BY ETHELBERT OKERE
Many Christians often worry about their ability to develop enough faith to either receive the blessing promised to those who have faith, be it divine healing, marriage, financial breakthrough or what have you.It is not uncommon to hear people, including pastors, say “you do not have enough faith”. Some even go further to say that people suffer lack, illness or other forms of setback because they do not have enough faith. Consequently, a lot of Christians worry about how to develop their faith. In fact, some pastors or preachers tend to suggest that there is a factory where you can go in and manufacture faith.
Beloved, you do not need to worry about whether you have enough faith or not. All you need to do is to focus on the grace of God. And the only way to do this in turn is to avail yourself only if the words of his grace.The Bible says in Romans 10:17 “faith comes through hearing the message and the message comes through preaching Christ” (GNB).Beloved, the message referred to here is the message of grace brought by Christ Jesus.Preaching Christ referred to in the above scripture means preaching grace. Remember the Bible says in John 1:17 that “God gave the law through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”Beloved, notice have that “grace” and “truth” come together. In fact, the two are the same. Grace is truth and truth is grace.
The only way you can develop “faith” is to listen to word of grace. As a matter of fact, it is God that sees your faith after you focus on His grace. It is not for you to declare that you have faith. It is God that will see that you have faith but that is only after He has seen that you rely on His grace not your own effort.
In all the occasions where the Lord Jesus either healed or gave special blessing, it was He that declared that the beneficiary had faith.In Matthew 8:2-3, the Bible shows us how a leper was healed after listening to the preaching of Jesus about the goodness of God, about how God is willing to provide for us only if we look up to Him (Matthew 6:25-30). It was after the leper listened to the gracious words of Jesus that he developed the faith and boldness to come out from where he was hiding to meet Jesus. In the days of Jesus, lepers were outlawed from appearing in public. If they did, they would be stoned to death according to the Law of Moses. But after listening to Jesus, the fear of being seen and stoned disappeared in the leper and he came out from hiding to meet Jesus, and he received his miracle of divine healing.
Similarly, the woman with issue of blood was healed not because she first developed faith but because she focused her mind on the belief that instead of being punished if she was seen in the crowd, she would receive grace from Jesus. Like the leper in Matthew 8, women with her condition were not allowed to touch anybody neither could they be touched by anybody. But this woman was able to overcome the fear of disobeying the law because she believed that she will be covered by the grace of God. And after seeing that the woman believed in the grace of His father, Jesus declared: “My daughter, your faith has made you well. So go in peace”(Luke 8:47)
So beloved, don’t worry about whether you have faith or not. Just focus on his grace that will overcome every fear in you to come out to meet Jesus. Once you believe absolutely on His grace, He will declare your faith and you receive your miracle. And the only way you can focus on His grace is to make sure you listen to only the words of His grace, the goodness of the Lord.
The problem is that many Christians are not able to develop faith because they do not have enough of words of His grace. The bible says in Roman 5:17that “All who received God’s abundant grace and are freely put right with him will rule in life through Christ”
Most often, pastors or preachers depict God as a person who is only out to punish people because of what they have done, instead of emphasizing the fact that he is a merciful God. In 1John 4:8, 16 the bible defines God as “Love” but some pastors and preachers seem to prefer to define Him as “anger”. Even as conservative as the Catholic Church is, Pope Francis titled the very first book he wrote after becoming Pope as “THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY”.
Just as faith comes through hearing,, fear also comes through hearing. If Jesus in Matthew 6:25-30 had preached a hell-fire and brime stone message of condemnation, the leper would not have come out to approach Him.He would have hid himself further, fearful of punishment and feeling more condemned and hopeless. But because he heard the word of grace, how God wants to be a loving father to him and provide all he needs, just as He provides for the lilies and the birds, he developed faith and that gave him the confidence to approach the Lord to receive His miracles.
So beloved, whatever it is that makes you feel unclean like the leper and the woman in the scriptures referred to above, break out of it by focusing on the grace of the Lord and embrace a life of victory.