Nothing is going to be accomplished for eternity without faith. Only that which is done by faith will last. It is impossible to please God without faith (see Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the foundation of everything. Salvation will never happen without faith. Sanctification will never happen without faith. Heaven will never be ours without faith. But we need to be careful not to embrace foolish steps of ungrounded “faith.” We need to keep a balance between faith and the common sense God has given us.
The ministry of Gospel for Asia is a testimony to the power of faith in action. The Lord has done so many incredible things that we alone could have never made happen. What God promised to do, He will do. Faith is one of the subjects I like to talk about, because I see it working continually.
Oftentimes, people forget that we cannot respond beyond the measure of faith we have received from the Lord. When we hear incredible stories of God’s dealings with other people, surely it encourages our hearts to believe God for greater things. But in all of this, we must guard against the tendency to exercise “faith” not in line with God’s purposes. We cannot decide on something “good” we want to have happen and then presume God will do it if we keep on praying. We must not fall into the “name-it-and-claim-it” trap. God’s definition of “good” is so much greater than ours. He has our spiritual well-being in His perspective. For a lot of people in Christendom, faith has become a magic wand that will do wonders to meet certain wishes and wants. This type of “faith” is totally self-centered, leaving no room for God’s glory or the extension of the Lord’s kingdom in someone’s life. Hebrews 11 shows those whom God considered people of faith; their lives were spent continually for the glory of God, and they paid the price with their life.
When we read about David facing the giant Goliath and defeating him, and Abraham getting a son even though his natural body was incapable of producing such, and the wall of Jericho falling down, and about all the many incredible miracles recorded in the Gospels—the blind man seeing and the leper healed—we stand amazed to see how these individuals believed God and held onto His promises.
We need to realize that the faith they had was not something they could cook up. Rather, it was based on what they heard and learned about the grace and the promises of the living God. We, too, are given the challenge and encouragement to believe and have faith for God to do wonders on our behalf.
Let us be careful not to presume on God and take foolish steps, acting out of presumption. I pray for sick people often, and I see God heal and do miracles. I have seen people recover from illnesses for which there was no treatment. But does that mean I don’t take medicine? No.
I have a friend who is a well-known preacher, whom God used to do outstanding miracles. I was an eyewitness to what happened. The blind saw. Totally deaf people heard, and mute people spoke. I was right there when these things happened. One day this pastor told me that he had developed a heart problem. Up to that point, he had experienced continual healing in his life, and he was scared to go to a doctor. But the Lord spoke to his heart and said, “If you don’t go to a doctor, you are going to die. If you go to a doctor and get treatment, you will live.” So he went to the hospital, had surgery and lived.
I asked him why he thought this had happened. He told me that he believed the Lord wanted to show him that He heals through medicine and doctors. God wanted him to help other people see this, too, so that they were not led into blind faith. It is not God’s intent that people die because they refuse medical attention. My friend realized that the whole experience was God’s plan to help him understand the balance needed in this area.
God is the author and finisher of our faith. Faith is something He gives us through His Word and in proportion to our readiness to receive it. We cannot generate our own faith through the flesh and positive thinking. We need to have understanding so we can discern these things. It is absolutely essential to keep a balance between faith and common sense so that we do not fall into counterfeit faith.
© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.