What is our faith requiring of us?
Reading the account of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman ( Luke 7:36-50 ), I marvel at the amount of courage required not only from her but also of Jesus. Courage played a vital role in that scene unfolding as it did and it made me consider how much courage is exercised in our faith today.
I hear mention of Christians wanting “radical” faith, meaning that they want to be the kind of believers who will risk all to follow after Christ. Studying this passage, I begin to understand that radical faith IS actually Biblical faith.
That is the faith portrayed in Scripture, involving risks and costs. It’s no wonder that courage would be a hallmark of such a faith. When we are well aware of what is at stake if we boldly live out our convictions, without sufficient courage, we will not be willing to risk the consequences.
In the end, we will choose protection of self over the bold action required by our faith.
So my question to you is- what is your faith requiring of you?
I know what it has asked of me before but more on that later.
How was courage required of Jesus and the sinful woman?
The contrast in these two particular people couldn’t be further apart. One was a sinless Son of God and the other was a sinful child of God. Yet, One was sent to save the other……..and it would take courage from both of them for this to happen.
Looking at this scene as it transpired, one risk after another jumps out.
- Jesus needed courage to accept the invitation to those knowingly looking to cause Him trouble.
- He needed courage to stand up to the host, a religious leader, in his home publically and in front of his friends.
- The sinful woman needed courage to attempt going to the religious leader’s home due to her well-known reputation.
- She needed courage to make her way into that male-dominated room, past all the objections and directions from servants, host, or attendees.
- Courage was required as she made her way over to the Holy Savior. (Can you imagine how she felt approaching such a truly righteous Man?)
- The sinful woman exercised courage as she knelt behind Jesus and touched Him.
- Courage was necessary as she openly displayed emotions such as crying and kissing His feet.
- She displayed courage as she sacrificed such an expensive, extravagant gift, pouring it our on His feet.
- The woman needed courage as she risked making a scene in front of a room full of condemning men- morally, “religiously” and culturally her superiors.
- Jesus exercised courage when He affirmed her, a sinner, publically.
- He needed courage to forgive her sins openly, knowing this would draw the ire of the religious leaders.
- He used courage as He pointed out, step by step, the failings of the host to Him as a guest, while the sinful woman was exalted in how she exceeded the common rules of hospitality.
- Jesus was courageous as He authoritatively declared that her faith had saved her and that she could go in peace (with His stamp of approval basically).
When have I needed courage to walk out my faith?
As I ponder hindsight as a 50-year-old, I never could have foreseen where God would take me and what would have been the risks. My life began in rural Kentucky, with what should have been typical opportunities for me.
But God had other plans.
So in March of 1985, while on spring break from the University of Kentucky as a freshman, I came to Florida to visit my dad where he had moved for work. I ended up meeting my husband who was on spring break from Florida State University and just a few months later, moved to Tallahassee, Florida to date him.
Even though several generations of my family stayed in our small town, I felt God calling me to take a risk.
That was the beginning of the courage needed to follow where God directed me, with so much more to come.
- uprooting my life to transfer to F.S.U
- marrying Kyle
- quitting my job to become a stay-at-home mom
- 3 children in 3 1/2 years
- getting out of my comfort zone to grow in my faith
- navigating through marital conflict
- a child with learning disabilities
- accepting God’s call to be a Bible teacher
- studying for and serving in ministry
- missions trips to China, Peru, and Guatemala
- parenting a teenager in rebellion
- serving in leadership positions for women’s ministry, school board, and in the community
- getting back into the workforce after years away
- public speaking and teaching
- writing for online ministry
- risking failure every day
This and more has required my daily courage to follow Christ where I felt ill-equipped and fearful. As I look back, courage was most definitely needed in big ways.
Sometimes I exercised it and sometimes I cowered. It has not been as consistent as I had hoped at times.
What is your faith requiring of you?
Courage is acting like “God’s got this!” even before it looks that way. It is stepping out to follow when you really don’t know how things will actually turn out.
I always think of how David met Goliath in 1 Samuel 17 , specifically how it says in verse 48,
As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.
That gives me chills!
WHO RUNS TO MEET A GIANT IN BATTLE?!
And so can you!
What is it that you need courage for in your faith?
- continue in ministry when you feel like giving up
- stand up against an abusive boss, co-worker, or spouse
- be the accountability your spouse desperately needs
- believe God even when life is unraveling
- risk failure as you take a leap of faith
- forgive someone who has caused you harm
- risk the judgment of others as you obey God, standing firm in His truth
- love others when they fail to love you in return
- acknowledge a problem you have been avoiding
- follow hard after Christ when those closest to you are unbelievers or willing to settle for complacency
- treat others as Christ would even when they don’t reciprocate
- seek help for an addiction
- worship when all you feel like doing is worry
- confront someone in your life
- persevere with a child when you feel like giving up
- admit that you are the one who is wrong
What we can remember
David knew that whatever he faced, God was already there! Psalm 16:8 says,
I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my righ hand, I will not be shaken.
Courage is found for Biblical faith as we continually set the Lord before us. With Him beside us and before us, we will have the courage necessary to meet whatever stands against us.