FAITH IS AN ACTION
By Rodney W. Francis
In the Barnabas Bulletin (No. 199) I included a sub-heading entitled FAITH IS AN ACTION. I have been meditating on this and the importance of our being active, faith-filled Christians. First and foremost, active as a result of our believing what God says to us. What God says to us becomes of no avail if we do not respond with active faith to demonstrate to God that we do believe what He says. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently (“search out, careful perseverance”) seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 ). That statement is then followed by a number of individuals who had faith in what God said to them, and what their faith in action accomplished. Only one married couple were mentioned: the parents of Moses who were united in their faith stand with regards sparing Moses’ life (Hebrews 11:23 ). Not one church is mentioned. That is because faith is an individual choice. We either believe God enough to step out in active obedience, or we pay “lip service” and do nothing.
It is our active faith in what God says to us that releases the promises of God to us in a real and manifest way.
Active faith is God and us working together.
THE HEALING OF THE LAME, CRIPPLED MAN
In Acts 3 we read of the miracle of the healing of the lame man at the Gate Beautiful. Peter and John were on their way to a prayer meeting (not on the way home), when they encountered that crippled street beggar. They stepped out in faith and declared: “’Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’ And he (Peter) took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them ~ walking, leaping, and praising God” (see Acts 3:1-9 ).
What did Peter and John have?
They had faith in Jesus Christ and knew the power and presence of the Holy Spirit that was now living inside of them.
They released what was within them to bring healing and deliverance to a man that was a total stranger to them.
When they were questioned as to how that miracle happened, Peter’s reply was “And His name (Jesus Christ), through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:16 ). The name of Jesus Christ and His living presence within them by the Holy Spirit gave Peter and John sufficient faith to make the miracle happen. If they had simply walked past the crippled man (being more focussed on the prayer meeting than of the needs of others), then that miracle would not have happened. Faith had to be released ~ and Peter and John released their faith to bring about a God-glorifying miracle. Praise the Lord!
The questions have to be asked:
How real is the word/voice of Jesus to you today? (Jesus’ sheep/disciples hear and know His voice – John 10 ).
Does it create a faith inside of you that is strong enough for you to action it?
True faith is an activating of what Jesus has spoken to us ~ it is an action, an act of obedience.
True faith produces results!
Time and again in the Scriptures the miracles of Jesus did not happen until after someone obeyed what He said and released their faith with an active demonstration, i.e. the turning of water into wine (John 2:1-11 ); the fish with the money in its mouth (Matthew 17:24-27 ). Our faith must be strong enough that we will demonstrate our belief in Jesus through active obedience. This is why knowing the voice of God is so important. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word/voice of God” (Romans 10:17 ).
THE FIG TREE
Jesus also taught and demonstrated to His disciples the power of faith when He cursed the fig tree and it withered up. The disciples were amazed at what happened. When the disciples questioned Jesus about it, this is what He replied: “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:21-22 ). Jesus was telling them that it was possible for them to say and do what He did! If these things were not possible ~ or not the will of God for us ~ then Jesus would not have taught this way. He desires that we know the God-factor that now dwells within us, so we can learn to be “workers together with God” (2 Corinthians 6:1 ). Our God is Supernatural and works in the miraculous. And so can we!
THE HEALING OF THE EPILEPTIC SON
In Matthew 17:14-21 , we read of the miraculous healing of a young boy. The disciples had prayed for him, but nothing happened. In desperation the boy was brought to Jesus and Jesus healed him! The reason is given by Jesus as to why the disciples failed to get the desired result: “O faithless and perverse (“unbelieving”) generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” Then the disciples enquired privately with Jesus as to why they could not cast the demon out. His reply was: “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
HOW MUCH FAITH DO WE HAVE?
Why did they not get the desired results? They did not have faith, but rather unbelief operating inside of them. Doubt and unbelief are the opposites to faith. Doubt and unbelief do not please God ~ FAITH does! We have to get rid of doubt and unbelief through believing God’s word/voice to us and then stepping out in active faith and obedience to do what He asks of us. Nothing supernatural will happen until we do! At least four times in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus told the disciples, “O you of little faith” (Matthew 6:30 ; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8). On one occasion Jesus was out in a boat with His disciples when a storm blew up. They panicked and were filled with fear. After Jesus rebuked the storm and brought about a great calm He said to His disciples: “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:34-41 ). Jesus was not speaking to unbelievers; He was speaking to His disciples! Why are we so slow to learn the principles of the Christian faith as revealed to us by Jesus Christ? Sadly, today, this is also true of so many professing Christians; fear dominates instead of faith. Faith will never operate where fear rules. Fear has to be faced and dealt with! God’s answer is that “faith works through love” (Galatians 5:6 ; 1 John 4 ).
Love conquers fear and allows faith to rise up within us so that we can live a God-pleasing life.
How much faith do we have?
According to the teachings of Jesus we only require a little faith to start with. As we learn to obey God in a practical way, then our faith will grow as the Lord gives us greater challenges to stretch our faith and so trust us with more and greater things to do in His name. “According to your faith let it be to you” (Jesus in Matthew 9:29 ). You can release your faith in the word of Jesus today!