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Devotional April 10 2020

Trinity Church exists to love God / love others / serve the community

How do we address our fears through faith? …By deepening our knowledge
and understanding of Jesus, which results in a deeper faith.
I can recall a time early in my life when I encountered people of faith,
and I remember thinking how silly they were for believing in
Christianity. Later on in life as a believer, I would meet people of
faith and see them in a different light. In some cases I would recognize
those who had a deeper relationship with Jesus. There was something
about them…either in the way they lived their life or their prayers
that allowed me to see that there was more there than what I was
experiencing in my journey. It was something I wanted for myself as I
grew in my walk as a Christ follower. I would venture to guess that
having a deep faith is something all of us have a desire for. Now more
than ever believers are called to live by faith and possibly even
demonstrate more faith than we have ever before. So how can we grow in
our faith? How can we have a depth to our relationship in Christ that
changes our outlook, affects us to the core, and doesn’t give in to
fear?
In Matthew’s Gospel we read what deep faith looks like from a Canaanite
woman.
And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and
Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was
crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely
oppressed by a demon.”
But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him,
saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I
was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came
and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is
not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She
said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their
masters’ table.
Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for
you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matthew
15:21-28 ESV)
In the passage, Matthew tells us that the woman was not an Israelite. In
fact, her people would have been considered an enemy of God’s people.
However something to take note of is how she speaks to Jesus. Her
attitude displayed the utmost respect which we see when she calls Him
Lord. Furthermore, she calls Jesus “Son of David” which showed her
awareness of who she was seeking help from. What follows is a
fascinating dialogue about the priority of Jesus’ mission and the
recipients of God’s healings and blessings. Jesus plainly states it to
His disciples in v. 24 and then in a veiled form to the woman in v. 26.
Her response to Jesus was that of acknowledgment of her position and a
plea for mercy. It was as if she was saying I know you have come for the
House of Israel, but I just need a little bit of your mercy and grace
now. The result was Jesus admiring the great faith she demonstrated and
healing her daughter.
We see that the woman’s knowledge of Christ produced deep faith. Her
response to Jesus shows us the deep faith she had. She knew He was the
master and that all she needed was a tiny bit of His mercy to help her.
She believed deeply in who He was. The same is true for us. The more we
know and understand who Jesus is and His character, the deeper our faith
grows and the more profound perspective of God we have. The first step
is to believe and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then as we walk in
faith, we learn and grow in that relationship through community with
other believers, prayer and studying the word of God. How are we using
our time in this quarantine? Are we growing in our knowledge and
understanding of who Jesus is? My prayer is that we would all make that
a priority, and as a result, have deeper faith that doesn’t give in to
fear.

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