In the past 2 years since my mother got sick, I have seen 3 residents who shared a room with her pass away and one that was taken off life support. This made me wonder why there are so many psychics and faith healers claiming to do miracles, while many like these women waste away and die. Not once in all this pondering did I see myself as someone who can make a difference in this area. I mean, I don’t even consider myself a Christian anymore. Why would God or the Holy Spirit want to work through me?
Then one day, I got tired of hoping that someone would come along to do a miracle for my mom, so I picked a bible and started doing my own research. What I learned convicted the heck out of me. And nowhere did Jesus say that his teachings were limited only to people who have a “Christian” title. Maybe there was hope for me after all.
According to Webster, here are a few definitions for faith:
1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b
(1): fidelity to one’s promises
(2): sincerity of intentions
2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust
3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs
All of these definitions explain different aspects of what faith is, but from what I’ve read, neither seem to be enough to produce miracles, not even number 2. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe that believing and trusting in God is a necessary step. However, I found that you have to take it a few steps further then this. In Mark 11:22-24, Jesus says:
22″Have[a] faith in God,” Jesus answered.
23″I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (NIV)
As you can see, one of the first things Jesus expects us to do is to have faith in God. However, he goes on to add 2 extra steps that we must take in order to produce miracles like he did. He tells us:
1. We must not doubt (vs. 23)
2. Whatever we ask for in prayer, we must believe we have received them in order to have them. (vs. 24)
When I really sat down and thought about what this passage is saying, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m sure many of us who’ve read that passage before, skimmed past it thinking that we fully understood what’s being said here, but did we? Is it possible that the reason why the dead are not being raised and the amputees and coma patients are not being healed is because we don’t have the faith that’s being asked of us in this passage?
I mean let’s be real, how many of us can see someone with an obvious ailment right this second, such as an amputee, and pray for them with absolutely no doubt in our minds? Let’s take it a step further, how many of us can pray for that person and also believe that we have received what we ask for? Notice that I didn’t say believe that we will receive, but that we have received – big difference.
Believing that we will receive means we live with the hope of maybe one day getting what we asked for. We live in a world of “see it to believe it”. As much as this looks like real faith, it really isn’t. It’s the fake stuff, almost like a cheap imitation gold bracelet being passed for an18k bracelet. Looks similar, but just doesn’t quite cut it. It’s the type of belief system that says “although Jesus says that we will get what we ask for if we believe we have received it, he might be wrong. Let’s not expect so much from God and instead hope that someday God will answer our prayers, if He feels like it.”
On the other hand, believing that we have received means we are with God in the present. We live in a world of “believing in order to see.” This is like a bracelet with the purest gold you can find. You can approach any appraiser with it and you know you will receive it’s full worth. This is what I call real faith. With this type of faith, we trust in God and believe what Jesus said in verse 24. There is no room for doubt. We don’t question whether or not it’s God’s will to answer our prayers. We know that God knows our motives (James 4:3) and considers this when answering our prayers. With this knowledge, we simply check ourselves before approaching His throne. We walk away from our prayer knowing without a doubt, that we have what we asked for.
In The Hidden Power of the Bible by Ernest Holmes, he sums up everything that I am saying here in such a simple way. He writes:
If we lack wisdom, we are to come to the source of all knowledge and we shall receive it. But how are we to ask? In faith, believing! A double-minded man gets nowhere. How true this is! God can give us only what we can take, and since taking is a mental act, we can take only what we believe we already have. This is in accord with the teaching of Jesus, that when we pray we must believe we already have the answer to our prayers. (page 197)
At this point you’re probably wondering if I have attained this type of faith myself. Not yet. At least not in every area of my life. You see, my brain has been trained most of my life to see and then believe. Nonetheless, there is an area of my life that helps me to know that miracles do happen. I was born with a dislocated hip and had to endure 4 surgeries in attempt to fix it. After the last operation, the doctors saw it as an unsuccessful surgery and told my mother that I would not walk past the age of puberty. However, even as a young, impressionable child, I never accepted this diagnosis. For some reason that is beyond me, I still don’t believe that what the doctor said held any truth to it. And today, thirty something years later, I am still walking. Now, if only I can have this kind of unwavering conviction in every areas of my life. In addition to this area of my life, God has shown me time and time again lately that when I make up my mind on about something, it literally manifests for me. I just need to learn to be consistent.
So yeah, purifying my faith is definitely on my to-do list. There are too many lives at stake for it not to be. If there are any of you reading this who have reached the point of having pure faith, I would love to hear and learn from you. For the rest of you, I pray that this lesson will encourage you to aim have the type of faith that “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons” (Matthew 10: 8). I think the time is now for us to start doing the same things that Jesus was doing, if not better (John 14:12). What do you think?
Be safe and stay tuned for Lesson 2.