I feel like I barely scratched the surface of what the Lord has been teaching me about faith in my prior blog entry. I won’t try to repeat all those points here. You can go read Part 1 if you’re interested.
What more can I say about faith? One point I mentioned earlier was that faith is a gift from God. God gives to each person a measure of faith and it is up to us to increase the “size” of that faith by taking in large doses of God’s Word, because that is God’s conduit to increase our faith. I’m not sure what “big faith” looks like compared to “little faith”. Rather, I tend to think of faith in terms of how effective that faith is.
Now that brings up a crucial point. If I have “effective” faith, does that mean I always get what I am believing for? This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in this journey I’m on. No, I don’t believe that you can measure my faith’s effectiveness by whether I'm healed instantly, something I have asked God to do. If we measure faith by our "instant results mentality", over half of those people listed in the great “Faith Hall of Fame”, Hebrews 11, should not have been included in that list because they did not get what they were believing God for. So what was the mark of their faith that qualified them as great examples of Biblical faith?
I believe what qualified them as great faith people was the impact God’s promises had on their outlook on life. They heard God say something, and it forever transformed how they would approach daily living. They spent the rest of their lives living in the confidence that God was going to do whatever He had promised them He would do. It totally changed the way they lived their lives. They lived from a place of faith, of trust, of confidence in God.
This is a major paradigm shift for me. I believe that God is going to totally heal me of cancer. I believe He has given my wife and me the promise that cancer has been cancelled. If you replace the “r” in cancer with an “l”, you have the word “cancel” and the last two letters of that word, “-el” is the name of God. When El shows up, cancer is cancelled.
What this has done for me is to change the way I look at every day. I am coming at today from a stance of “faith” that God is healing me. Now I know that many other people have claimed the same “faith” that God was healing them and instead of the dramatic turn around toward health, they worsened and died. What if that is true in my case? What if I get steadily worse and finally succumb to the ravages of cancer? I will still say that standing in faith made a dramatic difference in my life because I lived my life from a paradigm of believing God is for me, loves me, and is with me. It gave me hope every morning when I got out of bed. It kept the demons of fear away. I eagerly looked for God’s fresh Word of encouragement each day. Instead of dwelling in fear with each new round of pain, I turn to God's Word--and not once does He say in His Word that sickness is His judgment on me and I should just succumb to it.
So what is faith? For me, faith is suddenly making the connection between Matt. 8:16-17 and Is. 53:4-6. This one revelation has done more to build my faith than almost anything else. Many people say Isaiah was talking about “spiritual healing” and that our redemption is the focus of Is. 53:4-6. They exclude physical healing and spiritualize those words “infirmities” and “diseases” to mean spiritual disease, sin. But Matthew, under the inspiration of Holy Spirit, does not give us that interpretation. Matthew clearly connects Isaiah’s prophesy with the physical healing Jesus was doing. His interpretation of the words “infirmities” and “diseases” cannot be “spiritualized”. Jesus was literally fulfilling Isaiah’s prophesy by the physical healings he performed.
When I saw that application by Matthew, my own faith took a giant leap forward. Now I expect God to heal my body, just as he healed lepers, blind people, etc, I believe I will see God’s complete healing in my body. And until He does, my attitude about today is one saturated with faith, excited to see what all God is going to do in me and through me. For me, faith is a change of attitude, expectation, and confidence in the character of God as a compassionate God Who can’t wait to send His Word and heal people.