Date: Friday, September 12
Scripture: Matthew 8:5-13
Verse: But the centurion replied, “Lord, I don’t deserve to have you come under my roof. Just say the word and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8)
We hear a lot of empty promises. Politicians are notorious for them, saying whatever they need to for another vote. Advertisers also do it sometimes. Claims are made about a product, but when we purchase the product, it simply doesn’t live up to what was promised. Friends can do this to us as well. They can tell us they will always be there for us. Then when the time comes when we really need a friend, we are disappointed by their response. We get frustrated when people “talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.”
Today’s reading is about an unexpected someone who walks the talk. A centurion comes to Jesus asking for his servant to be healed. Jesus asks this Roman military man to lead him to the house where the servant is so Jesus can heal him. The centurion responds by telling Jesus that his word is good enough. “Just say the word,” the soldier says, “and my servant will be healed.” In essence he is saying, I trust whatever you say. The centurion trusts that Jesus will live up to his promises. There is no waver in his confidence. He chooses to believe Jesus’ promise, and act as if it has already been fulfilled. He knows God is not a god of empty promises and therefore acts on Jesus’ promise of healing.
In The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson talks about the difficulty in praying hard, like this centurion. “Praying hard is hard,” he writes, “because you can’t just pray like it depends on God; you also have to work like it depends on you. You can’t just be willing to pray about it; you also have to be willing to do something about it” (114). In essence we have to be willing to put our money where our mouth is. We need to be able to act on what we pray for, as if it has already been accomplished. For example, if you have given a struggle to God in prayer, you can then rest in the knowledge that he is working that out. When we truly believe that, it frees us up to get on with things without the fear, guilt, anxiety, etc. In addition to praying the prayer (walk the walk), we can, through faith, live as though it has already been fulfilled (talk the talk).
Prayer: Give me courage, O God, to rest in your promises. Amen.
Action: Take note of all the empty promises you hear in the day ahead. Do you expect God to be a god of empty promises, or do you trust him?
Respond: Share a story of someone who is willing to walk their talk — to act on what they say and believe.
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Batterson, Mark. The Circle Maker: Praying Circles around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.