Faith is how we please God and faith is how we receive from God and faith is how we do what God wants. We need to believe that Jesus Christ is real, is on our side, and that He loves us. We need to believe in His work on the cross. In fact, to believe in Jesus Christ, according to Scripture, is our work. That is the work Jesus has for all of us. As you believe, the main work, the key work, then you start to – energized and motivated by that faith – do all the other works of a believer.
It is inevitable when you believe that you do the works of a believer as faith without works is dead. Living faith works, living faith does things, living faith moves. You can always see living faith as it is always moving and always producing. The work of God is that you believe (John 6.29), and this is something that we need to make clear to people – faith is work, not play. It can be very hard work to believe in Jesus sometimes.
If there was ever a man who should have just expected to have children easily, it was Isaac. His father had raised him with stories about his supernatural birth, and the covenant of God that was his covenant too – children like sand, children like stars. But that was not the immediate manifestation in his life – no he had to pray and entreat the Lord for his wife (Genesis 25.21), who was barren for decades, before Esau and Jacob were conceived and born. The blessing on its own was not enough – Isaac had to believe it in a way that produced prayer, words, movement, life. You need to have living faith!
Faith turns promises into facts. But you have to work the work of faith, you have to meditate on the Word, speak the Word, speak to the mountain, deal with unbelief, you have to pray and belief. A lot of Christians just pray, and do not belief, that’s like trying to run a marathon with one leg lifted in the air, just hopping and hopping and hopping and praying. It will not work. You must believe in Jesus Christ, that He will do what He has promised. You must eagerly expect God’s will to manifest in your life in a way that changes what you say and do. That is the work of faith that we all need to do.
Isaac had to do it to walk in the blessing of Abraham and so do you. Let’s look at a man in the New Covenant who had to add some faith to his walk:
6 On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. 7 The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.
8 But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. 9 Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?”
10 He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! 11 At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him. (Luke 6.6-11, NLT)
This man grabbed hold of his healing even though his hand was deformed! We need to not just pray but grab hold of our healing by faith, by expectation, by hope, by believing.
I love this story so much because there is absolutely no environment for healing here. It is great when there are other believers around, people who create a corporate expectation for healing. But it is not necessary! In this room, filled with the enemies of Jesus, filled with people wild with rage, filled with people watching closely with cynicism in their hearts, in this room Jesus healed this man!
In this scene the scribes and Pharisees are doing the work of their real father and master, the devil. So how did Jesus get this man to exercise faith? Through working! Faith has works. Jesus told the man to get up and stand in front of everyone. Jesus accepted the challenge that faith can work in the midst of doubt, in the midst of hatred, in the midst of rage, in the midst of cynicism. I have done miracles in the worst environments, so has Jesus, and so can you!
Then Jesus gives the man a faith-challenge: hold out your hand. That is not something this man can do. Faith is not doing what you can, faith is doing what you cannot. I have never just done what I can, I have been doing what I cannot – with money and energy I don’t have, but God has always come through when I stepped out. You need to learn to step forward and do the impossible. Jesus asked this man to do something he could not do – it was a faith-challenge.
Everyone of us gets faith challenges from Jesus – He tells all of us to do impossible things. The first impossible thing He told you was “You must be born again”. What a Lord and Saviour – He tells us “you must be born again”, when we cannot be born again. We can’t be born again but we must be born again. So we have to believe in His work and work at believing on Him, then we receive the new birth that we could never achieve.
It is the same mechanics in healing. This man could not hold out his hand, his arm was deformed. But, Jesus told him to hold out his hand. So he had to believe in the words of Jesus, believe in the work of Jesus, and do what he could not do.
It is remarkable how Jesus loves to give us impossible instructions, and this is equally true in the area of healing. Not just healing – He tells us to “Be holy” (1 Peter 1.16) and we can’t – not without believing in His work. You can’t do it, but He commands it so we must!
So Jesus makes a faith-challenge for this man – do what you cannot do. And he obeys Jesus and did it. He rose to the challenge, accepted the challenge and beat the challenge. Just like you can when the word of Jesus comes to you – you are healed by His stripes – so stretch out your hand, stand on your feet, eat that dinner, go for that run, get up and go to work, get out of bed. Whatever you cannot do, you must do! That is the faith-challenge.
Jesus said hold out your hand. He couldn’t do that, but he did do that, and his hand was restored. How did he do the impossible – the word of God is to believe on Him who God has sent (John 6.29). He believed God and did the impossible and received his healing. Do you know this man’s name? No, and nor do I, but he received his healing with ease when he decided to believe God and do the impossible, and you can too. You are no different from this guy, not at all.
With God all things are possible, and to him who believes all things are possible – so when you believe you move into the realm where God moves and God heals and God transforms. It’s the realm of omnipotence.
Today, think about impossible things, think about doing them, build an internal image of success – which is hope, then add some faith and substance to that hope by stretching out your hand and watching your miracle happen.