“Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness.” (Hebrews 3:7-8)
We tend to think of faith in terms of what we stand to gain from God but the truth is that faith is far deeper than that. As much as it is a sign of faith to shout “I receive it” in response to very powerful prayers, it is also a sign of faith to avoid sin. If you do not doubt that God exists to grant your prayer requests, why do you doubt that God has given you certain commandments on how to live your life?
Faith goes beyond expecting all the positive things hoped for and being assured of things not yet seen. Faith is not only what you declare with your lips, but it is also what you do. There is a modern-day crisis of faith among Christians. We claim to believe in God yet we live as if God does not exist. Our actions betray our creed.
In today’s Gospel passage, Mark tells us that Jesus saw the faith of the Four Men who brought their friend to Him through the roof. It didn’t end there, Jesus also saw that this paralytic was filled with sin and he began by saying: “Your sins are forgiven.” Everyone was quiet but Jesus could hear loud and clear the thoughts of the scribes who were questioning Jesus’ authority to forgive sins.
What does this teach us? One, nothing is hidden from God. Just as Jesus saw the faith of the four men, He also saw the “faith” of the scribes who questioned in their hearts. We can never pretend before God.
Secondly, repentance (cleansing of our sins) is more important than physical healing (or any other material benefits) we desire from God. To prove this point, Jesus attended to his spiritual paralysis first before his physical paralysis. No wonder Jesus said we should seek first God’s kingdom and by so doing, all other things would be given to us.
The book of Hebrews tells us that the word of God does no benefit to those who lack faith; those whose actions betray what they profess with their lips. Do not limit your faith to what you can get FROM God, have the faith also to live FOR God.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may my faith reflect on my choices in life. Amen.
Bible Study: Hebrews 4:1-5,11 Psalm 78, and Mark 2:1-12).