October 3, 2010
Luke 17:5-10

You may remember the 2006 movie Facing the Giants. It is one of my favorite movies. Perhaps, that is because I so easily can identify with the movie on at least three levels. Coach Grant Taylor’s Shiloh Christian Eagles really stink on the football field: six consecutive losing seasons. My alma mater went 5-35 during my four years in high school! Everyone wanted to play us for homecoming.

The movie was filmed in Albany, Ga., through the ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church. My uncle and aunt have lived there for more than 30 years. The third level in which I identify with the movie, however, is by far the most important. Coach Taylor is being crushed by fear and failure; his wife is losing her battle to trust the Lord; an assistant coach is struggling with loyalty; one player is battling commitment and leadership; and another player has no confidence he can do great things with God’s help. They are facing giants that are coming against their faith. That’s me, and perhaps it is where you are.

Our passage today deals with two giants that seriously attack our faith: unforgiveness and pride. Although battling these giants is not as glamorous as public displays of faith such as healing or prophecy, they are critical and cannot be defeated without an infusion of faith. You could say our only hope for victory is not by facing the giants, but by faithing the giants.

Uprootable Faith (Luke 17:6)
This passage in intimately linked to Luke 16:1-4 where Jesus taught His disciples to forgive quickly and unconditionally. The usually obtuse disciples immediately caught the magnitude of this teaching and cried out for the faith necessary to face the giant of unforgiveness (Luke 17:5).

In answer to their request, Jesus gave an illustration that would have resonated with the disciples (Luke 17:6). They were familiar with mulberry trees and their intricate root system. Mulberry trees, when cut to stumps and left for dead, can continue to live and sprout new branches the next year. Thus, it is important to deal with the roots, not just the branches.

So, too, unforgiveness is difficult to kill by attacking that which is seen. Believers must go after the unseen roots. The strongest and deepest root feeding unforgiveness is a deficiency of faith. It is important to remember that forgiveness requires believing that God is greater than the offenses we have suffered. So, in what areas of your life has unforgiveness continued to root and grow? Pray for the faith to battle this unseen giant.

Dutiful Faith (Luke 17:7-10)
Jesus continued His teaching on faithing the giants by dealing with the very personal issue of pride. He did this by offering an illustration of a servant and master. No one would expect the master to serve the servant for merely carrying out his duties. So why do we expect honor and recognition when we employ our spiritual gifts in an act of serving the Lord? Faithfulness to our duties is not bound in a desire for recognition, but rather a satisfaction in honoring the Lord through joyful obedience.

Here’s a test: How has the Lord gifted you? Are you obediently engaging your gifts in service to the Lord? Would you continue to do so even if you received no recognition? If you answered “no” to either of these questions, then your problem is not discouragement from lack of recognition. It is pride! Somehow you have believed the lie that you are doing the Lord a favor. We are not serving for the appreciation of man, but for the applause of heaven.

Receivable Faith (Luke 17:5)
Uprooting unforgiveness and dutifully overcoming pride in our service are not natural to us. They are unseen giants that require a supernatural infusion of faith. These disciples already had the faith for salvation. Now they needed a special level of faith in their journey of sanctification. So, they cried out to the Lord to send this faith. Inherent in this request is the decision that they will receive and utilize what He imparts to them. The faith necessary to forgive and joyfully carry out duties cannot be worked up within ourselves, but only received down to us from our heavenly Father’s hand.

The Shiloh Eagles won the state championship. Coach Taylor realized the football title was a bonus. The real victory came when each character listened to the voice of truth and overcame personal giants. What giants are you facing? Maybe that is the problem: You are facing them (and probably alone). Let’s follow Jesus’ instructions and start Faithing our giants.

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