The Bible tells us that ‘faith without works is dead’. James 2:26
The leper had faith that Jesus was a good God who could heal him and this caused him to move forward despite his physical limitations and mental strongholds.
He had faith with works.
Today’s post we look at how to have faith with works on our healing journey. It’s easy to just pray and pray in the hope that God will heal (This is faith without works) but I believe God empowers us by His Spirit to move forward before we receive the healing.
The leper risked his life when he approached Jesus. He didn’t care what the people thought of him the day he pushed passed them to meet Jesus.
He overcame the personal strongholds telling him it’s impossible and the fear of punishment by the crowds.
WHAT DOES FAITH WITHOUT WORKS MEAN?
Had he been spotted he would have been killed. Sometimes we need to take a risk if we want a miracle. We need to be determined. The key to what we’re asking God for may be in our own hands.
The leper stepped out of his comfort zone of leprosy where he’d been living and stepped forward into the place of victory. I love how he took ownership of his situation. He was putting his faith into action.
‘faith without works is dead’. James 2:17
When we have faith in our hearts for something, we consequently have a natural determination and our actions can’t help but correspond.
The leper didn’t focus on his problems. He focused on the solution. He knew God was bigger.
The leper broke through the ceiling of containment when he moved forward and approached Jesus. He ignored the voices in his head telling him to give up or that he wasn’t worthy.
What’s your comfort zone? Where may you have been conditioned?
We think our comfort zone is our safety net but if we stay here too long we stand still. For someone with a short term illness or a condition that doctors can cure, it’s easy to just wait until symptoms disappear before resuming activities.
But with chronic illness we cannot afford this mindset.
If we sit and passively wait, we’ll be sitting still forever. Nothing will change. Healing is unlikely to miraculously fall through the sky.
This is faith without works. I wrote a post about the different types of faith which I think is relevant here: see 5 EASY WAYS TO BUILD STRONGER FAITH FOR HEALING
I believe God expects and empowers us to partner with Him in the healing journey. To break free from passivity and the victim mindset that keeps us stuck.
Where have you become comfortable? Do you rely on others to do things for you? Do you gain comfort from the sympathy of others.
Have you stopped activities?
Anything we avoid, inadvertently communicates to our nervous system that that activity is dangerous. We want of course to show our nervous system that we are safe.
I know it’s hard but resuming life one step at a time is how we walk the healing journey in victory. Otherwise we have faith without works which isn’t really faith at all. I guess this is what this blog is all about.
So what’s your dream? I’m guessing it’s to be well again. Think about where you’re limited, and ask God what you can do to break that confinement.
What’s your next step?
If you can only walk for 10 steps, can you have faith to walk for 11 steps? This is how you begin to break that ceiling of containment. This is how we ensure our faith without works isn’t dead.
Once you can walk comfortably for 11 steps, can you stretch your faith to walk for 12 steps? and so on. This is a form of ‘graded exposure’, or ‘pacing’.
In the early days of being unwell, my mum would clean for me as I wasn’t wall enough to clean myself. Then I learned to receive God’s grace, and set myself the goal of spending just a moment of time, cleaning my bathroom myself.
I started with the sink. It took a lot of prayer and motivation, I didn’t want to do it and I certainly didn’t feel like doing it, it would have been far easier to stay in bed and let my mum do it for me.
I spent probably half a minute, quickly cleaning the sink; it may not have been cleaned perfectly, but I did it on my own.
A few days later, I took a few moments to clean the toilet. Again, it wasn’t done perfectly, but I did it independently. As time went on, I was able to clean the entire bathroom.
It’s unlikely you’ll go from being bedbound to living a full life, you’ll need to take it one faithful step at a time.
DEPENDENCE ON GOD
Interestingly, the symptoms in my body hadn’t improved, but God had strengthened me to be able to perform certain activities whilst being in extreme pain.
I can’t say this is consistent; sometimes all my energy goes into just one activity a day and sometimes not even that, but I have learned to be dependent on God and not on someone else.
This is how we partner with God in moving forward towards our goals. We use our faith to stretch and grow one step at a time, rather than expecting the healing to fall in our laps in advance of moving forward.
Pro 11:16 says that ‘the timid become destitute, but the aggressive gain riches.’ If King David had stayed in his comfort zone he would have remained a shepherd his whole life.
Instead he believed God and took the next step in God’s plan. He knew that faith without works was dead faith. David didn’t allow his weakness of being small and inexperienced stop him from defeating Goliath.
He knew nothing could defeat the goodness of his God.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Keep on moving forward.
The Bible tells us that we are already healed (past tense) so we want to align with this as much as we can. The challenge for us, is to step forward even though we still have symptoms.
Healing in the New Covenant is believing before seeing. This is walking by faith
Here are some steps which help me in my journey.
1. SELF AWARENESS
I recognised various activities I was avoiding because of symptoms. ie, walking, sitting in a certain position, being in the sun….and plenty more!
2. INVITE GOD IN
I cannot do this journey without His help so before anything, I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in each step of the way.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13
If we try and walk this journey in our own strength we won’t get very far. Receiving God’s grace by faith means doing works by operating out of his strength.
God never asks us to do anything without giving us the ability to do so.
3. USE IMAGINATION
It’s true that the brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination. So could you picture yourself doing the thing you’re avoiding?
Some people refer to this as visualisation.
I imagined cleaning my whole house independently from others even though it seemed impossible. I pictured myself going for a walk which I was avoiding because of pain. Being in the sun was difficult for me because symptoms flared, so I began to imagine myself sitting outside in the sun.
Using our imagination in this way is a safe first step.
When we imagine, we create new neuropathways in the brain which invite in the new reality. If you believe you can do something you are more likely to achieve it.
Eph 3:20 tells us God does more than we can ask or IMAGINE….
So we need to do the imagining.
Seeing yourself well and healed, I believe, is Biblical. We are in Christ, this is our identity. See ARE YOU CLOTHED IN CHRIST OR CLOTHED IN SICKNESS?
4. TAKE THE FIRST STEP
Now it’s time for me to put my faith into physical action. I set the intention to sit in a certain position for several seconds or I go outside and walk even though it’s painful.
I start to clean my house even if it’s just for a few minutes or sit out in the sun despite symptoms flaring. I’m trying to teach my nervous system that I am safe and that these are just symptoms.
I remind myself that i am safe and that God is with me. To me, this is faith with works.
There is no need to put pressure on ourselves, to be reckless or ignore our bodies. Nor do we do this without God. I personally believe that the more we step out in faith, the more our faith grows.
We begin with faith the size of a mustard seed which grows when we step out with trust.
5. WRITE DOWN ACHIEVEMENTS
It’s good to record progress. I look back at how far I’ve come. Keeping a diary motivates me to keep on going plus noticing progress produces serotonin which is a ‘happy’ hormone the body releases when we get that sense of achievement.
Of course the idea is that I build on the experience. So once I’m comfortable with the first step, it’s time to move onto the second step.
Is there anything containing you right now? The enemy wants nothing more than to keep you standing still. Faith without works is dead.
(Please remember, never be reckless or go against medical advice)
The Bible says “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph 2:10
God has already prepared opportunities for us, even when we’re ill or in pain, to do good works. Who can you encourage today? Who can you speak life over?
Are you being kind to others despite your own suffering? Are you still serving in church?
If we’re growing in faith, there will be this kind of evidence and it will be natural (faith with works). We may be on a healing journey ourselves, but God still is transforming us from the inside out.
John 15 tells us we are to ‘bear much fruit’ when we abide in Him. Without this fruit, we have faith without works which is dead faith.
God loves us too much to keep us at just one level. Ask God to show you what your next step of faith is.
Have a great day.
For other posts in this series: