No one can run fast enough, jump high enough, sing well enough, or drop enough money into the collection bag to impress God. This is because every ability we have and everything we own comes from Him.
However, there is a portion of Scripture that runs contrary to the thought that God can’t be impressed by a lowly human being.
Two thousand years ago, a Roman centurion had a servant whom he loved dearly and who was near death. Desperate for help, the centurion sent Jewish elders to plead with Jesus to heal him. In an attempt to impress Jesus, they said of the servant that “he is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue” (Luke 7:4–5, ESV).
They believed that Jesus would be impressed for those two reasons and therefore heal his servant. He loved Israel, and he had built them a synagogue. In other words, this man really was worthy. But look at what the centurion said of himself: “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you” (Luke 7:6–7).
Others may think we are deserving of God’s attention, but if we, like Job, have caught a glimpse of His holiness and our own sinful condition, we will lay a hand on our self-righteous and sinful mouth and say, “I am vile.” The only thing we are worthy of is punishment for our many sins.
That sounds kind of harsh, but my point is that God loves us despite our sins. In His holy eyes, the best of us are vile and undeserving. Jesus died for sinners, not for saints (see Romans 5:8).
This means that we never have to strive to be worthy of His love; it shines like the warmth of the sun and, like the sun, its warmth has nothing to do with us.
Look now at what this unworthy centurion said next, and note Jesus’ amazing reaction: “‘But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, “Go!” and he goes, and to another, “Come!”’ and he comes; and to my servant, “Do this!” and he does it.’
Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, ‘I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’” (vv. 8–9, NASB).
Jesus marveled at him. He was so impressed that He made this Roman an example to the crowd. Jesus hadn’t seen such faith, not in all of Israel. Not in His Jewish brothers, who had no faith in Him.
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Not even in the greatest of all, John the Baptist, who let doubt enter his heart. Not in His beloved disciples, who would eventually lose faith and forsake Him.
Trust in God is evidence of our love for Him. Our faith pleases God. Without it, it’s impossible to please Him (see Hebrew 11:6). Faith and love go hand in hand. Isn’t it also true that faith pleases us? Doesn’t it warm our hearts when someone trusts us?
I will never forget one such incident that was a small gesture but is now a mountain of a memory. When I first met my wife, Sue, we were working in a bank. One day, I casually suggested that she should eat oranges because I believed the vitamin C would improve a minor health issue she was having.
The next day, she had an orange with her lunch. I marveled. She believed in me! This wonderful young lady trusted what I had said! That incident has warmed my heart for many years because it was the first spark I saw of her love for me.
Scripture devotes an entire chapter in Hebrews 11 to those who moved mountains through faith in God’s promises. Their trust in His Word was evidence of their love. And every time we step out in faith and share the gospel with an unsaved person, we exercise trust in Him. We show that we love Him above our fears.
Every time we pick up a Bible and feed on His Word, we are loving and trusting Him. Each time we open our lips in prayer, believing He hears our every word, we love and trust Him. What a wonderful and mountainous thought—that unworthy though we are in our own righteousness, because of the cross, we can now make God smile by trusting Him.
Ray Comfort’s latest devotional, Jesus in Red, was written to foster faith in God’s promises. Jesus in Red is available from all major book retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christianbook.com.