Engaging with God: Benefit #2

Personal faith

Getting stuck into God’s word feeds your faith growing it in leaps and bounds as you engage with God directly through His word. It is the bedrock of a believer’s relationship with God, the key constituent without which it is impossible to take your walk with Him forward.

The importance of faith as the key constituent in the relationship of the saints with God throughout the ages is firmly underlined in Hebrews chapter 11. The chapter starts off with a definition of faith and immediately continues to inform us that it is the means by which one wins God’s approval:

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For our ancestors won God’s approval by it.  Hebrews 11:1-2

In other words, God’s approval is there for the taking but is only accessed through faith. Faith is the essential element required to win God’s approval or commendation.

This same truth is repeated within the same chapter but from a different angle.

Now without faith it is impossible to please God… Hebrews 11:6a

Faith then is the sole means, the tool, the accessory by which anyone can please God for without it, it is impossible to please Him. But not faith in anything and everything but faith in Him. Here is the second part of the verse.

… for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.   Hebrews 11:6b

Faith is such a critical element in our relationship and walk with The Lord. So much so, it can actually determine what we get out of our relationship with Him. We access the benefits and rights we have as children of God through our faith, by means of our faith.

In many instances of healing that happened during Jesus time on earth, time and again we see The Lord stating that an individual’s faith was critical in effecting their healing. At other times we see him publicly commending some for their faith and belief in Him and His ability to heal while at the other end we see him rebuking and chastising those who lacked it.

Immediately after the incident of the Lord walking on water, Jesus and his disciples hit the shores of a region called Gennesaret and the moment the people recognised Him, they sent word throughout the region and those who were sick were brought to him. Such was the strength of their faith in Him and his ability to heal that all they asked for was to touch the tassel of his robe. Not even the robe itself, they were convinced (wholehearted belief) that that was more than sufficient to bring healing to their sick bodies. The result? The bible says that …”as many as touched it were made perfectly well.”  (Matthew 14:34. – 36)

They were made perfectly well, not a single one of them was disappointed and neither was their healing incomplete. It was total healing that these people experienced and all on account of their strong faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.

In yet another instance Jesus commends the woman who, for years, suffered with a bleeding disorder who similarly just thought to herself “If I can just touch His robes, I’ll be made well!” (Mark 5:28) That was all. Such was the level of the faith she possessed that all she desired was a single touch and that not even of Himself but of the hem of his garment. She was convinced that there was such power in this person to drive away that which had been plaguing her for years causing her not only misery but total bankruptcy too. She longed to be healed being relieved of the misery and isolation caused due to the diseases she suffered from. But she knew and believed that if she could get just close enough to touch the hem of his garment that would do it.

So she edged her way closer and closer through the thick crowd that aimlessly pressed Jesus. They had no agenda but were just crowding Him and in the process, becoming obstacles to those in genuine need of Him. She persevered though. She pressed on not only because she was desperate but because she had strong faith too. She believed it would happen if only she could get to touch His robes. She needed healing and she knew only He could give it to her. She kept going and eventually, just before he slipped away, reached out to touch the hem of His garment. That was all she came for and that was all she needed. Immediately, instantly, within milliseconds of her touching the hem of His garment, her bleeding stopped. It ceased totally. As she turned to leave the pointless crowd and make her way back she senses that the crowd has stopped too. She continues to go her way when she hears the master calling, enquiring, “Who touched my robes?” (Mark 5:30). The crowd no doubt – they are milling about in uncomfortably close proximity to him inconsiderately invading his private space. But no, the Master insists that someone has touched Him and extracted power for healing out of Him. Realising that she has been caught out and there is no escape, she slowly turns back to make her way to The Lord with her head hanging low not knowing whether to expect rebuke or reprimand. Jesus immediately recognises her as the person who “touched His robe” (and not like the others who were aimlessly pressing against Him). She falls at His feet in total surrender and in an act of utter worship recounting her misery and how she only wanted to touch his garment believing that she would be healed. And having received healing in her body, she had started walking away until she had been found out. She delivers her account not knowing what to expect from the master. But The Lord lifts her up and all he has for her is a congratulatory message, “Daughter,” He said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be free from your affliction.”(Mark 5:34)

Jesus affirmed that it was her faith that made her well, that brought an end to her suffering and ushered in a life of peace after all those years of misery. Faith.

The act of engaging with God through His word is in itself, therefore, a major faith building exercise.

That is why we should make it our number one priority to engage with God through His word regularly and without fail.

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.  Rom 10:17

The water that feeds faith causing it to grow is the word of God itself.

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