By Sonja Corbitt
Nestled within the healing verses of today’s Gospel is a curious sentence: “And demons also came out of many, crying, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ” (Luke 4:41).
What is faith? We see in our Gospel passage that faith cannot simply be belief—in God, or in Jesus, or in a set of teachings—because “even the demons believe and tremble” (James 2:19). Knowing what faith is, is of primary importance, for “without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Believing He exists is simply the first necessary step. Next we see that we must also seek him (Hebrews 11:6). It’s from the root to desire, search out. We see both here and in our Gospel passage that after believing, even obeying God is not enough. The demons obey Christ. When he commands them to leave and be silent, they leave and are silent.
Faith that desires Him and seeks to love Him is the difference. Not because He waits with royal scepter to grant or withhold reward according to our behavior. Rather, the more we are conformed to who He is, the more of Him we are able to receive. The reward God offers is Himself.
Today’s Gospel shows us that Jesus heals those who seek Him out, those who desire Him. He gives Himself to them. Once they experience Him, they fall in love with and cling to Him.
Faith begins with belief and goes on to obey, but it must not end there. Demons know and obey Christ, but they do not love what they know. Do I truly love the God that I know? Do I seek Him in daily, disciplined prayer and scripture reading?
Dear Jesus, how much of my faith is just belief in what I’ve been told? How much is just dutiful obedience? I want to believe You, rather than just believing in You. Please come near, Lord, as You pass by today. Stay with me. Touch me. Heal me. I am searching for You. And as You come, overwhelm me with the wonder of Your longing to be desired. I believe; help my unbelief. Amen.
About the Author:
Sonja Corbitt is the Bible Study Evangelista. Her Scripture study resources are created with you in mind—bites of spinach that taste like cake—to help you create a space in your busy heart and schedule for God to love and lift you all the way up into His great lap. What’s an evangelista? Find out here.