By Carlton Foster
The book of Romans 10:17 said, “..Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The disciple James also said in James 2:18 “…Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.”
But what is faith? The Bible said, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Simple speaking, faith is thought — a mental process with imagery and conviction. Faith (which is to believe) is the first part, and “Works” (which is the action) follows and when the action is completed, the completion is the justification of thy faith.
James also said, “..Faith without works is dead.” In other words; “A belief, a thought without any action to substantiate your belief is nothing.” The faith cannot be justified: it is dead because the action is missing in bringing your belief to fruition.
I will say it in another way: “An idea that does not result in some action will remain an idea only and will not materialize.” The power of faith is in the action that follows as a result of the belief or idea. If you have an idea, but there are no actions, then thy faith is little. “Oh, ye of little faith.”
As I was writing another paper entitled “Eternal Life,” I came to a part where I needed help from the Lord to finish it. I prayed for his guidance and answer on how to conclude the paper. I was waiting on the Lord for an inspiration to make a conclusion on the moot “Faith versus Works.” Shortly thereafter, a Pastor by the name of Robert KC was preaching one night on Television. When I turned it on, he had just begun preaching on the subject of “Faith”. The Lord answered my prayer for the words that I needed to conclude my paper. I had faith that the Lord would help me, so I followed the faith with the searching and looking for my faith to be justified. Not only did he help me, but he also gave me great insight into this paper – The Powers of Faith.
The Study of Faith in Action
Now I will record and compare with deep concentration the powers in faith as shown in the Bible. First I must go to Jesus’ words in Matthew 17:20 when he said to his disciples “…Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, ‘Remove hence to yonder place’; and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
Anyone of you who has a strong faith to talk to a mountain (whether they are personal problems, your jobs, school, relationship, your own mountains) to move, and believe that they are gone, has strong faith. The act of saying something to the mountain shows that actions follow faith. After having faith, the next move is to do something, act!! Therefore, the verbs are an important aspect of all these examples. And we will look at them together. The verbs will be noted in uppercase letters.
Faith in Healing #1
In Luke 17:12 Jesus entered into a village where ten men with leprosy MET him afar, and SHOUTED their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” These men heard that Jesus can heal them and they believed. Believing was a good start, this indicated that there is some faith in them. When Jesus saw them, he said to them. “GO show yourselves unto the priests.” And as they WENT, they were cleansed.
Did you notice the action words that followed their faith? They SHOUTED and BEGGED for mercy. Not only that, but they also believe Jesus and TURNED to go looking for the priests. With their actions their faiths were justified: they were healed. These men believed Jesus, but if any had stayed or refused to show himself to the priest, his faith would not be justified, that is, he would not be healed. The actions they took healed them. Faith (which is believing) started the process. Their actions justified it.
One of the men had more faith than the other men. Why? He did more actions similar to his belief: he was not only healed by his faith, but he TURNED back and with a loud voice THANKED Jesus. He GLORIFIED God. How did he do it? He FELL down on his face at his feet and GAVE thanks to Jesus. All these actions are the justification of faith. Jesus said to him “ARISE, GO your way: your faith has made you whole.”
Was believing alone without further actions made the other nine whole? No! They had enough faith to be healed, but they still lack the actions to make them whole. Remember that actions are the justifications of your faith; the more the actions, the better. Actions are the powers of faith.
“Power” defined by Webster’s II dictionary as: “The capacity or ability to do or accomplish something.” This definition helps to understand the power in faith which are the actions that accomplish and justify your belief.
Faith in Worship (Sabbath)
Let’s look at an example of faith in action. In Exodus 16:22, the children of Israel in the desert was hungry, and God rained down manna from Heaven for them, but look what happened: Verse 22: “And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, “This is that which the LORD hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which you will bake today, and seethe that you will seethe; and that which remaineth overlay up for you to be kept until the morning”. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein.”
Normally these mannans would only last for one day, but on the sixth day, the day before the Sabbath, they need two days supply. Continuing with verse 25: “And Moses said, “Eat that today; for today is a Sabbath unto the LORD: today ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.” And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none.”
The faithful ones who believed God showed their faith with their actions: they stayed inside, but the ones that have no faith, when out to gather food — to work because they did not believe God. Their actions were similar to their beliefs. In verse 28-30: “The LORD said unto Moses, ‘How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that, the LORD hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day’. So the people rested on the seventh day.” Those who worshiped God on the Sabbath knows that faith comes by hearing and they heard it from the 4th Commandment, so they showed their faith by their action. They are faithful.
Faith in Healing #2
Let’s look at another healing that Jesus did. Starting in Matthew 8:2, a leper CAME and WORSHIPPED Jesus saying “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” He took the initiative and sought Jesus. And Jesus put forth his hand and TOUCHED him, saying, “I will; be thou clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Jesus acted, he moved. He did not just heal him in his mind, but he touched him and SAY the words “Be thou clean.’ Actions followed after believing.
And again when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there CAME unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, “Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.” Jesus was ready to act — he said, “I will come and heal him.” But something more amazing happened. The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but SPEAK the word only, and my servant shall be healed.”
Normally Jesus would do some action and then the sick would be healed, but this was different. He believed that Jesus could do less action and still healed his servant. Jesus was marveled by this. He said, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel, go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” His servant was healed in the same hour.
Again Peter’s mother-in-law who was sick with a fever, Jesus TOUCHED her hand, and the fever left her. She also AROSE and MINISTERED to them. There were lots of actions that followed their beliefs. In the evening, they BROUGHT to him many that were possessed with devils, and he CASTED out the spirits with his words and healed all those who were sick.
Faith versus Fear #1
Once, when Jesus and his disciples were in a ship, there arose a great storm in the sea insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves. Jesus was asleep then. His disciples, who were worried, CAME to him looking for help; they awake him saying, “Lord, save us, we are perishing.” Jesus realized that the disciples believe that they were dying. Their faith and hope to live through the storm were so small.
We could estimate their faith to be 20% wanted to live, but 80% of their faith shows they were going to die. The only thing left to complete their faith in dying was to JUMP overboard. But no, they also had 20% faith that wanted to live, so they acted on that small portion of faith and went searching for Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Then he arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. He could have laid there and in his thought, commanded the wind and the sea to be still, but no, he acted. He did what was the norm. Jesus knows that actions are the justification of faith, so he GOT UP and REBUKED the winds. All this happened because the disciples CAME to him.
For healing or goodness to follow us, we must first believe and then act according to our beliefs. Do something; believing alone without action will not give us the benefit we wanted.
Faith versus Fear #2
Again in Matthew 14:26, it said the disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit, and they cried out for fear. They thought it was a spirit hovering over the water. Jesus immediately spoke to them saying “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” Peter answered him and said, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” And Jesus said, “Come.”
At that moment Peter heard Jesus and Peter knows that faith comes by hearing, so Peter followed his faith with some actions: He CAME down out of the ship, and WALKED on the water towards Jesus. This was awesome; his actions rightfully followed his belief. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, “Lord, save me!” In that split moment, a portion of his belief changed. Fears crept in and reduced the faith that brought him out of the ship into the water.
Here, the right actions (SINKING) follow his fearful thoughts. Jesus immediately STRETCHED out his hand and CAUGHT him. Jesus said to him “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Doubt is a killer of faith. Doubt is Satan’s tool to keep believers in the oppression of sin. Release your mind of all doubting attitudes. In this episode, we saw Peter having some faith: he came down out of the boat, and walk on water, but then another thought and action crept in: the fear of sinking. The same old belief re-surfaced and the same old action followed. Both actions followed their beliefs. Our actions do not determine our faith, but our faith (belief) determines our actions. A fearful faith will result in harm, while a kindhearted faith will result in goodness.
In Matthew 6:25, Jesus who understands the minds of those who worry about the future, knows that bad actions normally follow a fearful mind. Therefore, he advised his disciples saying:
“Take no thoughts for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no “fearful or doubting” thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewith shall we be clothed? But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Our minds must NOT be preoccupied with fearful thoughts. Think positively. Trust in your heavenly father and his love for us. Believe that he will take care of you and he will. Have faith in his protection. Our minds must be occupied with ways and means to glorify him, honor our families, love our neighbors, and doing good to others.
Abstain from procrastination because it is a big factor that hampers the justification of faith. It will stop you from realizing your faith. Procrastination will help you to continue to put off your good thoughts for another time, and still yet another time, long enough until you forget what you wanted to do. To combat procrastination, identify a task that will help to realize your goal, and do it. Tomorrow, identify another task and do it. Combat procrastination by doing one task at a time, do it until you gain the momentum and take off. Many little actions slowly eat away at procrastination and ultimately destroy it. “Don’t put off for tomorrow the things you can do today.”
In summary, you should notice from the experiences with Jesus and the people he healed, as well as the disciples, that faith without actions is dead; it will not make you whole.
Notice also that there were degrees of faith: little faith is believing in good but heavily overshadowed with doubts or fear. Much faith is a good belief followed with the appropriate actions to justify the belief, not doubting or having fear.
Jesus gives us some examples to combat little faith, he said, “..And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him two. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” All of these are good actions. Doing more than is expected. If you can do some actions to someone’s faith, you can do the same to yours. ‘Actions speak louder than words.’
In the church, when we do ‘Alter calls’, Go! Move!, Act. Blessings do come to the most faithful, the ones who take the steps to get up out of their seats and walk down the aisle and wait patiently for a blessing. Remember: good thoughts bring good actions, and bad or fearful thoughts bring wrong actions.
The key is to evaluate your actions. If your actions are bad and have evil intent, then it must have been propagated by evil thoughts. If you have little faith, that is not doing anything, increase your faith, and faith comes by hearing, and hearing from the words of God. Remember the power of faith is in the actions that follow. Start acting NOW.