We’re called to a life of faith – the Bible tells us that time and again: Without faith it impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6); We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7); faith is the assurance of things we cannot see (Heb. 11:1). So how do we get this kind of faith – the kind where we trust God beyond what we can prove in our own belief?
In week four of our Miracles series, RPC’s International Missions Pastor Randy Riggins walked us through 4 steps to living Beyond Belief – and if you’ve been listening to “contemporary Christian music” long enough, you might have been inclined to sing along when he referenced Petra and their lyrics:
And from faith to faith we grow
Towards the center of the flow
Where He beckons us to go
Beyond belief, beyond belief
Leap of faith without a net
Makes us want to hedge our bet
Waters never part
Until our feet get wet, whoa, whoa
There’s a deeper place to go
Where the road seems hard to hoe
He who has begun this work
Won’t let it go (let it go!)
Petra “Beyond Belief”
If we want to live beyond belief, first and foremost, we can’t forget our needy condition. In Luke 17, Jesus encounters a group of lepers, society’s outcasts with no hope in anything at all. They asked Jesus for pity – for healing and hope. They may not have known He could heal them. They had no reason to believe He would heal them. But their condition was so desperate, they had nothing to lose by asking. They weren’t risking their social status or their reputation. Those things were already gone. They had nothing to lose by crying out to Jesus. So, they shouted their need in hopes He would show them mercy. Do we do this? Or do we hide our need, hoping others will believe we’re doing ok, that we have it all together?
The next part of living beyond belief is living by faith, not feelings. Our faith tells us God is enough, Jesus is able, our situation is in the hands of the creator of the universe. Feelings tell us there’s no hope, there’s no solution, we’re not worthy of a solution even if it does exist. Faith tells us all things are possible with God. Feelings tell us resolution is impossible. Faith allows us to believe God will do what He said He would do. Feelings tell us what he said is illogical, even ridiculous. In Luke 17:14 Jesus told the lepers to go show themselves to the priest, and as they went, they were cleansed. Lepers weren’t allowed near the priest or anyone. To take that first step was to walk in faith, not feelings. What Jesus told them to do was not allowed, and it was not logical. But believing – maybe because their faith in Jesus was strong, but more likely because they had no other hope and nothing to lose – they took the first step. And the Bible tells us it was as they walked in obedience that they were healed. God has a step for us to take. What step is it? What circumstances are we allowing to make us feel like we can’t take that step?
The third aspect of living beyond belief is staying focused on Jesus, fixing our eyes on Him. This always includes praising Him and thanking Him. Luke 17:15-16 tells us one of the lepers did this. He went back, and he praised God loudly, and he threw himself at Jesus’ feet, thanking Jesus for the healing. This leper was appreciative of the gift but more appreciative of the giver Himself. That’s a strong example. Jesus saw this man – and He saw that it was only one of the 10 who did this. And this one, Jesus points out, was a Samaritan. This leper, healed by Jesus, was of a race thought inferior by society. Jesus could not have made it any more clear that His gift, His salvation, His healing, is available to all who believe. That’s good news for us.
Finally, to truly live a life beyond belief, we have to go… In Luke 17:19 Jesus tells this leper to “rise and go your way…” This leper had cried out to Jesus, asking for healing. He had walked in faith when Jesus gave him instruction. He had returned to Jesus to offer praise and thanks. And now, Jesus tells him to go, because in going his way, others would see and be impacted by the faith of this leper and the work of Jesus. Once we’ve stepped out of the shadows and admitted our need, taken the step of obedience Jesus prescribes, thanked and praised Him for His healing, if we want to truly get beyond belief, we need to go out into our world and share the truth of Jesus with others. That’s going to look different for each of us, but to those who see us, it will look like Jesus, the hope they may not even know they need.