I have often been amazed at the testimonies of people who walked in great faith. My first introduction to faith in action came when I read Corrie ten Boom’s book “The Hiding Place”. She was Dutch, and very blessed to grow up in a strong Christian family. Her life was much like the story of Ann Frank. Corrie’s family hid several Jewish people from the Nazis during World War II when they invaded her homeland. Her mother had died a few years before they were discovered by the SS. In 1944 Corrie age 52, her father age 82, and sister Betsie age 59 were arrested for protecting many Jewish people. Once arrested, Corrie and her sister were separated from her father. Corrie and Betsie were eventually sent to Vught concentration camp. Corrie’s older sister died while living in the camp. Corrie survived the horrors of a Nazi concentration prison, but she did not come out of that death camp bitter. She was full of the love of God and still possessed a strong faith in Him. She spent the rest of her life as a missionary traveling from country to country. Many of the nations she visited were under strong communist control, but she would testify of Jesus’ love wherever she went. Years after her rescue, Corrie was ministering at a church in Munich Germany. A man came up to Corrie at the end of the service “as the church was emptying”. Although he was much older since Corrie had last seen the man, she recognized his hardened and deeply lined face. He was one of the SS guards at the Nazi processing center at Ravensbruck where she, her father and Betsie had been processed. He was in charge of overseeing them and had stood over them mocking them as they had showered. He had been in the service and heard her message of forgiveness. He came up to shake her hand not knowing who she was, but Corrie recognized him. A rush of feelings swelled up inside her, pictures flooded her mind. She walked slowly toward the man she had hated and extended her hand. Instead of the hatred she felt inside, God’s love and forgiveness met him and welcomed him into the family. The greatest miracle of her faith in God was the fact that she remained faithful to God, and loved Him even more, having gone through so much pain and suffering! Her book is her testimony of His great love for her and how He carried her through that horrific trial.
The teachings of Jesus challenge us to walk by faith. Faith is the seed that produces miracles. The book of Matthew quotes Jesus’ analogy of a grain of mustard seed to describe mountain moving faith. The story begins soon after Jesus was transfigured on Mount Tabor. Jesus and His disciples came off the mountain and approached a multitude of people that had gathered nearby. Among the people assembled, there was a man with his young son. The son was bound by a demon that threw him into the fire and into water. He was terribly tormented by this overpowering demon who wanted to kill him. The man explained he had asked Jesus’ disciples to pray for his son to be set free, but nothing happened. Jesus’ rebuked his disciples and delivered the young man. (See Matthew 17:14-20). The disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to cast out the demon. Jesus responded to their question, “because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” Matthew 17:20.
Jesus was ministering to the Jewish people in Israel who were religious, but they were so out of touch with Jehovah God, they didn’t recognize their Messiah when Jesus spoke to them. Wherever Jesus went, miracles abounded. The Jewish leaders witnessed the miracles Jesus accomplished, and yet they still did not believe. Jesus’ disciples had been with Him for almost three years at the time of this story. He was preparing them for His death and resurrection which would soon take place. Jesus would shortly be leaving to His disciples the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Those who received the Holy Spirit and fire at Pentecost had witnessed His death and resurrection. Even Thomas finally got victory over his doubts.
One only needs to go to a developing country on a mission trip to realize the world is still in need of healing and deliverance from demons. There are many nations in the world that have inadequate hospitals, people living with unclean water, extreme poverty and improper diets. I have also witnessed several victims of witchcraft. Curses witchdoctors placed upon them caused some to fall unconscious into trances. Other demonic manifestations such as sickness or fear tormented their lives regularly. Their only help and hope was Jesus. I saw a man in Cuba writhing on the floor in an epileptic seizure rise up healed by the power of God. I heard the people praying for him. They knew the same Jesus in the Bible was there to help that man in his hour of need. Their prayers of faith were placed in Jesus’ power and His name. The encounter with God that man experienced changed his life. He was instantly set free and he gave his heart to Jesus. While in Kenya we saw a man who was like the man from Gerasenes. He was out of his mind, he mumbled unintelligible words and his hair was filthy and matted from a lack of cleanliness. He was delivered of demon possession and restored to a sound mind by the power of Jesus’ name. (See Luke 8:27-36). I could fill a book with testimonies of Jesus still healing and delivering people today, but the Bible is more than enough for us to believe!
What does it take to walk in faith that moves mountains? I believe much of what we call faith is merely head knowledge. Faith is not something we can conjure up, it is simply believing what Jesus said and did. When we believe, we will act upon that belief and that is faith. It only takes one powerful answer to our prayer for us to begin to see He means what He said. Over time, when God answers our prayers more consistently, it propels our faith to another level. One doesn’t necessarily have faith for everything. More often, our faith grows in the area where we have personally received healing and breakthrough. Our testimony then becomes anointed with faith so that others can receive from the Lord as we did.
Our faith is only as strong as our knowledge of Him. With every new revelation of God, more faith is endowed to the seeker. Faith is a gift from the Lord but it comes through hearing His word. “So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ”. Romans 10:17. The Bible tells us that creation speaks to us the glory of God. The Bible itself speaks to us and so does the Holy Spirit. Preachers speak to us as do friends, leaders and acquaintances. We can research our questions about God on the internet or in books, but it is our responsibility to know the Word of God so that we can discern His truth for ourselves.
True faith is deposited in the heart, which is the throne of our belief system. We can hear a Bible truth and accept it in our intellect, but it does not become faith until it drops into our heart. I have experienced personally and witnessed someone hear a word of truth and instantly the Holy Spirit quickened that word into faith! More often, faith grows as we read the Bible, pray and seek the Lord on a regular basis. I read the Bible daily and I will go through the entire Bible in less than a year. I can’t even count how many times I have read through the Bible in the 37 years I have been a Christian, but the Lord is still illuminating scriptures to me so that I understand as I never had before. Faith begins to take off at that moment. When a truth becomes faith in our heart, it has the anointing and power of God to manifest in our lives. “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].” Hebrews 11:1.
Wherever we have a weakness in our belief system, we can turn head knowledge into faith by concentrating our Bible study to target those areas. Over time, when our faith is put into practice, we will begin to experience our faith in Him manifesting as we pray and believe. The more we practice, the greater the results. Faith internally was meant to translate outwardly through results! Jesus freely gave away everything He had and so must we. That which the Lord places in us is also meant to be shared with others.
Below are some principles of faith which have helped me over the years.
Facts (information including scripture) can be simply head knowledge.
Faith comes from knowledge/understanding in the heart when the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us.
Faith grows with our knowledge/understanding of the Lord and His ways.
Faith must have application through works to manifest: through prayer, declarations, preaching or the laying on of hands ministry.
Faith will not be permanent unless it is fed regularly through study and applied practice. It is like every other gift or ability, if it isn’t used, it will fade away.
Our passion to know God propels us to consistently seek the Lord, making our pursuit of Him our highest priority. Years ago as a young mother, I struggled to protect my time with the Lord. Many things were vying for my attention. He made it very clear in a gracious way if I wanted to be a better wife, mother or friend I needed to spend time with Him daily. Each area of my life became more loving and understanding as I changed through spending time in His presence. The words the Lord spoke to me were a graceful warning of how easily we can become complacent if we do not consciously and daily seek the Lord. It is through that discipline that my faith has grown.
Faith confronts doubt at the threshold of our heart by motivating us to seek and continue seeking Him with excitement and full expectation that we will find Him. We will never fully know Him while on earth, but every revelation He gives us draws us closer to Him as we become more like Him. Faith is a gift from God. When we ask for it, He will gladly give it and when He asks us to step out it faith, we will pass the test!