There are many hindrances to faith, but when you are tempted, or a delay has come, stand still and wait upon God — HE HAS PROMISED TO DELIVER YOU, AND TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” I Corinthians 10:13.
The quickest and most effective way to hurt a mother or father here on earth, is to hurt one of their children. God is our heavenly Father, so Satan is not only seeking ways to hurt God, but he is constantly trying to do damage to God’s kingdom by hindering our service to God in some way.
God’s power is sufficient for anything we need — healing, salvation, baptism with the Holy Ghost, deliverances from bondages, miracle ministries, or anything else we need. BUT GOD’S FAITH FOR THESE NEEDS IS GIVEN TO THOSE WHO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, WALK IN HIS STATUTES, BELIEVE ALL THAT HIS WORD SAYS, AND CONSTANTLY ABIDE IN CHRIST.
As you study this lesson, let God’s Word speak to your heart and be on the alert for any appearance of Satan with his hindering devices.
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:9.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art
thou cut down to the ground, . . . For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: . . . I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14.
Satan was cast out of heaven and he hates God — THE ONLY WAY HE CAN HURT GOD IS THROUGH GOD’S CHILDREN HERE ON EARTH. KEEP AN EYE ON SATAN AS YOU SERVE GOD.” . . . Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh unto God, and he will draw nigh to you.” James 4:7,8a.
HINDRANCES TO FAITH
There are many hindrances to faith. Why is this so?
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” I Peter 5:8.
“ . . . whether ye be obedient in all things. . . . Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” II Corinthians 2:9b, 11.
“For some are already turned aside after Satan.” I Timothy 5:15.
Immediately after Jesus was baptized He was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. When He had fasted forty days and forty nights He was hungry. The devil came to Him and told Him if He was really the Son of God to command the stones to be turned into bread. Jesus told him that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Then the devil took Jesus up into the holy city, and put Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and tempted Him again. He told Him if He were really the Son of God to cast Himself down for it was written in the Word that the angels had charge concerning Him: that they would bear Him up in their hands lest at any time He dashed His foot against a stone.
“Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Matthew 4:7.
The devil took Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and told Jesus he would give Him all of these things if He would fall down and worship him (worship the devil).
“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10. There is a close connection between Jesus’ baptism and the temptation in the wilderness. By His baptism, Jesus dedicated Himself to the way of the cross. In the temptation in the wilderness the devil presented to Him ways of carrying out His ministry which would have avoided the cross.
Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights. He was hungry. At a very weak time in His life, Satan tempted Him to turn the stones into bread to appease His hunger. Two other temptations followed this one.
Student, if Satan quickly tried to stop Jesus’ ministry as soon as His active work was to begin, HE WILL BE AFTER YOU THE MOMENT HE SEES YOU IN ARE EARNEST WITH GOD ABOUT YOUR MINISTRY.
Sin prevents one from HAVING faith, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: . . .” John 9:31a. The only promises in God’s Word that apply to sinners, are promises to forgive sins if the sinner repents, and promises of judgement if the sinner does not repent.
The promises of answers to prayer are for obedient children of God.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7
Abiding in Christ guarantees the answers to your prayers.
Failure to abide in Christ may well be placed first in any list of hindrances to faith, for it annuls God’s guarantee to answer prayer.
Abiding in Christ is living IN the Word of God, BY the Word of God, and in joyful fellowship with God.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1.
Some ask of God and receive from Him. Others ask in the same words, and receive nothing. THIS IS NOT A MATTER OF CHANCE! THIS IS NOT A MATTER OF RESPECT OF PERSONS! THIS IS A MATTER OF FAITH!
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it on your
own lusts.” James 4:3.
This kind of asking can never be done in faith. There may be a desire to be well, and even a hope that it “may work,” but there cannot be faith, for there is no promise upon which faith can be based. There are those who desire healing in order to be better able to carry on their sinful pursuits. A dancer who became paralyzed because of an accident desired healing so that she might go back to her dancing. Simon the sorcerer (see Acts 8) desired to be able to impart the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, so that he might turn this gift to his financial profit. God does not give faith to such people. God gives faith ONLY to those who abide in Christ.
God’s formula for faith is:
“Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” I John 3:21, 22.
God’s power is sufficient for anything we need, but God’s faith for these needs is given to those who keep His commandments, walk in His statutes, and believe that ALL his words are true.
Condemnation is perhaps the greatest hindrance to faith, but anything that is of disobedience, of ungodly or of unholy nature, is a hindrance to faith.
Unscriptural relationships in the home can be a hindrance to faith, In I Peter 3:1, 7, Peter exhorts husbands and wives in regard to their relationship:
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” I Peter 3:1,7.
Unscriptural attitudes toward our fellow-men outside the home can also be great hindrances to faith.
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12.
“ . . . Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,” Luke 6:27b.
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” Romans 12:10.
“ . . . love as brethren, be pitiful (full of pity; tender; compassionate;) be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: . . . let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” I Peter 3:8-12.
“The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Proverbs 11:25.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: . . .” Proverbs 18:24.
An unforgiving spirit hinders faith.
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14, 15.
“ . . . Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21, 22.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32.
Many professed Christians live under condemnation because they refuse to give God the tithe that He declares to be His.
“ . . . all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord.” Leviticus 27:30.
People know that the Bible teaches tithing, that a tenth of their income belongs to God, yet they refuse to walk in the light of God’s Word. THESE PEOPLE ARE CALLED THIEVES.
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we
robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, . . .” Malachi 3:8,9. Do not expect God to give you His faith if you are robbing Him of His tithes and offerings. ASK GOD’S PARDON FOR BEING A THIEF, AND BECOME A CONSTANT TITHER, AND THEN GIVE HIM OFFERINGS ABOVE THE TITHE.
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10.
The law required tithing, but THE TITHE IS OLDER THAN THE LAW!
Another hindrance to faith is found in James 5:16:
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. . . .” James 5:16.
Many people are quick to see the faults of others, but are blind to any faults of their own. With this spirit, one cannot have faith for healing, for deliverances of any kind — God will not give faith to a self-righteous person.
Have you ever wondered why people pass through many healing lines and are not healed? Few people claim to be perfect, yet when confronted with the idea that a confession of their faults may be necessary before they can get their healing, there is usually not one fault which they are willing to confess. These people need to call in help — according to James 5:14, the elders of the church should be called in — and with much heart-searching and prayer, they should trace out in their lives the reason the healing has not taken place. Then, when God has revealed to their honest and seeking hearts the cause of their failure to be healed, they should confess their faults as they feel God would have them to do. (Whether it is to confess these faults to God alone, or to the persons that have been wronged, or to confess them to the elders of the church). Then they should ask for the prayers of those praying for them, that these faults may be overcome. Then, in answer to the united prayers of the sick, and the elders who are praying for them, SATAN CAN BE DRIVEN FROM THE FIELD, AND A DOUBLE VICTORY WON. THE BONDAGE OF BOTH SIN AND SICKNESS CAN BE BROKEN!
Unwillingness to confess faults usually indicates a unwillingness to forsake them, or else a lack of confidence in the power of God to deliver from them. This is a
great hindrance to faith.
We are warned in God ‘s Word that in the last days there shall be those in the world “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: . . .” II Timothy 3:5. This applies to churches and ministers who make loud professions of godliness, but deny that there is any supernatural power in operation in the world today. These churches and ministers offer water baptism, church membership, and advise people to make good resolutions instead of being born again, and having a change of heart take place.
One such religious man, Nicodemus, came to recognize the futility of his own doctrine and sincerely sought God’s way, “. . . Ye must be born again.” John 3:7. Some who call themselves “Fundamentalists” accept this much of the miracle-working power of God, but no more. They agree with Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; . . .” but they deny the power of verses 17 and 18. “ . . .these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:17, 18.
These people gather together in churches and sing their hymns, preach their sermons, pray their beautiful prayers, and some even baptize in water, and take the Lord’s Supper. They have all the outward form of godliness. They are recognized by the world and by the government as “the church,” but they absolutely DENY THE POWER JESUS PROMISED TO LEAVE WITH THE GODLY. God says, “ . . .from such turn away. “II Timothy 3:5.
When the spark of faith has begun to glow in the hearts of many, they refuse to heed God’s warning to “turn away” from churches and ministers who “deny the power thereof,” and their faith begins to dwindle away. God tells us in Hebrews 10:25, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; . . .” But we should turn away from those who do not believe in the miracle-working power of God and deny that there is any such power, and assemble ourselves together with others of like precious faith, who will encourage and guide us to an ever greater faith.
Your personal faith will not survive in an environment that denies the power of God. You will be turned away from the truth if you continue in the company of people like this.
Search the Scriptures for yourself. Build your faith upon the Word of God, and then get into a church that has done the same thing. The faith of many people is
hindered because they have failed to heed this important warning of God’s Word, “ . . . from such turn away.” II Timothy 3:5. If your minister or church denies the miracle-working power of God, heed God’s warning and “turn away.” If you do not heed this warning from God’s Word, this will be another great hindrance to your faith.
One of the most common hindrances to faith is found in the misconceptions regarding the teachings of God’s Word. These misconceptions are largely due to erroneous teaching by those who do not possess the power of God in their own lives, and make excuses for themselves by adjusting the teaching of the scriptures to their own thinking. Peter tells us how these people wrest the scriptures to their own destruction:
“ . . . as our beloved Brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” II Peter 3:15, 16.
Misconceptions of God’s Word causes faith to waver.
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” James 1:6,7.
Misconceptions of the Word of God have been taught for doctrines, but they cannot be proven by the Bible. They have become traditions of men that make the Word of God of no effect:
“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. Mark 7:13.
Jesus said of those who taught in this way, “ . . . in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Mark 7:7.
One of the most common misconceptions of the Word is the idea that some people cannot be healed because they are sick for the glory of God. This teaching is based upon two misinterpreted incidents in the ministry of Christ.
When Jesus was told that Lazarus was sick, he replied, “ . . . This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”
When Jesus finally came to Bethany, and was met by the sisters of Lazarus, He certainly was not met with praise, nor were they glorifying God nor His Son. The Son of God was glorified WHEN LAZARUS CAME FORTH FROM THE TOMB.
“And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:43,44.
In the other case of the misinterpreted incident in the ministry of Jesus, some of Jesus’ disciples questioned Him concerning a man born blind. They asked whether the man had sinned or his parents. Jesus answered, “ . . . Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” John 9:3.
This verse does not mean that this man nor his parents had never committed a sin, for we are told, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. This verse means that the blindness of this man, which was unusual, was not a direct punishment of unusual sin, but was an occasion for the works of God to be made manifest in him. God was glorified when those who had known him to have been born blind, SAW THAT SUDDENLY HE WAS ABLE TO SEE.
Not once in all His earthly ministry did Jesus ever command any person be to sick, although He commanded many to be well, and healed them with His Word. Not once did a sick person come to Him asking to be healed and received the answer, “It is God’s will for you to remain sick for His glory.”
There is no place in the Word of God where sickness is declared to be an evidence of God’s favor. The reward of obedience is health and healing.
“ . . . if thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” Exodus 15:26.
A glaring inconsistency in those who hold the view that sickness may be the will of God for some, is that, while they do not come to God for healing, they seem to feel no hesitancy in doing all they can to ease pain and restore health. If sickness really is God’s will for them, should they try to escape it?
Sickness IS NOT the will of God for His people. IT IS THE WORK OF THE DEVIL. It is the will of God that His people prosper and be in health — ”Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” III John 2. So, God’s people should come to Him for healing, or for any other need (if they have paid the price for God’s faith) WITHOUT WAVERING—IN FULL ASSURANCE THAT OUR PRAYERS WILL BE HEARD AND ANSWERED.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” I John 5:14, 15.
According to the testimony of God Himself, Job was a perfect and upright man, “ . . . one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.” Job 1:8. No divinity was attributed to Job. No superhuman perfection was attributed to him. Any Christian can and should be at least as perfect as Job was, for our opportunities, privileges, and power are far ahead of his. Jesus left us this commandment to be “ . . . therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. The Scriptures, which Job never had the privilege of reading, because he lived before they were written, were given “That the man of God may be perfect, . . .” II Timothy 3:17.
We may need to say with Paul, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I am also apprehended of Christ Jesus . . . but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God . . .” Philippians 3:12-14. Our goal should be kept before us at all times. PERFECTION IS THE GOAL! NEVER MAKE EXCUSES FOR IMPERFECTIONS.
God accounted Job as perfect, because he sincerely feared God, and eschewed (shunned, found no pleasure in doing) evil. However, there were reasons enough in Job himself for his trouble being allowed to come upon him. God does not submit His faithful and beloved followers to the tortures of Satan for no better reason than to merely prove a point to the devil. Job’s faithfulness WAS proved, and Satan’s boast proved empty, but a far greater issue than that was involved in the trial of Job. EVEN A PERFECT MAN CAN KEEP GROWING IN FAVOR WITH GOD.
While Job was commended for his fear of God, that was not Job’s ONLY fear.
When he found that he was bereft of family and possessions, suffering in body, scorned by his wife, misunderstood and accused by his friends, he cried out, “ . . . the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” Job 3:25.
Fear is not faith. Faith is our protection against sin and sickness. Faith is our defense when these enemies lay hold upon us. Satan saw it as a hedge around Job, through which he could not penetrate, but fear, being opposed to faith, makes an opening in the hedge through which Satan may enter. Job is not to be condemned for his attitude, for he had not the Scriptures we have today. His knowledge of God and His dealings with Job came only from oral tradition, and an incomplete direct personal revelation of God. (The book of Job is generally recognized as the first written book of the Bible.) Since “ . . .faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,” it is little wonder that Job should have failed to have faith sufficient to protect him from Satan’s attack.
Having God’s wonderful promises so easily accessible, WE SHOULD GRASP THEM BY FAITH AND STEP FORTH INTO THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD.
God did not afflict Job — Satan did, but with God’s permission.
“So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” Job 2:7.
In his desperation, Job examined his attitude toward God, and through the struggles of his soul, he found a new relationship with God. He had feared God; he had striven to do right; and he had avoided evil. But now, when his wife urged him to curse God and die (“ . . . Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.” Job 2:9), and his friends accused him of every kind of sin (calling them by name), Job discovered that only one thing remained a firm anchor in his fast changing world. In his anguish he cried, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him . . .” Job 13:15. GOD COULD NOT DISREGARD SUCH FAITH AS THAT. Immediately God began to work toward Job’s deliverance. He revealed Himself to Job in such a splash of splendor as has seldom been equaled in His dealings with any one man. In the light of this revelation, Job had an opportunity to compare his own righteousness with that of his Maker, and found himself sadly lacking. He then approached God in a spirit of true humility and repentance mixed with faith, “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:6.
Job was even willing to pray for his accusers, and “ . . .the Lord turned the
captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: . . .” Job 42:10.
After Job had repented of his self-righteousness and lack of trust, proven his humility and forgiveness by praying for his friends, and God sets him free from the CAPTIVITY OF SATAN, we see Job restored to all his former status, plus even more than he had at the beginning. He lived another one hundred and forty years, and there is no record that he ever had another boil to annoy him in all those years.
Student, if you have been down in an ash heap moaning over your fate, and blaming it on God, or some one else, TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT JOB –PLACE YOUR TRUST IN GOD, as Job did, THOUGH IT MAY SEEM TO LEAD ONLY TO DEATH. Start searching the Scriptures, reading them prayerfully, and as though you had never heard those explanations men have added by their traditions. Look to God HIMSELF to find the cause of your sickness, other bondages, or lack of faith, AND WHEN YOU HAVE FOUND THE CAUSE, GET RID OF IT. Like Job, you will be set free, for GOD IS THE SAME TODAY AS HE WAS IN JOB’S DAY.
Some people even say Paul had his own private physician, Luke, who traveled with him to watch after his health. Luke HAD been trained as a physician, “Luke, the beloved physician, . . .” Colossians 4:14, but there is as much reason to declare that Jesus took Matthew with Him as His private tax collector, as to say that Luke was chosen to go with Paul because of his skill as a physician. There is no record in the Scripture that Luke ever treated Paul or any sick person in any place that they visited, in the capacity of a physician. As the author of his writings in the Bible he records many miraculous healings. NEVER ONCE IS IT MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE THAT LUKE OR ANY OTHER PHYSICIAN APPLIED ANY MEDICAL AID AS SUPPLEMENTAL TO THE MIRACLE-WORKING POWER OF GOD. No doubt, Luke, being a physician, was especially impressed with the ease with which Christ and His Spirit-filled disciples relieved diseases that the physicians had spent much time and effort trying in vain to heal. In fact, it is Luke who records that “ . . .a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.” Luke 8:43,44.
Faithful physicians have relieved much human suffering, but there are many people in the world today who have never heard or learned of the healing power of God, who can keep all the physicians busy, fully justifying the existence of physicians in the world. As Christians, we should know THE GREAT PHYSICIAN, wait at His feet and find relief, FULL AND FREE, WITHOUT MONEY OR PRICE, WITHOUT MEDICINE OR SURGERY, that our bodies may be well and strong for
If your body needs healing wait upon God — heed His directions and carry out His commands and you will be healed. If there is ANY need in your life, YOU CAN HAVE FAITH TO BELIEVE GOD FOR THE ANSWER — WAIT UPON HIM — WHEN HE SHOWS YOU THE PRICE YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY TO HAVE THAT FAITH — PAY THE PRICE REQUIRED AND RECEIVE FROM GOD THAT WHICH YOU NEED. Examine yourself according to the Word of God. FIND WHAT HE SAYS TO DO AND DO IT. Believe the Word of God — do not believe the traditions that have been built up around the Bible. As you pay the price God asks you to pay, the flame of your faith will be made to burn brightly, no longer wavering, and you may ask God WHATSOEVER HE HAS PROMISED AND IT SHALL BE DONE UNTO YOU!
Jesus once said to a man whose faith was weak, “ . . . If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23.
The man replied, with tears, “ . . . Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Mark 9:24.
Jesus immediately helped his unbelief. His faith sprang up. He received the faith God gives, and the thing he desired became a reality. HIS SON WAS DELIVERED FROM SATAN’S POWER.
REAL FAITH WORKS! “ . . .faith without works (faith that doesn’t work) is dead.” James 2:20. REAL FAITH BRINGS RESULTS, FOR GOD IS FAITHFUL AND HE HAS PROMISED THIS TO US. Real faith is NOT HOPE — IT IS REALITY!
Student, if you measured up to all that God requires of you, and your faith is still weak it is because you have not asked for it- “ . . . ye have not, because ye ask not.” James 4:2.
Two blind men were sitting by the wayside, and hearing that Jesus was passing by, began to cry out, saying, “ . . . Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.” Matthew 20:30. They were speaking to the right person, but they had not really asked Jesus for anything. Jesus asked them, “ . . . What will ye that I shall do unto you?” Matthew 20:32. When they asked Him to open their eyes that they might see, He immediately opened their eyes –
“So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately
their eyes received sight, and they followed him.” Matthew 20:34.
When you come to God, state your need definitely, God’s promise is, “ . . . whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13.
A man came in the healing line in one of my services who was deaf in one ear, blind in one eye, and had rheumatism in his knees. As he came, he asked for deliverance for his ear, which had been totally deaf for a number of years. As prayer was offered and Satan’s power was broken, he received his hearing. This so inspired his faith that he had courage to ask for healing for his eye. When this prayer was answered, his faith was strengthened yet further, so that he asked for deliverance for his crippled knees and received it. There was no real new need in the man, nor any new willingness on God’s part to heal Him, but as each need was presented definitely, God was true to His word, and DID EXACTLY WHAT WAS ASKED IN JESUS’ NAME.
The failure to make a definite request is often due to a lack of faith. When a person comes to God believing that whatsoever he asks he shall receive, will naturally ask for the things he desires.
The central secret of answered prayer is PRAYING IN GOD’S WILL. If you are not sure it is God’s will for you to have what you’re asking, YOU CANNOT ASK IN FAITH. No one can persuade God to do anything contrary to His will.
People who feel that they should add, “If it be thy will,” while asking God for something, quote as an example the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane, When He cried out in agony of soul,
“ . . . Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42.
Jesus was not praying for something God had promised. He was not praying with a desire to change the circumstances. Although this prayer was prayed by the Son of God Himself, IT DID NOT BRING ABOUT THE CHANGE SUGGESTED IN THE PRAYER. This was never intended to be a prayer to change things. It was simply the agonizing cry of a struggling soul.
How different was the triumphant prayer at the tomb of Lazarus.
“ . . . Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou
hearest me always: . . . Lazarus, come forth.” John 11:41-43.
It is right that we should be concerned to know the will of God. When we pray, we should pray in accordance with His will. When we pray, for instance, for healing, we are praying for that which God has already revealed to be His will. Why, then, would we say, “If it be thy will?”
We read in James 4:13,15,
“Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: . . . For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
In this case, God has not promised, nor revealed His will in the matter, but God has promised and revealed His will in regard to the healing of His people. WE NEED NOT SAY, “If it be thy will.” Instead, we should say: “I thank you, Father, that you have revealed your will concerning this matter in the Word, and I know that I am asking in your will.”
The “if” in many prayers not only denotes doubt, but it is a loophole through which many hope to escape any possible charge of unbelief or unconfessed sin. If healing fails to come, the person who prays thus can always excuse himself by saying it just wasn’t God’s will to heal him.
A person’s lack in understanding of how God deals in regard to healing is the cause of many remaining sick. The person who has already set a pattern in his mind that he feels is the only way God can or will work is in danger of losing confidence. He may even get the feeling that his prayer has not been heard or will not be answered when the answer doesn’t come according to his mental pattern. And since healing can only come by faith, it is easy to see the importance of understanding God’s methods of dealing, so that faith may not be shaken.
Many people have been heard to remark that if God does the healing, it will be instantly complete. The fact that this is merely man’s theory, and not God’s constant pattern, can be readily seen from the fact that Christ Himself did not always heal in this way. Many times Christ did heal people instantly, and many healings are instant and complete today, but other patterns apparent today were also apparent in the ministry of Christ.
A certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum, met Jesus and “ . . . besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the
point of death.” John 4:4 7. Jesus said unto him,”
“ . . . Go thy way; thy son liveth.” John 4:50a.
The nobleman believed Jesus and went his way. As he was going down, his servants met him, and told him his son lived. He inquired of them the hour when he began to amend. When they told him the hour the fever left the child, the father knew this was the same hour Jesus had told him his son would live.
Although the boy was truly healed, it was not instantly done, but the fever left, and he “began to amend”, and was on the road to recovery.
In many cases today, the cause of the disease is driven out, yet some time is required before normal processes of growth bring about a state of full and normal well being.
In dealing with people about their healing, we need to know there are two dangers involved in failure to understand this truth about healing. First, the person may lose confidence in the healing power of God, due to disappointment in failing to be made perfectly whole as he had expected. The loss of confidence opens the door for Satan to return and take possession again of that which had been taken from him.
“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first . . . .” Matthew 12:43,45.
This also accounts for many who testify at one time to having received a “partial healing” and then in a little while are as bad, or worse than they were before.
There is the danger of accepting the partial deliverance as being all that God can, or will do and failing to continue to stand against the devil by faith until the healing is complete. If Satan cannot prevent a healing altogether, he will back up one step, and try to hinder a person from receiving ALL that God intended for him to have. God’s plan for healing is COMPLETE HEALING, whether it be instant or a convalescent type of deliverance.
Student, in dealing with people for their healing, do not allow them to be discouraged if they do not receive instant healing, but encourage them to keep
praising God by faith for that which has already been done in their behalf. Encourage them to praise God, not only for the improvement they may feel, BUT ALSO FOR THE STRIPES WHICH JESUS BORE AT THE WHIPPING POST IN JERUSALEM TO PAY THE PRICE FOR THEIR DELWERANCE. Tell them to keep right on looking to Jesus until the manifestation of their deliverance is complete.
As Jesus entered into a certain village, ten men who were lepers stood afar off and “ . . . lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Luke 17:13.
“And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.” Luke 17:14.
Jesus did not tell them they were healed right there on the spot, but He did tell them to go shew themselves to the priest, which they had no right to do UNLESS THEY WERE HEALED.
As they started to the priest in obedience by faith, doing the thing they could not do unless they were healed (although as yet there was no outward manifestation of their healing), THEY WERE HEALED.
The healing of the lepers were not instant healings, BUT THEY WERE GENUINE HEALINGS BY THE POWER OF GOD. THESE MEN TOOK JESUS AT HIS WORD, AND IT DID NOT FAIL THEM. They acted their faith, while it was not yet seen. As a result, in a very short time they SAW WHAT THEY HAD FAITH TO BELIEVE.
Faith in God is more than faith in His promises. It is also faith in His commands.
On one occasion, Jesus spoke to a man who had suffered with an infirmity for thirty eight years, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” John 5:8. Immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked.
In Acts 3:2-8, a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb, was carried and laid daily at the gate of the temple which was called “Beautiful” to ask alms of them that entered into the temple. Peter and John were about to enter the temple one day, when this man asked an alms. Peter said,
“ . . . Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of
Jesus Christ of Nazereth rise up and walk.” Acts 3:6
Peter took the man by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength, and the man leaping up, stood and walked, and entered the temple with Peter and John, walking, leaping, and praising God.
God’s command is not always a simple test of faith, it may be a test of obedience as well.
In John 9:1, Jesus met a man who was blind from his birth. He made clay and anointed the eyes of the blind man with it, and gave the man a command: “ . . . Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” John 9:7.
The blind man’s eyes were opened when he obeyed the command of Jesus. Healing, or a deliverance of any kind, may be down the road of obedience.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. . . .” James 5:16.
Secret sins can destroy faith and hinder a person from receiving healing and other deliverances as well. In my ministry many people come to be prayed for but receive nothing until they become humble and willing to confess their faults, according to the scripture.
Many people have wronged others and have been unwilling to confess that they have been wrong. With such rebellion in their hearts they cannot have real faith for deliverance. God promises that if these faults are confessed, both the sin and the sickness shall be taken away.
One day, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it produced no fruit. “ . . . No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.” Mark 11:14. Apparently there was no change in the appearance of the tree at the moment. But the next day when Jesus and His disciples passed again that way, Peter was amazed, and said to Jesus . . . “Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst, is withered away.” Mark 11:21. In this short time it had “dried up at the roots,” and was withered away. Many diseases are healed in the same way. The “root” of the disease is cursed in the name of Jesus, and no matter what the disease may be, whether goiter, cancer, tumor, or some other sickness, IT MUST EITHER PASS FROM THE BODY, OR DISINTEGRATE INTO THE BLOOD STREAM AND BE CARRIED AWAY. It is easy to understand how a person could be truly healed, and yet continue to suffer
some discomfort during the time this process is taking place. The suffering may even be more acute for a short period of time, than it was before, as this dead foreign tissue is being separated from the body and carried away. At this point many cast away their confidence because they do not recognize what is happening, and give testimony to the fact that they are not healed. Fear, loss of faith, and acceptance of Satan ‘s suggestions in regard to the case, opens the door for Satan to replace the very thing that had been cast out by the power of God. The healing is lost before any of its benefits are recognized.
Although many cases of cancer are healed in this way, I have known many instances of cancer disappearing instantly.
God has no set pattern whereby He heals or brings other deliverances. He performs miracles in the way that brings most glory to His name. You must learn, Student, and be able to teach others, to ACCEPT DELIVERANCES JUST AS GOD GIVES THEM. If it is instantaneous, shout the praises of God and go on your way rejoicing. If it is gradual, thank God for your healing, or deliverance, just the same, and look forward joyfully to the time when you will be fully restored to health. If God has cursed the root of a disease, as He did the fig tree, DON’T LET YOUR FAITH WAVER, AND TEACH OTHERS TO HOLD STEADY, KNOWING THAT IT IS FAITH THAT MAKES ANYONE WHOLE. But if God has commanded you TO GO, TO DO, OR TO SPEAK, do not think that time alone will mend matters — BE OBEDIENT TO GOD, AND THE VICTORY WILL COME!
MEMORY WORK FOR THIS LESSON
Revelation 12:9 James 4:3 Isaiah 14:12-14 I John 3:21,22 James 4:7,8 Matthew 7:12 I Peter 5:8 Luke 6:27 II Corinthians 2:9, 11 Proverbs 11:25 Romans 8:1 I John 5:14,15