Push-over or Push-through Faith?
The encounter that Jesus had with a Canaanite woman whom He initially rebuffed will tell you something about your own faith; is it push-over or push-through faith? The question is critical if you are genuinely intent on taking Jesus at His word concerning the kingdom of heaven and your entrance into it. This obviously distraught woman pursued Jesus for the healing of her demon-possessed daughter. Her persistence was so intense that even the disciples could not turn her away. Finally they did not know what else to do but appeal directly to Jesus to get rid of her; yet to this point He had ignored her with silence. His next response was worse than silence; He said to her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel, which clearly excluded her and her sick child. Now falling on her knees before Jesus, the mother cried out, “Lord, help me. The next words from His mouth could not be harsher in our ears, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.
I can imagine the response of many people today to such deeply cutting words, can’t you? I have heard most of such responses all my life: “I tried Jesus and it doesn’t work; “I tried to speak to Him and all I ever got was silence; “That blankety-blank can’t be the only way to heaven; “He never did a thing for me; “Other stuff works better for me than Jesus and the Bible ever did; and you can add your own, ad nauseum.
The woman’s response to Jesus’ hard words is priceless. It characterized the nature of this woman’s push-through, all-out faith, humble but indefatigable. She simply would not be denied, but neither would she become self-defensive, thinking she deserved more. “Yes, Lord, she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table. Jesus’ whole tone changed, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted. And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:21-28)
The faith of Jesus’ mother was of this very sort. At the wedding of Cana when the wine ran out, Mary said to Jesus, “They have no more wine. In other words, Mary was saying, I know you can fix this problem. Jesus told her, “Woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come. Mary’s push-through faith simply responded this way; she immediately turned and spoke to the servants standing nearby, “Do whatever He tells you, and walked away. Mary knew who her son was, and her faith said as much.
Push-over faith is no faith at all. We have no business approving of it in others’ lives, much less our own. Yet we do and still wonder why so many are spiritually dropping like flies while the kingdom of heaven is forcefully advancing against fierce opposition. The Canaanite woman and Mary were examples of what Jesus meant by “forceful men who lay hold of that heavenly kingdom. Their faith would not be deterred. For them it was Jesus and His word or nothing. It is the only kind of faith that will cut it in the world. In reality this is what faith is. I don’t know what you call the other; whatever one chooses to call it, it’s not faith. “And [yet] without faith [whatever else you do], it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
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