James 2:17 says, “Even so, faith, if it has no works, is dead ….” Many people misunderstand this verse because they take it completely out of context. They try to interpret it to mean that man must “work” to earn his own salvation. But the context of chapter 2 of James is not about earning salvation. It is about showing forth that salvation through the natural results that come from believing. What are those natural results? Actions. The word “works” used in this passage, in its original language, literally means “corresponding actions.” So what the Word is saying is that if we have real faith, we will have actions that correspond with – result from – bear the fruit of – that faith. If we really do believe what God’s Word says, we will act like it.
Many have been the times that I was believing the Lord for healing in my body, and applying His Word as medicine, but had to stand my ground for a period of time before I saw the manifestation. We don’t always know why the manifestation takes a while to show up, when at other times, it shows up immediately. There are any number of things that could be hindrances, and as we stay in prayer, we can be assured that God will show us anything that we need to know in order to speed things up.
But regardless of the reason, the one thing we do know for sure is that God’s Word and His promise will not fail. So we keep standing – and acting like we believe. Now we do not mean that we are “putting on an act.” We mean that we speak and move and carry on our lives to the best of our ability as though the manifestation were already evident. I can remember more than once when I was scheduled to teach God’s Word at a meeting, and found myself in pain as the result of a physical attack. The enemy was shouting in my ear that I would have to cancel the meeting. And when I refused to cancel, he shouted that I would make a fool of myself to go and speak about God’s healing and then have to be rushed to the hospital because I would be too sick to continue the meeting. He has some of the most colorful scenarios, but what we must remember, beloved, is that all of them are lies.
Often I would simply have to grit my teeth and act on the Word from Isaiah 53:4-5 and Matthew 8:16-17, which tell us that we are already healed by the stripes that Jesus bore in His own body at the time of His crucifixion. I had to get up, take a shower, and put on my make up. (And sometimes I would deliberately apply it even more dexterously than usual, so that I did not give the enemy an inch to work with in making me look sick.) I would drive myself to the meeting shouting the praises of God at the top of my voice, and I would stand up in front of the congregation and teach the truth that God wills to heal all of His people all of the time, and that the healing has already been provided by Jesus’ finished work.
Sometimes, we just have to act, beloved, because we believe even though we have not yet seen. And whether that period of time between praying and seeing the manifestation lasts several hours, several weeks, or several months or years, we must not move from our stand on God’s truth. To move from that Word can mean the whole difference between life and death.
Evangelist and Bible teacher Gordon Lindsay, founder of Christ for the Nations ministries, shared with his listeners, over the years, a number of testimonies of when he found himself in similar situations and always found God faithful. Brother Lindsay, who has been with the Lord now for many years, shared one particular testimony that always encouraged my faith personally.
He told of a time when he had just begun his evangelistic work and came down with a case of ptomaine poisoning. The first point he made when he shared this particular testimony was that when he experienced the first attack of cramps, he should have taken his authority over the situation in the name of Jesus and rebuked the illness, driving it from his body. Instead, he let it go, thinking in his natural mind that it would eventually subside on its own.
However, it did not. In fact, as is the way with serious food poisoning, it grew worse and worse until he was wracked with horrible bouts of cramping for two weeks. During this time, of course, he did pray for relief, and several friends prayed as well. He did not see any relief at the time, but seemed to continue to grow worse. He had been invited to stay in the home of some friends, since he was in the midst of holding a series of meetings, but the friends grew frightened when he seemed to continue in such a serious condition and insisted he call a medical doctor.
Brother Lindsay, who firmly believed the Word of God concerning healing, had, years before, studied the scripture in which the Lord declares that He will be the physician for His people (Exodus 15:26.) He believed that scripture, and had committed his body to God alone for its health and welfare. Since he did not want to call a human physician, his friends felt he needed to be moved from their home, and another evangelist, John G. Lake, took him into his own home. John G. Lake was also a great believer in healing, and throughout his own ministry saw multitudes of people healed in answer to prayer alone.
While at Reverend Lake’s home, Brother Lindsay lay in bed and read Brother Lake’s printed sermons on healing. Those sermons, which were full of God’s Word, created more faith in Brother Lindsay and stirred him to take hold of that Word in a new way. He related a portion of this testimony in one of his own teaching books, Christ, the Great Physician:
“The affliction … now had reduced me to a condition of extreme helplessness. Gradually weakening in body and wracked with constant pain, I resigned myself to death. … I had wanted to preach the Gospel of Good Tidings more than anything else in the world. Now it appeared that my ministry would end with abruptness. Was this the Will of God? …
“But God was to show Himself. First, through His Word. … As I read those messages, my attention was taken from my suffering to the power of the Risen Christ. Certain scriptures came to me with force and vividness. … Acts 10:38, concerning Jesus, ‘who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil,’ left a deep impression upon me. Again, in Luke 3, Jesus, in healing the woman bowed over, showed that the infirmity was caused directly by the binding power of Satan. … It was not the will of God that I should die, but rather the will of the devil.
“Another scripture came especially to my attention. It was Mark 11:22-24, and is yet today my favorite passage. ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ A light was dawning, and I began to understand the difference between passive and active faith. Here was a direct warrant for my immediate healing if I would dare to accept it. I could wait no longer.”
He went on to explain that he called for his clothes to be brought to him, and even though still horribly weak and still in pain, he managed to put them on, focusing his thoughts, not on his pain, but on the promise of God. He had lost 25 pounds during the illness, and his clothes hung on him, but he ignored that fact as well. “As my feet touched the floor, I began to praise the Lord for healing,” he said. “At that instant my cramps vanished. And for the first time in many days I felt the sensation of hunger. I sat down to a hearty meal.
“I was healed indeed!”
He closed his testimony by adding, “Faith is an act. After prayer is made for healing, there is a time to act upon the Word of God. Deliverance came to me at the moment that I acted upon the Word of God.”
© Sandra Conner
(Quotes from Gordon Lindsay taken from Christ the Great Physician, Gordon Lindsay, pages 3-6.)