Characteristics of a Great Faith

Today, we are going to talk about two people whom God finds to have the greatest faith.

One is a Canaanite woman, of whom He says, “Woman, your faith is great!” And the second person was actually a Roman officer.

The Lord says, “It will be done to you according to your faith” (Matt. 9:29). You see, if my faith is little, it will be done to me according to my faith. That means that if there is just a small amount of faith, then that is the size of the funnel that His blessings, guidance and revelations will come through.

A Woman of Great Faith

One such person of great faith was a woman who initially approached Jesus in desperation. And for great reason: her daughter was demon-possessed.

“… a Canaanite woman came out from that region and began to cry out, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.’ But he did not answer her a word. And His disciples came to Him and kept asking Him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she is shouting out after us’” (Matt. 15:22-23).

Jesus’ response to her seems completely out of character — He doesn’t answer her a word.That rejection, from Jesus Himself, was a pretty hard blow. In fact, for most of us, I thinkthat would have been enough to stop us dead in our tracks. But not this Gentile woman.

This woman had such a persistent and resolute—even stubborn—faith that she receivedthe blessing she needed: her daughter was healed at once. In other words, you’ve got to have the faith necessary for this type of miracle to take place. And what kind of faith is it?

The first quality of “great faith” this woman shows is …

1. A Faith that Pursues God’s Best 

The first quality of great faith is a faith that is determined and stubborn, relentlessly pursuing God’s best for your life and for those around you. You cannot wallow yourself to get thrown or dissuaded from that. You must pursue it with all that you are!

This Canaanite woman refused to be dissuaded or discouraged. In fact, she continued topursue Jesus even more vehemently!

God is looking for that kind of faith — one that keeps asking, keeps seeking and keeps knocking in pursuit of God’s best. This is a quality that transforms a mediocre faith into a marvelous faith.

We are going to have problems. We are going to run into walls. But we, like this Canaanite woman, must refuse to give up! That’s a hallmark and a necessity of great faith.

2. A Faith that Refuses to be Offended

This Canaanite woman absolutely refused to be offended: “… She came and began to bow down before Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’ He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she said, ‘Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus said to her, ‘Oh, woman, your faith is great’” (Matt. 15:25-28).

I don’t know about you, but if someone called me a dog, I’d be a little offended! Yet, this lady refused. In her heart, she had to say, “No. This is not a hill I am going to die on.” She made an internal choice not to get hung up on a lesser offense because she was battling a larger war. Instead, she answered Him so wonderfully.

Do you know that when I take offense, it diminishes my faith to the point where it turns into unbelief? It’s that serious! And because we make that first fatal choice to take offense, it ultimately leads to unbelief, which wipes out any chance for the miraculous to take place. If we want the miraculous, we must choose to refuse to take offense!

Another instance of faith is found in Jesus’ interaction with a Roman centurion, a commander of the very army that oppressed the Jews. Yet, this man stunned Jesus with his faith.

Not only did this many portray a jaw-dropping faith, he was able to “wow” Jesus by displaying a last quality of a great faith:

3. A Faith that Acts on God’s Word

“… the centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I, too, am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.’ Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel!’” (Matt. 8:8-10).

This kind of faith was a great, rare and dumbfounding kind of faith.

What about it was so striking? It was the fact that the soldier said, “Lord, You don’t have to go. You just say the word and I know it’s done!” This showed the Lord that this man believed the Word of God and acted on it.

Do you believe God’s Word? And do you act on it?

Believing God for What He Says

One of the most difficult dichotomies in our lives is that we know what God says, but how much do we really believe? How much of it do we act on?

First, you have to know what God is saying in order to do it. And in order to know what He is saying, if you have not developed a time for daily devotions, I encourage you to please start now.

The more you apply what God says to you, the more it depicts the depth of relationship that you have with Him.

How much to you apply? Your answer to that question will reflect a depth of relationship. And if I really trust Him for His Word and there is a wonderful relationship, then I will act upon it. And through that, God will begin to do wonderful miracles in my life and through me into other people’s lives, too.

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