The ways we live have deep rooted paths into our hearts. But God is powerful and gives us strength to live differently.
5 The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’
6 He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you.
This mulberry tree mentioned is actually a type of fig tree that grows to be about 6 meters tall and, because of the dry landscape it grew in, it has a vast root system to soak up any moisture it could find. To be uprooted as the passage says would be very difficult…almost impossible. Sure, God could uproot a tree, even one with a giant root system, but I don’t think that is the point.
Before these two verses Jesus warns the disciples about leading people astray and then about forgiving people when they repent even if they keep doing it. As long as someone repents, they must forgive. The reply the disciples give confused me at first. They said, “Increase our faith!” But I think I might understand now. They recognized the ways Jesus was calling them to live were difficult…almost impossible. So they are essentially asking how on earth can we do this? Please help us! So Jesus’ reply to them is an encouragement. To me it is the same as what he says in Matthew 19:26 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
We are at times quick to anger and slow to forgive. There have been times where I really didn’t want to be kind and forgiving. Those are the times we have to call on God and ask him for his strength. The tree and its roots are the sinful ways in us. They are deep rooted and hard to remove. But with God all things are possible. God promises that he will give us a new heart if we allow him too.
That sounds lovely in theory, but it’s good to remember that it’s not an easy process to go through. It’s going to feel difficult and will pain us to forgive and love others when our natural instincts are to do the opposite; but God will give us strength. If God gave Jesus, in his human state, the ability to suffer through 40 days of temptation in the desert, and the cross, he can help us to deny the unkind ways of our hearts.
Head: In what ways are you unforgiving or leading people away from God?
Heart: Know in your heart that God will help you live the way he intends us to live. It will be difficult, but it is possible.
Hands: Who can you choose to love this week?
Prayer: Lord, my heart is broken, and I do not love the way I am meant to. I often know what I am meant to do, but stray from that path. Thank you for your grace in those times. Please help me draw from your well of strength when I find it hard to love. Grow in me a heart for others. Help me look to your Son, the one man who loved perfectly in all situations. Amen
A song to listen to: Yet Not I but Through Christ In Me City Alight
Living Church – Creek Road