A Thought on Belief with Tony Dungy

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

  • Mark 1:40-42

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.

  • Mark 11:22-23

“The leper got right to the point. ‘If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.’
“The leper had it. He had no reason to, based upon how he was treated in those days. But the leper had it.
“Jairus had it as he left the side of his sick daughter to find Jesus in the crowds far from his home. While he was gone, his daughter died. But Jairus still had it.
“Mary and Martha—as different as two sisters can be—both had it as they wept over their brother, Lazarus, lying stone—cold dead in the tomb not far from their home in Bethany. And even though they felt Jesus was slow to come to their aid, they had it.
“Had what? Belief. They all believed. They all believed that Jesus was who He said He was. They all believed that He was the Christ, the promised Messiah, and the Son of God. They all believed that He could do what He said He could do—and they believed that He cared for them and others. They heard what He was saying and about the miracles He was doing, and they believed.
“If you’re like me, this next point is important. Don’t confuse understanding with believing. None of them understood—most things about Jesus were far beyond their limited minds and capabilities to understand. Count me in that group. But I don’t feel bad. There are biblical scholars who have spent their lives studying the Scriptures who can’t understand all that Jesus did and continues to do for us as the Son of God.
“But believe? That’s something we all can do. Believe that Christ can heal that loved one who is sick. Believe He can provide that job that seems impossible to find. Believe He can change people’s hearts. It’s not necessary to understand how He is going to do all those things, but believe that He can! There is so much evidence of His life, His death, and His resurrection, it’s hard not to.

  • Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker, The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge (Devotion for 18 March)

The leper was bold.  He said, “If you are willing…”  If the leper knew Jesus a little better, he would know that Jesus was willing.  But at the same time, the leper did not wish to impose.  Was the leper bold and sly or was he humble?  Jesus healed him.

I read in a Lee Strobel book that the word for “believe” in the Greek has an element of trust in it.  We must believe and trust.  As Jesus said about moving the mountain, if we truly believe, it will happen.

I have thought of the modern motivational speaking routine of the trust fall.  With my luck, I would be saddled with a bunch of goofs and they would drop me.  So, if that is what I truly believe…  I might have to add some padding inside my clothing.

The part of what Tony Dungy talks about that pulls on my heartstrings are those people who I have prayed for over the years.  Some seem more hell-bent for Hell now than they ever had been before.  As Dungy said, “Believe that Jesus can change people’s hearts.”  But each person has their own choice to make and when they are dead set on another path…  But we keep praying.  We keep asking, “Jesus, if you are willing.”  But Jesus is not going to change someone’s heart against that person’s will.

And sometimes God allows a loved one to become ill to test the faith of all those concerned.  We may pray, “Jesus, if you are willing…”  He might be willing at that moment, or later on, or the ultimate healing of passing over to the other side.  But to stand along side and ponder those options is a hard thing.

But whatever the case, we must not just believe, but have trust in God, and part of that trust is that we trust in God’s plan.  If God does not want that mountain to move, then there must be a reason that I drive around it each day.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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