Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Are Our Limits?

Mark 2:11

“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

112015 Ray McDonaldHow convinced are we of the things that we believe?  I mean – where are our limits?  We all have limits to our faith?  For instance – few would argue that God calls us to pray – even continuously – yet how many minutes a day do we pray?  Is our limit 5 minutes or 10 minutes or even an hour?  If we wish to grow spiritually – we might need to push that limit some – and spend more time in prayer.  Christ’s example – He often prayed all night long!  He would pray – for long periods of time before making a decision or taking on a challenge.  When is the last time we spent significant time in prayer?  Luke 5:16 – But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Few would argue that the Bible calls us to tithe (giving 10% of our income to the Lord’s work) or  sacrificially give to God’s work – yet – how much do we give?  Is the measure of our giving a limit we need to push back in order to grow spiritually? Tithing is the one are where God says test me.  Malachi 3:10 – Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

How convinced are we in the things that we believe?  Where are our limits to our faith?  Men tend to have more faith in their sense of direction than they should.  I mean – some men won’t even stop and ask directions – even though the family is getting restless and needing a break and they’ve been searching for what seems like hours.  They just know they know where this place is and it will just be around the corner (the same corner that have gone around before).

How convinced are we in the things that we believe?  I was sort of asked this question at one of our Meet the Pastor events when I first moved to First Church.  I was asked how I saw myself theologically.  When I said I would call myself a conservative evangelical there was visual push back by the one who asked. I was later asked to explain what I meant by conservative evangelical.  I said a theological conservative to me was one who believed the Bible to be the inspired word of God and that it was our primary and final authority.  I said that an evangelical to me was one who believed that Jesus was the only way to the Father and that spreading the Good News of salvation through Christ was a primary task for the church today.  I still felt some push back.  Although I am open to conversations and for being shown where I might be wrong – I believe what I believe.  I was once told that they appreciated that as their pastor I stood for something – because as the old saying goes – if you stand for nothing – you will likely fall for anything!

How convinced are we in the things that we believe?  In today’s story we find some fellows that were very pretty convinced about what they believed.  In Hebrews we are giving a definition for faith – Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Let’s read today’s passage in partial context.

Mark 2:1-12 – 1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

The friends of the paralyzed man had faith – they believed that Jesus could heal their friend.  They not only believed it – but they acted on it as well.  You see – true faith requires a step of faith.  So – how convinced are we in the things that we believe?  Do we believe enough to take action on what we believe?  Is Jesus Lord or is He merely a part of our life?  Are we a true disciple of Christ or merely a church attendee?  How convinced are we in the things that we believe?

What are our limits?  If we wish to grow spiritually we need to identify our limits and push them.  We need to have a vertical view and stretch to become more like Christ rather than some measure of what others expect.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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December 23, 2015 - Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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