One of life’s ironies is that you need to exercise confidence when you least possess it most. I don’t know if that’s good English, but it’s true. If you look back in your own life, you’ll see it’s true. Maybe it was the loss of a loved one. You had no idea how you were going to keep going, but you did and now look how far you’ve come. So lets talk about that!
Barney Fife was a walking contradiction because though he clearly lacked confidence, he was courageous in that he still saddled up despite all of his fear and weaknesses. And we loved him for it, right? Then there was Andy. He was always calm, cool and collected. The opposite of Barney, he had every reason to be confident, but his confidence clearly flowed from a deep hidden recess invisible to the naked eye.
Last week we said confident people don’t depend on their own strengths, they depend on the strengths of others. The Leper knows he cannot heal himself, but knows one who can.
FIRST, THE ONE WHO CAN Picking up from last week. The one who can is Jesus! And this is what Jesus has to say about the man you’re going to meet this week, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel (Matthew 8:10)”. Quite a compliment coming from Jesus, wouldn’t you say? You can read the whole story in Matthew 8:5-13. Long story short, the guy Jesus was talking about was a powerful leader in the Roman military who had a sick servant and he knew Jesus could help him. Chances are you want to learn more about the one who can if you’re reading this post. So, what are you needing right now? Not yesterday or tomorrow, but right now. Why not trust and ask the one who can?
BUT HOW? Ironically, like the Leper, the Centurion simply stated his case, “Lord, my servant leith at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed (Matt. 8:6-8)”. The centurion goes on to explain that as a leader he understands the power structure. A leader gives an order and the servant or soldier carries it out. Again, his confidence is not in himself, but a GREATER leader!
BRAGGING RIGHTS Imagine if Jesus bragged on you because your confidence in him was so great! Look what he said about the centurion, “When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:10-11). Wow! Imagine if the same could be said of you or me? Chances are this story isn’t included just to highlight the centurion’s faith. Most likely, his story is an example of what happens when you trust God for great things!
A GLOWING FUTURE Carey Nieuwhof recently said “The past is your future with the lights on”, or something along those lines. Apparently it’s a quote from a song. Anyway, think about that! You designed the life you’re living right now, in the past. In other words, the choices and habits you exercise today determine the quality of the life you’ll live tomorrow! Powerful thought, isn’t it. But before you start beating yourself up, why not decide to start changing the future today. Pray. This is what Jesus had to say about those who choose not to exercise faith like the centurion did, “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:12). I don’t really know what all of that looks like and I don’t want to know! But….if you look around, it’s quite obvious many people are suffering today as a result of the poor choices they or someone close to them made in the past. It’s called the principle of sowing and reaping.
FRESH FRUIT “And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour” (Matt. 8:13). Instant results! But before you get too excited, you need to understand this isn’t the way it always works. Still, who can tell? God may just answer your prayer as quickly as he did for the centurion.
SO. What’s stopping you from trusting the one who can? Is it because your case is impossible? What’s more impossible looking than an incurable disease and looming death? Only one thing. Jesus. Imagine. The actions you take today have the potential to change your life for all of eternity. Why not go to him and state your confidence in his abilities and watch what happens?