I once read what I felt was a good "working " definition of faith.
It said this, "Faith is believing God's word enough to actually put it into action".
Just recently, I was thinking about some of the people in the New Testament, who had significant medical problems and who put their faith in Jesus into action and by so doing, were healed of their particular conditions.
I have no doubt that we can learn from these peoples' experiences, especially those of us with a genuine desire to be healed and made well.
I want to share the stories of three of these people in this month's blog.
In chapter five of Luke's gospel, there is an account of how a paralysed man was taken to a house where Jesus was teaching, by some of his friends, in order to lay him before Jesus.
Because of the crowd that was outside, they couldn't find a way to get the man inside, where Jesus was. They climbed up onto the roof, and let him down on his bed, into the midst of the people, right in front of Jesus.
In verse 20, Luke describes Jesus' reaction, in these words; When He saw their faith, He said to him, "Man, your sins are forgiven you."
This antagonised the religious Jews who were present. Some of these reasoned; "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone"?
Jesus perceived their thoughts and asked them whether it was easier to say, "Your sins are forgiven you", or to say, "Rise up and walk"? Then, He said to the paralysed man, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed and go to your house."
Verse 25 describes the man's response to these words; Immediately, he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on and departed to his own house, glorifying God'.
The key is in verse 20.....Check it again...... It starts off with the words. "When Jesus SAW their faith......."
We need to show God that we have faith. He doesn't want to hear us saying we have faith......He wants to see our faith in action. The Bible tells that faith without works, that is, without actions that correspond to it, is dead. (James 2;26).
Find a way to put your faith into action and you open the way for God's miracle power to be released into your situation. When this happens to you, like the paralysed man, when he was forgiven and healed, you will glorify God.
The second person whose situation I want to share with you, was a lady who had suffered blood loss for 12years Her story is in the 5th chapter of Mark's gospel, beginning at verse 25. The next verse describes how in spite of having seen many doctors and having spent all her money, her condition had become worse.
At some stage, she had heard about Jesus. While He was walking by, surrounded by a great crowd of people, she decided to put into practice an idea that had developed in her mind. This idea is described for our attention in verse 28. It was this, For she said, "If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be well." She proceeded to put the idea into proactice. She came up behind Him and touched His garment. Verse 29 tells us the result. "Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction."
Jesus, knowing that power had gone out of Him, turned around and said, "Who touched My clothes"? His disciples tried to explain that there were too many people around Him to be able to know. This didn't satisfy Jesus, who kept looking around to see who it was that had touched His clothing.
Knowing that she had been found out, the woman fell down before Him and explained what had happened.
Jesus' response to her was, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace an be healed of your affliction". (see verse 34)
Here's an important lesson you can learn from this woman's story.
When you pray, God can answer you by putting an idea into your mind. If you can believe this word from God enought to act on it, He will release His power into your situation. This will change your life, just as it changed this lady's life.
The final example I want to share with you, involves a man who was blind and was a beggar. As Jesus was leaving Jericho, where this man lived, accompanied as usual, by a great multitude of people, the man discovered that Jesus would pass by near where he was sitting. Immediately, the man began to cry out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." He clearly understood that Jesus was the messiah and was determined to attract His attention. He kept crying out to Jesus. Many people warned him to be quiet but he called out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me."
When Jesus eventually heard his cries, He stopped and commanded that the man be brought to Him. Some of the people called out to the blind man that Jesus was calling him. The man's response, described in verse 50, was to cast off the garment he was wearing, and to stand up on his feet to go to Jesus.
When Jesus assked him what he wanted Him to do for him, the man said, "rabboni, that I may receive my sight." Here's how Jesus responded; "Go your way; your faith has made you well." The Bible says the man immediately received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
Here's the interesting thing.....This man demonstrated his faith in Jesus in two ways.
Firstly, by the man's persistence in crying out to Him, acknowledging Him as God's Son.
To understand the second way Jesus saw that he had faith, we need to understand the significance behind the man casting off his garment, as described in verse 50.
Some historical sources explain that back in those days, beggars wore distinctive cloaks, so people would be able to recogne them as being genuine beggars. When this man threw off the item of clothing that identified him a beggar, when Jesus called him, he was indicating to Jesus that he did not expect to be a blind beggar after Jesus was finished with him. This action was an expression of this faith and it produced the result he sought.
All three of these stories are different, yet they have a common feature, don't they? There is a lesson in each of them that you can take advantage of and it is this, if you can develop faith in Jesus and put your faith into action, you can be blessed, just as each of these three people were, in their individual ways.
Can I encourage you to read through all three stories, pray for revelation from God concerning who Jesus really is, ask God to place thoughts He want you to have, in your mind, then let expectation that He will minister to you as He did to the people you have read about, grow and develop into faith that you can put into action, as God leads you. When God sees your faith, you can expect to experience His power.