Have you ever felt challenged to do something, like God was sending you a message loud and clear and he was using everything around you to do it? Let me give you an example: On Mondays I attend an evening class on Biblical doctrine, theology, etc. Our professor, who’s also a pastor at my church, is this super brilliant, hilarious, genius, Bible-ninja and every so often, he’ll hit us with a challenge. As we were discussing John 16:24, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full,” he challenged us to write down three things that we would dare to ask God for this week. He spoke about how too often we don’t ask God for things and when we do ask, we ask for a toned down version of what we want either because we feel unworthy of the thing, unworthy of even asking or because we feel like the ask itself is just too big. Guys, that’s me in a nutshell!🙋🏾♀️
I started trying to think of some things that I would ask God for, but I found myself struggling to make that list, so I told myself that I’d do it later. That evening after class while preparing a SOAP that I was asked to share with my Connect Group the next morning, I found myself being challenged again. I was looking through some scriptures that I had highlighted in my Bible (well…in my Bible App, which totally still counts!) and I came across a note that I’d made about Matthew 8:5-10,13:
5When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6″Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith….13And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.
The words, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” stirred me deep down inside and I was hit with the thought: If Jesus were to say to me right now, “Go and let it be done for you as you have believed,” what exactly would be done for me? For the centurion who believed in Jesus’s authority and healing power, his servant’s healing was on the other side of Jesus’s words. What would be on the other side of His words in my life? What are you believing for? Message received, God!
I believe whole-heartedly that God wants our faith (Hebrews 11:6) and that he is absolutely doing miracles everyday, but what are we believing him for? What are we asking him for? We forget that God wants to do miracles in our lives and in the people around us, but he’s asking us to believe and he’s asking us to ASK.
And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. Matthew 21:22
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:14
Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24
I think its important to note that believing is more than “name it and claim it”, its more than “good vibes” and “good thoughts”. Faith is believing what God has said and responding to it with hope and expectation; its believing that Jesus is who he says he says he is and does what he says does and that he’ll do what he says he will. And because God is who he says he is (our Father, our provider, our healer, our help, our friend, our way-maker, the list goes on…), we can ask him for what we need with total confidence and even audaciousness.
Recently a famous music artist, in anticipation of an album release, took it upon himself to do a series of philanthropic deeds. One of these deeds was going to a supermarket and announcing that he would pick up the tab on everyone’s grocery haul. Sweet deal, right? Super generous! There was a lot of buzz around it and before long there were memes about how people should have made a mad dash in the supermarket picking up the most expensive items and filling their carts to the brim (a la Supermarket Sweep). Its funny, but its also exactly as it should be with our faith! Its the perfect picture of the challenge before us to have a “God is going to pick up the tab on this, so let me fill up my cart” mentality. He’s got the unlimited resources to cover even my most “extravagant” prayers–I can believe him for this!
As we wrap up this month talking about intentionality (and in this case, being intentional about believing), I’d like to share two things that we can all be believing as we move into the rest of this year:
1-We can believe that he is not finished: THE BEST IS YET TO COME: He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6). The latter will be greater than the former (Hag 2:9). There’s more for all of us–this isn’t just a feel-good slogan, y’all. God is doing more and wanting to do more. There’s more fruit to be produced in our lives. There are more people he will use us to influence. There are more dreams to be realized. More people to be saved, more lives to be changed. We get to partner with him in faith, walking in the abundant life that he has for us. We can ask for more because thereis more and because he’s not finished! Let’s believe for more and for greater!
2-We can believe that he is not wasteful. THERE’S NOTHING HE CAN’T USE. He’s the ultimate redeemer of our life, of our time and of our experiences. He works all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). No matter where you are in life, no matter your experience, no matter your age, there’s nothing that God can’t redeem. There’s no wasted time in God. We can believe despite disappointment and we can hope against all hope, because no moment spent waiting will be wasted!
So, friends, what are you believing for? What are some things that you are choosing to have faith for? What are some things that God has spoken over your life that you’re choosing to believe today? What are some things that you’re going to ask for in faith? Luke 1:45 says, Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill his promise to her. John 11:40 says, Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God. What would happen if we ALL started asking and believing? How different our world could be! Let’s commit today to be audacious askers and audacious believers and let’s watch as God far exceeds anything that we can ask for or imagine.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)