For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.(James 2:26 NKJV)
Don’t do something just because somebody else did. Don’t operate on the other fellow’s experience. Operate on what you know the Bible said, and operate on what the Holy Ghost is saying to you.Kenneth E. Hagin
I love to cook. Part of the joy of the process is tweaking the recipe to suit the feel of the day or to fit the tastes of specific people. A little extra salt, one more chili pepper, adjustments to fit the moment. The climate, the crowd, the occasion, the sourcing of the ingredients, even your own mood, are all variables to be taken into account. You must be willing to taste and see. While I usually have a recipe with specific ingredients and quantities, the leap from good to great comes when you taste and adjust in just the right increments.
A recipe is a formula that, if you follow the steps correctly, get all the ingredients in the right proportion, then a predictable result will follow. When it comes to receiving healing, we in the faith movement have a formula. You may know it by heart, but let’s review for a moment:
- 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 11:23
- 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.
Over the years I have seen and heard of many interesting things that people have done in an attempt to “act on their faith.” As a pastor, I saw healing ministers who would encourage people to throw their medications on the platform or the altar. We were blessed to see our share of miracle healings, thank God, but I also learned to have someone pick up and save all the things left on the platform. You see, there were always those who came back to find their insulin, their inhaler, or whatever (One man come asking what we did with his cigarettes!) They had zeal but not faith, and when the adrenaline waned, their symptoms returned.
This practice is based on three verses in James Chapter 2 which include the words, “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:17, 20, 26) Many precious people have asked themselves the question, “If I believe I am healed then what can I do to show it?” They attempt to stand without crutches, cancel their surgeries, quit taking their medication, refuse to go to the doctor, etc. The problem is that these verses are really not about receiving healing. The principle they describe is a good one. Our faith should certainly inform our actions, but in this context, the message was about changing the way we treat others. All too often, we have taken this principle, applied human reasoning, and wound up with presumption, not faith. People are hurt. Faith is weakened.
For years, I listened to Brother Hagin’s testimony of healing. I dutifully followed his example: I learn to meditate on the Word, say the Word, and act as if I were healed. Then one day I noticed he always mentioned that as he was laying on the bed of affliction, “a little voice on the inside of me said.” That’s when he threw his legs over the side of the bed and got up. In the midst of our faith battles, it’s imperative to teach folks to hear the voice of God. You see, the Bible never said, “Believe you receive, then make up something that you think would indicate you’re healed.”
In my own life, I struggled with back pain from the age of 20. It wasn’t constant, but it came regularly, and I battled it with the Word. When I was 40, I started having a dull ache in my back. It went on for days. I took the promise that His stripes had healed me. I spoke to the pain, to my back, to the muscles, and to the devil, and went on about my business as if I had no pain. (Grin and bear it faith) Then one morning, in a moment of discouragement, I said, “Lord, what’s the problem? I’ve done all I know to do, and my back still hurts.” As clear as a bell, the Holy Spirit said, “Quit drinking iced tea.”
You see, I was an Oklahoma boy. I drank iced tea all day every day. It kept me cool and had a good energy punch. Well, now I had a choice to make. I loved my tea! But the Lord said to quit. I quit. Sure enough, the next day I woke up with no pain. God knows things we don’t. He knew that tea contained lots of caffeine as well as other stimulants. All these things can have an adverse effect on the kidneys. That was the source of my pain, not my back. This illustrates what James had in mind when he said to ask for wisdom in James 1:5. Let’s read it in context:
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.James 1:2-5 NKJV
God promises to give you wisdom in the midst of the trial. When your faith seems to be stuck, you have prayed and believed and stood and spoken, but you still hurt, then ask Him what the problem is. He won’t get mad at you, He’ll tell you. When we take that “little voice on the inside” out of the life of faith, we’re left with a formula. A formula is just another word for works. The faith of God springs from relationship, and that means communication.
So then, what are the “works” that go with faith for healing? Let’s keep it simple. There are three things to consider when we want to act on our faith:
- Follow the instructions. If the promise you are standing on has instructions, then do what it says. Romans 10:9 says that if you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, then open your mouth and proclaim the He is Lord. 2 Corinthians 9:6 says that if you want to reap abundantly you should sow abundantly. Mark 11:25 says when you pray in faith, at the same time forgive others. Simple. Follow instructions.
- Say what you believe. Speaking the Word is always a work that goes with faith. Paul reminds us that, “we also believe and therefore speak, (2 Corinthians 4:13 NKJV).” (See Healing Help 16 for a deeper discussion of speaking) Giving thanks for what you believe you have received is never a bad idea.
- Listen to the Holy Spirit. Ask for wisdom and expect to receive it. God will speak to you if you need to make adjustments. (James 1:2-8)
Here’s the Point: Acting on your faith is not something you do to convince God that you believe. He already knows. The works of faith are a result of having believed. God didn’t promise to heal you if you don’t take medicine or go to the doctor. He said He had already provided your healing. You don’t have to earn it. If you’ve prayed and believe you have received, but you’re not seeing the results you expect, then you can do 2 things:
- Review the promise. If there are instructions associated with it, be sure you have followed them.
- Ask God for wisdom. He promised to give it to you, so ask in faith and listen for His response.
Next Steps: When healing doesn’t come immediately, stay steady. Take time to read and re-read the scriptures you are standing on. If there are instructions, follow them. Next, write down your questions and thoughts about your healing, including your doubts and fears. Ask God for wisdom to address each one.
The Bible tells us that faith speaks and that faith works by love. Speaking the word of God and showing the love of God are works that always go with faith. In addition, we can ask for wisdom in the middle of the trial, and God will show us if we need to do anything else. In the next several lessons we will look at practical ways to apply these concepts. Don’t miss them.
For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.Galatians 5:6 AMP
Pastor Virgil Stokes