Stretching Your Faith
It can be all too easy to look at the Christians next to us and think that they have hit the target of following Jesus. They are there. They've made it. And all you can do is look at yourself and think how far behind you are, and how they are already celebrating at the winner’s circle.
After all, they have it all together. They know the answers to every Bible Study question while you are hiding behind your workbook hoping no one sees its blank pages. Their children come to church wearing matching outfits and smiles, and you are lucky if your kid comes wearing matching socks. Their service is like a pinball in an arcade game, bouncing with excitement from one ministry to another, while it feels like you are doing all that you can to serve while lacking any of their energy or grace. You wonder if you’ll ever get there, to that follower-of-Jesus finish line that they seemed to have crossed ages ago (and wouldn't you know they still look great, too!)
Let me clear up something for you. This side of Heaven, there ain’t no finish line, honey. You’ve placed them on the winner’s pedestal, and the truth is that they aren't even close to being done yet!
Just like you, they have stumbled and are stumbling along the way.
Just like you, they are still growing as a follower of Jesus,
even when you look at them and feel they've achieved something you haven’t.
Just like you, God is stretching their faith.
Just like you, God is pressing their faith in new ways and in new territories that sometimes terrify them.
Know this: being a follower of Jesus is a life-long journey, not a final destination. And we are all on that journey together.
As you study the rest of Chapter 6 this week, you’ll read how those closest to Jesus struggled to understand who He was. You’ll see them scratch their heads, wonder how He could have done what they witnessed Him do with their very own eyes, and come up short of the answer. But the story does not end there. You will also see Jesus’s patience with them as their faith was stretched and challenged, as they continued to learn who Jesus was and what following Him would look like.
“Being a Christian is more than
an instantaneous conversion.
It is a daily process whereby you
grow to be more and more like Christ.”
~ Billy Graham
Personal Study Time And Reflection Questions:
Read Mark 6:7-56. Though this passage details Jesus interacting with large crowds and performing many miracles, another theme is Jesus’s patience with the growing faith of those closest to Him. How do you react to knowing that the disciples' understanding of Jesus was continually growing and developing? Do you sense an area of your life in which Jesus is being patient with you as you work to better know and follow Him? Thank God for His gentle patience with you and ask Him to stretch your faith so that you can know Him even more fully.