There is all the difference in the world between believing about and trusting in. James brings that out in his discussion about the true nature of faith in James 2. He states that true faith has an outward expression, Jas 2:17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. He added that even demons believe that God is one and shudder in fear. However true faith is shown in those who personally trust in God, not just believe in His existence. Trusting involves believing and acting on the words of the one trusted. In this article we will look at a couple of promises that came from the lips of Jesus to see what might happen if we believed Him and acted on them.
Promise No 1. God will supply our needs (if we get our focus right in life). Mat 6:24-33. Jesus lived in this world and He knows about all the temptations that humans face. Very often they are temptations to fulfil legitimate needs. But they have to be fulfilled in godly ways and not in ways contrary to the will of God. In Matthew 6 He taught that the people of God need to get their focus right in life. They can focus on mammon, meaning money or possessions which ultimately don’t bring fulfilment. Or they can focus on God, living in the way He wants them to live and allowing Him to give them what they need to live for Him. As He put it in verse 24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
He proposed that His people should live a life focussed on God. (Mat 6:25) “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Anxiety arises when one’s focus is wrong, when it is focussed on the material side of life and not on God Himself. The word “anxious” probably comes from the word merizo meaning to divide. Anxiety comes from a distracted or divided mind. Focussing on the material things of life does lead to distraction. Focussing on the Lord brings peace knowing that He has promised to provide the necessities of life when we do so. Jesus promised, (Mat 6:31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Sometimes people ask me “What does the kingdom of God mean?” I tell them that it refers to God’s rule over His world and over His creatures. We can submit to Him or we can refuse to make Him Lord of our lives. Other people have asked, “What is His righteousness” in the same verse 33. I tell them that the shortest definition I can give is this, “Righteousness is ‘what God wants’.” So “seeking first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness” is making it a priority in life to do what God wants in every situation in life. Indeed for every moment in life. It means living one’s own life to the glory of God and not for oneself. It means seeking to build up God’s kingdom and not one’s own kingdom, or anyone else’s kingdom. When we are actively seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness we become more open to receive His blessings.
Promise No.2. God will answer our prayers which are prayed in faith. Mk 11:24, Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. The first thing to note about the verse is its context. Jesus had cursed a fig tree and Peter had expressed his surprise that it had withered so quickly. Jesus had answered, Mar 11:22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Then comes our verse 24, Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Are there any conditions to this promise? One of the prerequisites we saw in the previous article was “abiding” in the Living word, Jesus, and in the Written word, the Bible so that we are praying according to the will of God. Now here in this verse there is the emphasis on “believing”. Believing in a promise involves two things. It involves trusting that the promise can be fulfilled. It also means trusting in the character of the person giving the promise. If I step out to claim the promise can I trust the promise-giver to be able to fulfil the promise! There is after all a big difference between believing in someone’s promise and really trusting that person to fulfil it. That comes out in the stories told of the famous Frenchman Blondin who could walk across the Niagara Falls on a tightrope. He performed one day and then said to a English nobleman who had been watching him, “Do you believe I could carry you across the Falls in this wheelbarrow?” “Oh yes”, said the Englishman. To which Blondin reputedly replied, “Well hop in!” The Englishman quickly said that he thought someone else should have the privilege! He believed outwardly that Blondin could perform the feat, but got cold feet himself about getting into the barrow.
God wants us to trust Him. To believe His promises and to act on them. What does it mean when Jesus said, “believe that you have received it and it will be yours?” Some manuscripts have the present tense “you have” and others have the aorist (past) tense “have received”. At the very least it means that it was ours from the moment of asking. Or it could have become ours when Jesus cried out “It is finished!” as He hung on the cross, bringing His work of redemption to an end. Or it could have been ours from all eternity in the foreknowledge of God who knows the end from the beginning. It probably means all these things. So what we can do in praying for blessing and healing is to believe Jesus, believe His promise of answers to prayer and pray something like this, “Lord I ask You to provide this need which I present to You. I claim Your promise from Your word that it is now mine. Help me to pray with watchfulness and thanksgiving to see just how and when You bring the answer. In the meantime I will thank You by faith for the answer I have until I can thank You by sight.” AMEN.” I know of hundreds of people who prayed in words like these at our healing services, who received instant healing or experienced the beginning of ongoing progressive healing. God’s promises are true because He is truth.
Blog No.113. Jim Holbeck. Posted on Sunday 10th March 2013