So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.(Mark 11:22-25 NKJV)
“Faith begins where the will, or the Word, of God is known.”Kenneth E. Hagin
When we began this series of studies on healing, I told you that the Lord spoke to me as I was praying about the untimely deaths of several wonderful Christian people. It seemed to me there should be more we could do to help. He said, ““You have a hole in your doctrine concerning healing.” Over time, He showed me three areas where our healing ministry is often lacking. The first is in the area of understanding and internalizing our new identity in Christ. We have been looking at that for several weeks. (Healing Help 3-11) You are loved with an amazing love, You are not guilty, and you are holy. It’s who you are.
Now we turn our attention to another area where we have some blind spots: the subject of faith. Let’s be clear: I am a faith guy. God has been very gracious to heal me, take care of me, and allow me to serve Him by faith. Like most of us in this movement, I have a basic list of things that I believe need to be grasped in order to receive from God, particularly in the area of healing. Though there are many nuances and rabbit trails, the typical sermon series goes something like this:
- Faith comes by hearing: We all need to immerse ourselves in healing scriptures and sermons on faith and healing. Romans 10:17.
- When you pray, believe you receive your healing at that moment. To pray for the same thing again would be unbelief. Mark 11:24.
- You can have what you say. Begin to say that you are healed. Mark 11:24
- Be a doer of the Word. You should take actions that indicate you believe you are healed. This includes thanking God for healing you. James 2:26
I believe all these things. I preach all these things. I practice all these things most of the time. Yet, I have seen wonderful people who struggle with each of them. It is with great fear and trembling that I move on into examining some of the things that hold us back, that keep us from experiencing God’s best. Some of you will probably get angry, and that’s OK. Just keep reading. Over the next several lessons we will look at each of the four “steps” of the process and identify some of the pitfalls. Hopefully, God will show us some remedies: ways to help people avoid the pit or, if they’re already in it, find the way out.
Most of our problems lie in that part of ourselves that actually likes religious ritual – we want a series of prescribed actions that produce a predictable result. That is works, legalism, or whatever you might want to call it. It’s applying a formula dependent on my performance to get God to move. God doesn’t do it that way. Before we dive into specifics on each of the 4 “steps,” I want to point out three general truths:
- Works is not faith. “Works” means I am saying or doing things in order to get God to do something., That’s works. Saying you’re healed, singing and thanking God for your healing, praying in the Spirit, etc. are all wonderful if you believe you’re healed. My experience has been that many folks are doing these things to fulfill the formula in the hope that God will heal them. You can almost hear the question mark at the end of their proclamations of “faith.”.
- Hypocrisy is not faith. In our “faith” culture, we quickly learn that it’s not OK to tell people we don’t feel well, or that we are fearful, or that the symptoms in our body are distressing. We dread the lecture. We know the formula, we know what’s expected, so we just “keep a good report.” Pretending to be OK when you’re not, is not faith. It’s the definition of hypocrisy: pretending to believe something you don’t really believe. (Also note: Lecturing people for telling the truth isn’t helpful in building faith.)
- Being sick is not a sin. There is no cause for self-condemnation when it seems you’re not “succeeding” in being healed. The enemy is quick to tell you that there is something wrong with you, some failure on your part. Or maybe he whispers that the preacher that you listened to was wrong. Maybe you have some secret sin that you don’t even know about. Well, there probably is something wrong with you, you’re human. Every preacher is wrong some time, they’re human. When God wants to help you deal with unknown sins, He will let you know, not make you sick! None of these things have anything to do with your healing. Neither do they make you an inferior Christian.
Here’s the Point: God wants you to be healed. He has provided this blessing by grace through faith. You can’t work to get it. What others think is irrelevant to God. Even your own inadequacies have no bearing on your healing. Take a deep breath, forgive yourself and forgive all the ones who have preached at you. Healing belongs to you. God made it by faith so that it might be by grace. He wants it to be easy, not hard, so take it easy!
Next Steps: Go back over the three statements above and do a little personal inventory. You need to determine whether you’re in faith, or if you’re just going through the motions. First, what things are you doing or saying in the name of “faith” that you know on the inside are really attempts to get God to heal you? Second, what do you catch yourself doing or saying because you are concerned about what others will think? Who in your life do you avoid being honest with because you dread the sermon? Finally, where has your faith seemed to fail? How did that make you feel about yourself? About God? About other Christians? Be brutally honest with yourself. Write down your responses and take them into your prayer time. Discuss them with your Father. Ask Him for wisdom and direction to begin making adjustments. He wants you to be healed. If you don’t already have someone with whom you can be honest about these things, ask the Father to send you s wise friend to talk to. You shouldn’t have to do this alone.
So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.(Romans 4:16 NLT)
Pastor Virgil Stokes