No one can run fast enough, jump high enough, sing good enough, or drop money enough into the collection bag to impress God. This is because every ability we have and everything we own, comes from Him.
However, there is a portion of Scripture that runs contrary to the thought that God can’t be impressed by a lowly human being.
Two thousand years ago, a Roman centurion had a servant that he loved dearly, who was at the point of death. The centurion, therefore, sent Jewish elders to plead with Jesus to come and heal him.
Look at what they said about this soldier, in an attempt to impress Jesus. They said, ”that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, ‘for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue’” (Luke 7:4,5).
They believed that Jesus would be impressed for those two reasons and therefore heal his servant. He loved Israel, and he had build them a synagogue. In other words, this man really was worthy. But look at what the centurion said of himself:
Others may think we are deserving of God’s attention, but if we have caught a glimpse of His holiness and our own sinful condition, like Job, we will lay a hand on our self-righteous and sinful mouth and say, “I am vile.” The only thing we are worthy of, is punishment for our many sins. That sounds kind of harsh, but my point is, God loves us even though, in His holy eyes, the best of us are vile and undeserving. Jesus died for sinners not for saints (see Romans 5:8)—while we were not worthy. This means that we never have to strive to be worthy of His love—it shines like the warmth of the sun, and like the sun, its warmth has nothing to do with us.
Look now at what this unworthy centurion said and note the amazing reaction of Jesus. He said,
“But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” (Luke 7:7-9)
Jesus marveled at him. He was so impressed that He turned this Roman about as an example to the crowd, and said that He hadn’t seen such faith, not in all of Israel. Not in His Jewish brothers, who had no faith in Him. Not in the greatest of all, John the Baptist, who let doubt enter his heart. Not in His beloved disciples, who would eventually lose faith and forsake Him.
Faith pleases God. Without it, it’s impossible to please Him (see Hebrews 11:6). Isn’t it true that faith also pleases us? Doesn’t it warm our hearts when someone trusts us? I will never forget one small incident that for me is a mountain of a memory. When I first met Sue (we worked in a bank), I casually suggested that she should eat oranges because I believed the vitamin C would improve a minor health issue. The next day she had an orange in her lunch. I marveled. She believed in me! This wonderful young lady trusted what I said! That incident has warmed my heart for many years because it was the first spark I saw of her love for me. Trust in God is evidence of love for Him. Faith and love go hand in hand.
Scripture devotes an entire chapter in Hebrews 11 to those who moved mountains through faith in God’s promises. Their trust in His Word was evidence of their love. And every time we step out in faith and share the gospel with an unsaved person, we exercise trust in Him. We show that we love Him above our fears.
Every time we pick up a Bible and feed on His Word, we are loving and trusting Him. Each time we open our lips in prayer believing He hears our every word, we love and trust Him.
What a wonderful and mountainous thought—that unworthy though we are in our own righteousness, because of the cross, we can now make God smile by trusting Him.