I reposted an entry from a year or so ago recently about Faith. This is a continuation – albeit a year later – of the thought that inspired it.
I was reading James again, and it really hits me every time recently how we need to act on the Faith God gives us. It’s easy to say we have faith, but stepping out in that faith is another matter. It takes courage and the ability to look beyond fear and unbelief that the enemy would throw into our paths. It’s easy to overlook the possibility of the supernatural when all the natural is screaming “IT WON’T WORK” for all it’s worth.
I sit right now with bandaged feet because I have a lack of sensations in my toes as a result of something called “diabetic neuropathy”. Basically I ended up with massive injuries to my toes I don’t feel because of this condition. It pre-dates the diabetes diagnosis in my life, but I’m assured it’s sugar that caused the problem in my blood and consequently in my nerves. Mostly it’s not a problem as it hasn’t got worse since I began to understand that healing is part of the atonement, and God will not withold health any more than forgiveness. But my heart has to overcome a lot of years of denial, so it’s not as simple for me as “ok, I can feel now”.
I believe – since this “progressive” illness has halted in its tracks – that I will eventually see reversal and health return, I just need greater understanding to see the faith manifest in my life.
And it’s this manifestation that’s the issue.
Having faith alone is not worth a dime. Faith is dead – worthless – unless we act to demonstrate it. Jesus went around forgiving sins, and produced healing and release form demonic possession as a sign of the power He had. But as well as being fully God, we must remember He was fully Man as well. That means He needed to know in Faith that the prayer would produce action. Peter and the disciples had to learn this after the day of Pentecost, and before when Jesus had sent them out in His Name to heal and teach. Their faith, we can surmise from the lack of questions recorded by them on their return from the mission, was 100% successful, nothing left unfinished.
Ours can be the same, but we need to act on that faith we have. Jesus was received back into this world because of Faith powerful enough to reverse death itself in His own body. We have that same faith, and Jesus promised we would do greater works than He had done because He was going to be with the Father.
Now I’ll be happy to just equal what Jesus did. I don’t feel a need to surpass Him in acts of Faith, in fact the thought scares me. He raised the dead with a word. Three times, plus Himself. I’ll be happy if I can receive feeling in my toes!
But we are actually called to exceed Jesus’ works. He never spoke on television. He never used radio to broadcast. He was an average-looking guy from Nazareth who wandered around and spoke to people, healed their sickness where they had the faith to receive it – a central part of the process – and restored their souls. Exceeding Jesus’ exploits in this world is our mandate, our commission. He told us to.
But how do we do it?
The answer “by Faith” is inadequate to say the least. When Jesus returns from His transfiguration He rebukes the disciples for not being able to heal the boy with epilepsy/demonic influence. He tells them the type comes out only by prayer and fasting, but He doesn’t go off and fast for a week before He heals the boy – rather He heals him on the spot. That says something about the lifestyle Jeses calls us to rather than the strength of the demon. Jesus would often go off by Himself to draw close to the Father and recharge Himself spiritually. We know He fasted 40 days in the wilderness before He began His ministry here, but there’s no reason to believe He didn’t fast again during His Earthly life. There are many festivals in the Jewish calendar that may require fasting, which Jesus would have perhaps observed. We know not always as he rebuked the disciples of John the Baptist for their chastising of the disciples for not fasting at one point (Matthew 9:14-15), but He may well have fasted Himself as a way of staying close to God – and it’s implied when He reminds them in Mark 9:28-29 that their attempt to cast out the demon was unsuccessful because ““This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”” (NKJV). The inferrence is not that the demon was stronger, but rather that their life needed to include fasting and prayer to see the intimacy of relationship that allows the manifestation of such mighty works.
We often miss the understanding of the need to fast, and as a result our prayers become weakened, and we finish off with “if it be your will” as we pray, thereby saying “well ce sera sera” to whether the person is healed or released. Jesus never once left someone with faith to receive unhealed. He never once left someone possessed. Rather He healed and set free all who asked Him. There was never a question of timing. Never a question of learning. It was always done on the spot.
Our faith needs to produce the same results. We need to understand that our faith is completed by our actions, not generated by them. We lose sight of this and as a result we miss out on miracles every day.
I was healed of Gout in my foot. It literally crippled me during an attack. I couldn’t walk, drive or even bear to put weight on it. Until in the middle of an attack I rebuked it, and as a sign of my faith I stamped my foot – hard – on the offending joint. The pain left and has never returned. I took action. That was over ten years ago. I’ve never had the courage to do that with diabetes. As a result I have to inject myself once a day and take several oral medications to control it, but my sugar levels are normal now as a result.
Faith is completed by action. Faith in words only is worthless. Anyone can claim faith, but if there’s no action to back it up then there’s no evidence. Particularly in this 21st Century world where everyone and his dog asks for “proof” of things, then we need to follow Jesus’ example of using miracles as a means of proof to the true Power of the Gospel and the Word of God in our lives and in the World today.
So is faith insufficient?
Alone, yes. But add action to it and the power flows and the Love of God working through us will reach even the coldest of broken hearts and allow healing, love and recovery to Salvation in.
Be true to the Faith. Hold fast to the Confession of Jesus Christ, and the Power of His Word working through our hands to deliver His miracles to the World and fulfil His vision.