Perhaps the greatest question concerning the promises of God is, “How do we get the promises working in our lives?” It should be obvious to anyone who’s been walking with God more than a few months that nothing is automatic. We must keep in mind who’s involved in receiving from God: God and the receiver. God doesn’t change. God’s word doesn’t change. So whenever a snag may arise, it’s on the receiving end. I know this isn’t popular talk, but like we’ve discussed at other times, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” Yes, there have been those who have misused the word of God for gain, but that doen’t mean we should discredit what God has said because someone may have misused it.
“Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21). Why “do not despise prophecies” and “test all things; hold fast what is good?”, because along with the real, Satan will imitate the truth with the false. Conterfeiters don’t conterfeit $70 bills. Why? No one will fall for the deception. They will conterfeit $100 bills, because they’re more likely to be received. Satan will throw a deception in with something true and see if we’ll take it.
The Woman With The Issue Of Blood
“Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, ‘If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.’
Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My clothes?’
But His disciples said to Him, ‘You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, “Who touched Me?”‘
And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction'” (Mark 5:25-34).
Jesus didn’t instigate this healing. In fact, He didn’t know who did; He had to ask, “Who touched My clothes?” It was the sick person who intigated her own healing. The others in the crowd didn’t receive anything though many were “thronging” Him. What was the difference between the one who was healed and the rest of the people?
- She believed Jesus heals,
- She believed that if she touched Him, she would receive that healing power, and
- Her healing was based on what she beieved, not on Jesus doing something. In other words, she didn’t ask Jesus to heal her, but she expected His healing power to work because she saw Him as the healer; that’s who He is.
So many are waiting for God to heal them when they should expect the healing power of the Messiah to work because they believe that “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17).
Contrast With Those Who Didn’t Receive
“Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So they were offended at Him.
But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.’ Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching” (Mark 6:1-6).
Jesus was teaching them and apparently He was teaching on healing. Plus they had heard that Jesus heals (“What wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!”), but they either didn’t believe that He would heal them, that He was the healer, or they expected Him to do it without their cooperation (“He marveled because of their unbelief).
As you can see when reading this, Jesus needed their cooperation for them to receive healing. The woman with the issue of blood was in agreement with the word of God, and Jesus didn’t even know she was there. She received the healing she desired and only a few with minor illnesses in Nazareth got anything. The people of Nazareth acted like Jesus couldn’t or wouldn’t heal them, but the woman acted like He could and would.
What was the difference between these two events? Faith.
Jesus said to the woman, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of you affliction.” And about the people of Nazareth the Bible says, “He marveled because of their unbelief.”
What Is Faith
Knowing the synonyms for faith can give us a good perspective of what faith is: Trust, belief, confidence, conviction, expectation. There’s no difference in what these words convey: trust, confidence, and expectation.
“Faith” is a noun and “beleive” is a verb. There was a time when someone was preaching a difference between faith and belief. That’s down right ignorant. In English we wouldn’t say, “I have belief in God.” We would say, “I have faith in God.” Also, we would say, “I believe you.” We wouldn’t say, “I faith you.” The words mean the same thing in English, but what word is used depends on the structure of the sentence.
Biblically, How Do We Put Our Faith Into Operation?
“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.'” (Mark 11:22-24).
I like how the New Living Translation says this verse: “Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, “May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,” and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.'”
You must really believe in your heart. Do we really believe it in our heart, or are we just hoping God will do something. We may really believe that God can, but do we really believe Jesus took (past tense) our infirmities and bore (past tense) out sicknesses? Is that what we give thanks for when we’re ill? Jesus said we need to verbalize what we believe in our heart. What do we say when everything seems against us?
Jesus didn’t say we must believe it in our minds or understand it in our reasoning. He said we must really believe it in our hearts. Our heart is the deep part of us where the Holy Spirit dwells, where our hope lies, and where we know beyond comprehension that what God says is true. That’s where we really must believe and allow ourselves to say what we truly believe whether we live or die. It’s that place where we know that God cannot lie, and we recieve His truth in spite of the natural circumstance. It’s that place where we’re faithful to the end, because we know that God will make all things clear in time.
Jesus said that it is after we believe it in our hearts that we will recieve it: “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it [past tense], it will be yours.”
There’s no mantra or magic formula. We start by believing in our hearts and saying what we believe out of our mouths.