Do you know someone who is an extravagant believer? I mean someone who holds back nothing as they expect God's hand in their lives. I don't mean someone who is foolish, but someone who knows that God can accomplish what we can never do on our own.
Are you such a person?
The Bible has lots of stories about people who believed extraordinarily. There were those around them who believed ... sort of, but I’m talking about people who believed in ways that seemed extreme.
One such story is in Luke 8:43-48. Let’s delve into that story.
To really understand it, I want you to put yourself in this story - in the crowd. See yourself in a huge throng of people following Jesus as He walked through the street. He had no bodyguards as He walked with His disciples. The crowd was pushing and shoving, trying to get closer.
They wanted to get a good look at this unusual man, who was becoming famous.
Suddenly, Jesus turned and said, "Who touched Me?"
His disciples were confused. "What do you mean? The whole crowd is pushing up against you."
Jesus said, "No. Someone really touched Me, for I felt the power going out of Me." And He turned and looked at the woman who had touched the hem of His garment.
In the crowd, there was a woman who had been sick for a very long time. She had a hemorrhage of blood which had lasted for 12 years. She had spent all of her money going to doctors, and no one had been able to cure her.
In fact, the Bible says that she had just grown worse.
Yet that day, when she saw Jesus, she was inspired. She had heard about Him and she thought, If I can just touch the hem of His garment, I shall be made well.
And that's exactly what happened. When she touched Him, the flow of blood stopped, and immediately, she was well.
Jesus then said something very different from our mindset. He said, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace."
Let this picture sink in. Jesus didn't even know that the woman was there until He felt the power go out of Him. Her faith had put a demand on the power within Him, and she had received her healing.
Let's fast forward to today. Our Savior is alive today. There is a crowd of people all around us, some believing in Him and some not - just like when He walked the earth. Within the crowd of "believers," there are a few - maybe just one or two, who really believe.
They are the ones who see His hand in their lives more than the norm. They are the extraordinary believers, and they see things happen that the others don't.
Now I don’t mean that Jesus loves them more. I just mean that these extravagant believers reach into His Word and see things which many others don’t. They are willing to go beyond the norm and expect God to work in a greater way.
So how do you fit in? Are you willing to believe for miracles in your life?
In your health?
In your family?
In your finances?
These are things you have to decide for yourself.
Don't look around at the crowd. They probably aren't believing that much.
Now I want to interject something here. For you to have great faith, you don’t pursue faith itself, you pursue Jesus. And when you get great faith, your confidence is not in your faith – it’s still in Jesus.
Any attitude of faith which doesn’t hold Him in the center has its root in pride, and you have to go back to square one and start over.
Several years ago, I knew a man who had been healed of a brain tumor. I had just recently recommitted my life to God, and I was beginning to learn about healing as it is recorded in the scriptures. I was really excited to witness this dramatic healing.
Well, several years passed, and in the midst of lots of teaching concerning faith, I began to notice pride rise up as this person and that one received their answers to prayer.
After about five years, the man who had received his healing, had the cancer return, and he died.
I was devastated. I had been so excited about his healing and I couldn’t understand why this had happened. So I went to the Lord.
He impressed upon me something very significant. It’s not your great faith that receives from Me. It’s your faith in a great God.
Anything else is pride, and will eventually produce a shipwreck.
It sounds like I am proclaiming two contradictory things. “Have extravagant faith, but don’t have faith in your faith. Have extravagant faith in God.”
Really, though, these two concepts are quite compatible – in fact necessary.
The key is: believe in God – and believe in Him extravagantly.
If you would like to have extraordinary faith, but think that you just honestly can't muster the faith, don't be discouraged.
Start reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and let the reality of Jesus be burned in your heart. He is looking for super believers to show Himself strong.
I want to be an extravagant believer, don't you?