  It gets his attention—it always has.  Check out Abraham in Genesis 15:6 or read the long list of the ruthlessly faithful in Hebrews 11.  In fact, Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith, it is impossible to impress God.

Faith gets God’s attention.  There is just something about a person who realizes their total dependence on God, expresses their utter helplessness before him, declares both in their words and by their actions radical trust in his loving and benevolent character, and then adjusts their entire being going forward to reflect security in his care and competence.  That gets a second look from the Almighty.  In fact, the God of wonder stops in admiration of such childlike faith.

I would say that God is easily impressed.  It just takes a little faith.  I’ll bet you can do that!

“Unwavering trust is a rare and precious thing because it often demands a degree of courage that borders on the heroic.” ~Brennan Manning

What If God Took Over?

Memorize Hebrews 11:6, “It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Now reflect that verse back to God every day this week in prayer, asking God to help you to exercise that faith more often and more ruthless than ever before.