Do I Know or Believe?
Matthew 9:27-30 …Two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” … and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.”
I think it is the responsibility (or pleasure) of every father to teach (or torment) his children with oft repeated life lessons that he finds clever and wise (whether they are or not). One such lesson that I have repeated too many times is that of the difference between knowledge of and faith in a chair. I can know that a chair exists but I do not exercise faith in it until I sit in it. So, faith is not just something that happens in my head, it is knowledge followed by action. My kids are not as impressed by this analogy as I am but it has helped me understand my own faith better.
The two blind men in today’s story had enough vision to see who Jesus was. They did not just know He was the messiah though. They followed knowledge with action, pursuing and crying out to him. They believed and acted accordingly. It seems to me that when Jesus asked them if they believed, it was a formality. They had already, I think, proved their faith by pursuing him as the solution to their need.
God is continually asking me the same question, Do you believe? If I believe, do I follow with my behavior? Do I exercise faith, keeping my eyes on him or do I just know of him but continue to follow self?
Jesus said that I, like the blind men, will receive in measure with my faith. According to your faith be it done to you. If I keep my eyes on God, following and pursuing, I will be rewarded for my faith and God will work in me. If I pursue the selfish designs of my flesh, I will reap the corresponding destruction.
I have a friend who, facing life difficulties that I cannot fathom, speaks of every trial as an opportunity to lean into God. He does not just know of God. He rests in God, receiving grace according to his faith.
This is a life lesson that I seem to learn over and over and is perhaps why I repeat it so often to my kids. Every day is an opportunity to rely on self or God. Faith is not thinking really hard that something will come true, faith is knowing God and acting accordingly. I never stop knowing of God, but I can choose, like the chair, to rest in him or not.
Like the chair, I can have knowledge of God without every really experiencing him. It is only when I choose to act on my knowledge that I exercise faith. It is only in following and relying on God that He holds me up.