Persistent Faith

We end the series “Bold Conversations” today with a look at stubborn faith. If you would, turn with me to Mathew 15:21-28. Let’s us read:

As we look at this passage, there are several reasons why this was a bold conversation:

i. First, in the ancient near eastern culture, women and men did not mix freely. Women were second class citizens because of their gender and life situation. She had to muster her courage to approach him.

ii. Secondly, she was Canaanite; A tribe that should not mix with Jews.

iii. Thirdly, the disciples were discouraging her from seeking Jesus’ attention; they made it clear that her request was a bother to Jesus and to them.

Jesus’ own response was less than encouraging: Jesus was silent … he only spoke to point out that she was not his target audience.

If this was you what would you have done? For many of us the natural response at this point is to discontinue our prayers with a sense of offense or disillusionment, even bitterness. Those feelings if left unchallenged can settle down into a mindset, a way of thinking, an outlook, a state or frame of mind about that particular situation.

What this woman wanted was for Jesus to heal her daughter. She is a clever woman because she manages to navigate through the obstacles: the disciples try to push her away. Jesus himself is like: ‘Really; really am I supposed to care about you?’ and she is like ‘Yeah!’ The entire substance of Jesus response to her is ‘do you have a right to talk to me?’ And in the end the woman emphatically says ‘Yes I do’. My one point in this message is this:

Be stubborn, know what you want, pray boldly and don’t give up!

This woman comes at Jesus with several strategies that we can use in prayer.

1. Worship and humility. The Canaanite woman knelt in adoration. The posture of her whole body spoke volumes of praise. To kneel before someone is to manifest humility and to demonstrate their superior worth and position.

2. She demonstrated stubborn faith: You only worship someone that you truly believe will love you and cares for you. She is not playing worship she is really worshiping. When you worship, you are saying if you do you are God and if you don’t you are God. whether yes or no it doesn’t matter. How bold and heroic is this!
The Canaanite woman was a skillful and successful negotiator. By sacrificially and passionately praising the Lord, she negotiated the future and prospects for her daughter. Jesus could not but be touched by this woman’s stubborn faith because she praised him in the midst of and despite her troubles.

Be stubborn, know what you want, pray boldly and don’t give up!

God has a vested interest in answering your prayer: so that your tongue and your heart and everything within you may praise Him! Be stubborn, pray boldly, know what you want and don’t give up!

You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. Ps. 30:10-12

Application: Some of us feel that God has insulted us because of the situation he has us in. Perhaps you have been praying over an issue that seems not to be going away or getting resolved? Perhaps it is a desire to be married and over time Mr or Miss right have not showed up yet … or those who you’ve spotted or have spotted you do not fit the bill? Or you have been hoping for a job or job change?

Or it could be a wayward brother we’ve been praying for and they seem to be getting worse by the day. For another it may be a marriage that has been going south and the relationship sour. To another it is a business deal opening that would move you from being a hustler to a more stable mover and shaker full of business solutions and innovations. Perhaps you feel that God will not answer you prayer because you have a history; you come from the wrong group of people, or the wrong clan.

The focus of this story is the woman’s response, not what Jesus is doing. In a similar way the focus of your life story is your response not the circumstances around you. Are you going to walk away and say: ‘Okay I guess that you don’t want to do it?’ Or are you going to go at him, with ‘you are loving and you won’t push me away and even if you think I am a dog, you will not push me away’.

May be you have resigned yourself to thinking you don’t have the right to talk to Jesus; that God prefers certain people and you are not among them.

For you to pray boldly, there has to be a spirit in you that rises up and says ‘I know you are going to take care of me even if it does not seem like it.

This woman boldly engaged with Jesus until she got what she was looking for. She understood that prayer is about bold conversation and that if she kept at it, He had to answer. She overcame Jesus with her worship and humility and stubborn faith to the point where he could not resist her. Be stubborn, know what you want, pray boldly and don’t give up!

The Bible says “Then Jesus, answering, said to her, O woman, great is your faith: let your desire be done”.

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9 Responses to “Persistent Faith”

  1. Cathy Muthoni Says:

    Thank you for this. This is to praying boldly and holding firm to what I and others pray for. May you be immensely blessed.

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  2. This wouldn’t have come at a better time. Be blessed!

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  3. wow!great sermon!i definatetly need to instill stubborn faith in me…coz sometimes i do pray and find myself giving up!but no more am gonna be bold!!!

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  4. great timing. love the sermons

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  5. bt why did jesus call the lady a dog?

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    • The term ‘dog’ is metaphorically used – in those days one of the worst words of disapproval included the term ‘dog’ . Consequently the term ‘dog’ here is used to depict the Gentiles and the children’s bread depicts salvation- Jesus is the Bread of life. He knew that in comparing the Jews (who were envisaged as God’s children) and to the Gentiles/heathens (dogs) it would surely bring out the woman’s amazing faith. So, Jesus did not call this woman a dog in contempt but to demonstrate her faith for even the future generations. The Jews believed that the Gospel was to reach them first, in Mat 15:24 Jesus says that He was not sent for the Israelites only but for the lost sheep (dogs) meaning salvation is for all. However, I guess the most important bit is how the woman responds with so much humility and faith; that she is one of HIS dogs and that she did not mind having the crumbs.

      Note that the woman has no name meaning that it could be any of us trying to ask God to be saved in any problem as stated by Pst. Linda earlier. Biblicaly, the most successful positive change makers were once the ‘biggest’ sinners/dogs e.g.: David, Jacob, Paul, the woman at the well etc. Jesus calling this woman a dog also portrays how the devil harden’s people’s hearts in giving past sinners second chances because he knows the grace God has given them in impacting other peoples lives positively. At times we ask God for things and it feels like He just sits there and laughs at us and being human we turn away to do our own will. Instead this woman persists in asking for mercy as Jesus was her last resort despite knowing she was a dog/heathen/sinner. And this is how God works, He brings problems in our lives and it may feel like it’s the end of us but when we give up our pride and trust in Him salvation comes to our lives, similar to the quote that goes “A strong man believes that he is strong enough to face his journey but a man of strength has faith that it is in that journey that he will become strong.

      Similar boldness is depicted by the blind man at Jericho. The key to success is knowing when to move notice how this man HEARS not SEEING (many had seen and heard of Jesus but did not believe in Him) that Jesus is around and he yells Jesus son of David have mercy on me. He didn’t care how people tried to shut him up, a very important attribute of bold persons
      – they are impatient with negative thinking & negative acting people. Therefore Having boldness is as easy as it is written in the book of Joshua; have strength and courage for God is with us always, meditate and keep His word. Boldness is also confessing Jesus is Lord and following His ways despite our past sins because God never see’s failures but learners, we are not dogs but His sheep, listen to His voice.

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  6. Reblogged this on jaredngugi.

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  7. Wow! What an insight…God has a vested interest in answering your prayer: so that your tongue and your heart and everything within you may praise Him!…I pray that this may touch somebody somewhere as much as it has touched me. It is like having sight after being blind. God bless you Pst. Linda and may His word be true to you as well.

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  8. Fire in my spirit after reading this!!!!!!!Thank you

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