The Faith of a Pagan?

Greg Laurie

Faith is often found in unlikely places. The Bible tells the story of a pagan woman whom Jesus commended for her great faith (Matthew 15). She was not raised as a Jew, knowing the Scriptures. She certainly did not have the privilege of walking and talking with Jesus as the disciples had. This woman had been raised in a godless home, in a home filled with idols. But with what little she knew about Jesus, she applied dramatic faith. We could even describe it as amazing faith.

One would have thought that the strongest faith would have come from one of Jesus’ disciples like Peter, James, or John. But it came from this pagan woman. The only other time Jesus called out someone’s faith as an example was when a Roman centurion—another Gentile—asked Him to heal his servant.

Sometimes if you have been raised in church, especially if you have been raised in a Christian home or went to a Christian school, you can take it for granted. And in the very place where your heart should be transformed, it can become hardened. It all comes down to the way you listen.

This is why Jesus often would say, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” You decide how you will react to what you hear. I hope you don’t go to church under duress or pressure, because your spouse wants you to or because your parents want you to. I hope you don’t think that if you go to church or a Bible study, you will earn favor with God. If you come with that attitude in a place where your life should be transformed, then you can get a hard heart and miss the point.

It is by grace, not the place, that makes people believers.

Taken from “Grace, Not the Place” by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).

Originally published May 26, 2011.