Monday May 22, 2006
The Need for Increased Faith
Today’s passage gives a wonderful exchange between Jesus and His disciples. The Lord made two statements that completely shocked His disciples. In response, they offered only one exclamation: “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5) What were the two things that demanded a greater level of personal faithfulness?
First, Jesus warned them that hardships would surely come. In this life, there is no escape from the sorrows of the world. As new believers, many people are shocked to discover that faith in Christ does not eradicate all of the adversity in their lives. Jesus never guaranteed a trouble-free life; in fact, He promised just the opposite. (John 16:33) Committed Christians, therefore, are certain to experience heartaches and disappointments at various times.
Second, Jesus commands total willingness to forgive others: “If your brother... repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4).
The “seven times a day” language is an illustration of persistent forgiveness. It is the model by which all believers should live their lives. Christ’s forgiveness is limitless. As His followers, who are indwelt by His Spirit, we should strive for that same level of grace in our interactions with others.
Hearing these high ideals, the disciples could make no other comment than “Increase our faith!” They knew the Christian life was beyond their own power; therefore, they asked Jesus to empower them to meet His standard. Are you prepared to make that same request to the Lord today?
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