Be On Guard: The Unbelief of Others Can Pull Us Out of Faith


WHISPERThis article is one of a series discussing common hindrances to receiving healing from God.

The particular hindrance to healing discussed in this article is not one that resides within the person seeking healing. Rather, it resides in the Body of Christ in general, and more so in some parts of the Body than others. The average body of believers in our day does not really believe the Word of God 100 percent. We want to think that we do. We are sometimes offended if anyone implies that we do not believe completely. But the sad fact is that Jesus could have been looking down the centuries and speaking to us when He said, Oh, unbelieving generation….”Therefore, it behooves the one seeking healing to guard himself against the unbelief of other people – even in the church – by diligently focusing on God’s Word – not the opinions and experiences of other people.

Most of the adult Christians in the world today have been reared in a society that has had its Gospel so subtly watered down by false teachings and the doctrines of men that we have never learned to take God’s Word for what It says and structure every particle of our lives by It. Oh, we’ve been taught that God loves us and sent Jesus to save us from our sins. We’ve been taught the stories of God’s miraculous intervention into men’s lives in the pages of Scripture, but too often we see them as just pretty little stories or parables to teach us something about what God used to do. But we do not recognize them as clear examples of what we can expect in our own lives in every situation. We have been reared in churches that have compromised their faith because they have believed for so long that they had to use man’s ways and means to accomplish anything in the natural.

I recognize this sad truth in so many areas of life, but we must deal primarily here with the area of healing. It has been my experience that, even in so-called Full Gospel churches, a Christian can rarely ask other church members, for prayer concerning physical problems that seem serious without receiving responses such as, “Well, have you gone to the doctor?” or, “What did the doctor say about it?” or, “You had better see a doctor about that. It could be really serious.” According to God’s Word, those church members’ immediate response should be to begin praying at once – in faith – and speaking the Word of healing to the sick one. But instead, those people who call themselves believers often plant the seeds of doubt and fear into one who is already suffering. I’ve personally lost count of the number of times I’ve heard, “You know you don’t want to be a fanatic. After all, God expects us to use doctors.”

I will hasten to add here briefly that I am not against doctors. Many people in the medical profession work very hard to help others get well and stay well. On the other hand, there are also experienced medical practitioners – and medical treatments — that have caused irreparable damage and even death to some people who put themselves in the hands of the medical system only. I have been to doctors, and I never tell people that they should not seek medical advice from qualified physicians. However, I am quick to realize the truth about that system: Medical science is man’s best effort to help himself, but it is a poor excuse for what the Creator Himself offers if we will learn to believe Him. Going to a doctor is not “wrong.” What is “wrong” is not knowing God well enough to believe His promises to heal us. I am talking about a system provided by God Himself, and explained clearly throughout His Word, that does not rely on the fallibility of man, but on God’s power and love, which never fail when they are trusted completely.

That system, described in God’s Word, should be the first choice of weapons for counter-attack when God’s people find themselves facing sickness. And every body of believers on the face of the earth should have a contingent of people who know the Word of God – and believe the Word of God strongly enough — that they can be counted on to pray in faith for those who are sick but perhaps are not experienced enough in the Word of God to believe for themselves. James 5:14-15 explains this point very clearly: “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”

How do we know that this God-based medical system is the system of preference where the Lord is concerned? We look at the One who came to earth to show us exactly what God is like and what He wants for us. The One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus, Who is the exact representation of God’s will on the earth, never ever suggested to one seeking healing that he should seek out a human doctor, even though doctors were in common practice at the time. And if we look at the church in the book of Acts, and any other credible history of the early church for about the first 300 years, we find that believers didn’t even consider that option for receiving healing. They did what the Lord Himself instructed them to do according to Mark 16 and James 5. They laid hands on the sick and expected them to be healed, and they called the elders, anointed with oil, and prayed prayers of faith. Of course, they also stayed in the Word, stayed in fellowship, and fasted and prayed often, so that they were not overcome by unbelief. And it is that state of daily living in God’s Word and His presence that makes all the difference.

Today, we Christians live so much in the world, concentrating on the way the world thinks and how the world’s leaders suggest we handle problems that we aren’t in the Word enough. We don’t fast and pray often. We don’t spend every possible moment available to us in the presence of Almighty God, so we don’t stay filled with the Spirit and the Word, ready to believe with a brother or sister, or to minister to their need.

Another side of the same coin is that we often have a few believers who will pray with a brother or sister about a physical problem for a period of time, but if the manifestation does not come, or symptoms become critical, they back off and say something like, “Well, Brother, if you are not able to believe for a miracle yourself, you had better go ahead and have an operation, or you might die.” Dear Christian, do you see that that is not the way of the Word? God says, if one is sick, he should not have to believe all by himself. Rather, there should be those mature in the faith that will anoint with oil, pray the prayer of faith, and do the believing for the sick one.

One particular experience with a problem like this comes to my mind so clearly at this time. Several years ago, there was a sister who went to church where my husband and I attended, who had been experiencing some severe symptoms in her female organs. She had sought prayer from some sisters in the faith and had been ministered to more than once in a Bible study group. A doctor told her she needed to have a complete hysterectomy, as well as possible surgery for her bladder. When she did not show improvement in the symptoms quickly enough for those praying, the sisters who had prayed for her told her that if she were not able to believe for a miracle for herself, she should go and have the surgery, citing another person who had been prayed for and died.

When she related this experience to me a short time after she was told this, it made me sad, but mostly I felt disgust at the way the devil has deceived God’s people. The glorious compassion of God rose up in me so strongly, and I said, “Sister, that’s just not so.” I led her to James 5, and I explained to her that God had made provision for the body of believers to carry the sick one who was not able to do all the believing for himself. I explained that it was the body’s responsibility to work its faith on her behalf. New faith was ignited in her heart, and new light came into her eyes at this news.

We went to work rounding up some of the elders of the body and explained the situation, telling them that she needed others to fight the fight of faith for her – and so we did. A couple weeks later, that sister was feeling better, and she decided to go to see another doctor and see what he had to say about her condition. When he examined her, he told her that there was no need for surgery of any kind. Before long, every negative symptom was gone, and that sister’s faith rose to a level that even allowed her to believe God enough to conceive and give birth to another child.

Beloved, we can’t keep looking back at the Old Testament patriarchs, or the apostles of the early church, and saying, “It’s too bad they are not living today so that they could believe like that for us or perform the same miracles today.” We can’t look back to the turn of the century, when there were a hand-full of ministers full of the Holy Spirit who brought miraculous healing to hundreds of thousands in meetings all over the world, and say, “It’s a shame we don’t have more people like that today.”

No, beloved Christian! It’s time we faced facts. We – WE – You and I – are the giants of faith for today. You may say, “Boy, are we a pitiful excuse for giants!” AMEN! We are – but we don’t have to be. Let’s recognize that God is still the same God, and He’ll still do the same glorious things if He can just find people who will spend enough time with Him to be able to really believe Him without reservation and without qualification.

The Lord’s looking for those unselfish enough to get into the fight with one who needs a miracle of healing from God and determine to stay in the fight until the victory comes. Sometimes that will mean praying around the clock with the sick one for several days at a time. Sometimes, it will mean praying every day with that one for months. Other times, it will mean being willing to fast and pray until the Spirit of discernment shows the hindrance; or the gifts of healings and miracles come into operation. Sometimes, it will mean reading the healing Scriptures to the sick one day after day after day, until they’re strong enough to get hold of them for themselves.

Instead of saying, “Give up and just accept what little help medical science can give you — or “give up and get ready to die,” we need to say, “Hang on; God’s fighting for you, and so am I. You’ll get the victory.” But we need to say it, not because it sounds good — but because we believe it – because we know it — because we’re so full of God Himself.

Now, Dear Christian, if you’re sick, you have the right to believe for your own healing all by yourself. But if you’re having trouble alone, don’t waste your time hanging around people who don’t believe God. Find as many people as you possibly can who really believe what the Word says about healing and spend as much time with them as you can. Then, after you’re healed, keep spending time with them.

It’s amazing how many people have experienced a miraculous healing from the Lord, only to be talked out of it by people in their own family or their own church. I’ll never forget a young girl who came to the church I attended many years ago. She had one leg shorter than the other, and when she was prayed for, she received a miracle. Her short leg was made normal by the power of God and became the same length as the other one. She was able to feel, as well as see, the work being done on her leg by the Lord. Needless to say, she was excited.

But when she went back to her home church, where they did not believe that God still performs healing miracles today the way that He did while on earth in the flesh, they convinced that poor girl that what she had received wasn’t real at all. As she listened to their continual browbeating, she began to believe them rather than the Lord — and even her own experience. Her leg responded to the unbelief in her heart and mouth, and it drew up again, shorter than the other one. When she realized what had happened, she returned to our church and was ministered to again. This time, it took much longer for her to receive the miracle, because of the tremendous stronghold of unbelief that had been established in her heart and mind.

But our great God is so merciful, and through the faith of the believers who gathered around her and prayed fervently, He was able to work His way through her unbelief and give her her miracle the second time. Dear One, if you want miracles from the Lord, guard yourself against those who would discourage you from believing.

Some people seriously doubt that a group of non-believers can pull a believer out of faith. But when someone asks me about that situation, generally the first thing I point them to is the experience of the Children of Israel, when they came to the border of Canaan.  God had promised them that He would take them in, defeat every enemy, and give them the land with all its bountiful produce, with no cost to them. They sent in 12 men to spy out the land and bring back a report.  Two of those men brought a report of abundance and expressed their faith that God would do as He had promised.  Ten of those men spoke unbelief.  They refused to believe God would keep His word and stirred up the people to be afraid — and ultimately to refuse to obey God because of their unbelief. (Hebrews, chapter 3 goes into detail about this event, saying that their unbelief and their disobedience were one and the same thing.)

So my point is this: just 10 very ordinary men convinced close to 3 million people (who had already experienced amazing miracles at God’s hand) that they should not believe God for a miracle — should not believe God to keep His word — should not obey God and enter Canaan.  As a result, those 10 men kept about 3 million people from receiving their miracle from God, and put them in the position of speaking a curse on themselves and dying at an early age out in the wilderness. So what we, as individual Christians, believe and transmit to others can often be a matter of life and death.

In closing this article, let me encourage you, beloved: Determine in your heart to learn everything you can about God’s healing, so that you will be full of the truth. Get filled with the Holy Spirit and stay in prayer and in the presence of God, so that you can stay filled. Be ready to help a brother or sister who needs healing. Don’t be one who sends them away sorrowing, to the world’s methods and failures. Believe God’s Word and be a giant of faith for someone else!

But What If My Faith Is Weak …?



During my 40 years of ministry to the sick, I have realized that one very common problem often plagues those seeking healing from the Lord. That problem is fear concerning their own faith and whether or not it is too weak to receive the help they need. So let me address the problem from two different directions. First of all, we will see from God’s Word that “little” or “weak” faith did not keep Jesus from performing extensive miracles for people when He ministered in person. And secondly, we will look at how to make sure our faith grows stronger on a continuous basis.

Many people look at the scripture in Mark chapter 6 where Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth and teaches in their synagogue, but is rejected by the people. Verses 5 and 6 of that chapter say, “He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid his hands upon a few sick fold, and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief.” If we are not careful, we can be easily deceived by the enemy Satan and the lies he has managed to slip into religious doctrines, and this situation offers an excellent opportunity for such deception. Many people who need healing read these words and say to themselves, “Well, Jesus could not do any big miracles there because those people did not have enough faith. If they didn’t have enough faith with Jesus standing right there, then I’m sure I don’t have enough because I need a really big miracle.”

But dear one, that is not the case at all. This passage does not say the people of Nazareth had “weak” faith. Look again. And look at the story as it is told in the other Gospels as well – especially, Luke, chapter 4. Each Gospel writer emphasized a different aspect of the story – as they did with many of the events they described – because each had a different job to do with his Gospel. Luke makes it clear that these same people totally rejected Jesus as the Messiah – or even a true prophet of God. They so rejected Him that they pushed Him to the brow of the hill on which the city was built and tried to throw Him off the hill to kill Him. We are not dealing with “weak” faith here. We are dealing with total unbelief, rebellion, and absolute rejection of Jesus as an anointed prophet of God. And, yes, in the face of such absolute unbelief and rejection, He cannot perform much in the way of miracles for them because God as instituted His covenant with man in such a way that man always has a part to play in the work of God in his life. These people made their choice not to receive miracles from Jesus.

But what is interesting to me is that, even with all that unbelief and rejection, the one thing Jesus was still able to do was heal some sick people. Now, isn’t that something to think about? He was not able to do any “mighty miracles,” but He was able to heal a few sick people – obviously some who did believe in Him. So doesn’t that tell us that, as far as God’s power is concerned, healing sick people doesn’t really count as “mighty miracles” ? In other words – it’s some of the easiest work God does. Now, of course, as far as God Himself is concerned, it’s all easy. But, you understand, these explanations were written in terminology that we can all relate to.

But does the Word have anything to say about people with “weak” faith getting something from Jesus? Most decidedly, yes! Let’s look at just a few. First of all, in Luke 17:5-6, Jesus’ disciples ask Him to increase their faith. But Jesus’ answer to them is, “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, ‘Be thou plucked up by the root and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.’” Now, a mustard is extremely tiny. In fact in other places in scripture Jesus refers to it as one of the smallest of seeds. So if that is the measure of faith we need for a miracle as big as uprooting a tree and moving it into the ocean, getting healed doesn’t take a whole lot.

But Jesus follows this statement with a short sermon about how servants act, and He makes the point that we expect our servants to work. He indicates, by tying those two points together, that the amount of faith is not the problem, but rather being diligent to put that faith to work. We must remember that James says “faith without works (corresponding actions) is dead.” (James 2:17-26). The word “works” from the Greek literally means action that corresponds and bears out the truth of that faith that we claim to have. In other words, we must make sure we plant our faith in God’s Word and then act and speak in agreement with the Word if we expect our faith to bear fruit.

Now let’s look at Matthew 6, where Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, is telling His followers not to fret about food or clothing or other material needs because God will take care of them as surely as He does the birds and the flowers. In verse 30, He says, “Wherefore, 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?” Now, consider this dear reader. Even though their faith is “little,” God is going to be able to provide all their material needs – if they will just put that “little”faith in Him and let it work there.

And Jesus proved that what He said was true when He fed more than 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish. In Matthew 14, He has compassion on the multitude who have followed Him and listened to His teaching for several days, and when His disciples suggest He send them away to find food, He says to the disciples, “They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto Him,’We have here but five loaves and two fishes.’” (Matt.14:16-17). You see, He was giving His disciples the chance to use their faith to feed the crowd. They could have done so, or He would not have told them to do so. But they did not yet understand about putting their faith to work so Jesus had to go ahead and work the miracle Himself. But notice: He worked this huge miracle for them even though their own faith was too “little” to do the job.

Now, lets’ look at one more. To my mind, it is one of the greatest examples because, to me, this miracle was enormous. Again, for God, it was everyday stuff. But looking from the human perspective, this is something extraordinary. When Jesus came to His disciples walking on the water, in Matthew 14:25-32, His disciples become fearful. He calls out to them to be not afraid, and Peter says, “Lord, if ti be thou bid me come unto thee on the water.” Jesus, without any hesitation, says, “Come,” and out Peter hops. Now the extraordinary thing is that, according to the Word, Peter, “walked on the water to go to Jesus.” This ordinary human being walked on the water. Was it because his faith was so “strong”? Let’s see.

We all know the story, don’t we? “But when he [Peter] saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, ‘Lord, save me.’” And what does Jesus do? Does He say, “Sorry, Peter, your faith is too weak for you to get this miracle. If you can’t believe better than that you’ll just have to drown.”? Of course not.

Immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him and said unto him, ‘O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?’” So there you have it, friend. Jesus says Himself that Peter had “little” faith, and we can see that he most certainly did. But Jesus was still able to perform miracles for him – and did so – even with “little” faith. In fact, I believe Jesus knew Peter well enough to know that He didn’t really have strong enough faith to make it on his own when He told him he could “come.” But that did not cause Jesus to tell Peter not to try. And even though Peter’s faith was “weak,” He still managed to walk on water for part of the way. Then even when he started sinking, Jesus was still able to work on His behalf and deliver him – even though his faith was only “little.”

So, dear one, don’t be burdened with fear concerning your faith because you think its small or weak. Just plant that faith into Jesus – and His Word – and it will be enough to give Him what He needs to work for you.

However, we do not want to be satisfied with faith that is not as strong as possible. So we need to realize that God has provided a way for our faith to increase and grow stronger on a consistent basis. That way is His Word. Now don’t get led astray by multiple religious doctrines that try to tell you that trials and tests will create or strengthen your faith. They will not! There is absolutely no scripture that even hints at the idea that trials will create faith. On the contrary, the Word of God tells us of only one thing that will create faith in us. Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the WORD OF GOD.” You see, God’s Word is the only thing that will show us those spiritual things that are real. We cannot see them, touch them, taste them in the natural. We couldn’t believe in God by looking to our natural senses to tell us He was there. It took the Word. When we heard the Gospel – either by reading it, hearing it preached, listening to someone’s testimony – or in other ways – that Gospel (Word) convinced us that God was real and that He loved us. In other words, it created faith in us, and we were able to receive Jesus Christ as our Savior.

In the same way, all of the things God has provided for us – all of the victories He has accomplished through Jesus – are in the spirit realm. Our faith – by our own confession of that Word – and our own acts of obedience to that Word – bring those spiritual things into the natural realm. Salvation in all its forms (cleansing from sin, healing, deliverance, material provision, peace) is established in the spirit realm and moves into the natural realm – to manifest in our bodies, our minds, and our circumstances – through faith.

So if we want more faith – or we want our faith to grow stronger – we must get into God’s Word faithfully and apply it to our lives. We must not only read it; we must obey it – be doers of it.

Jesus talked about people who were dull of hearing and who had hardened hearts and could not believe. Do you know how they got that way? They heard the Word, but they made no response to it. In actual fact, every time we hear truth from God’s Word and just toss it aside and don’t apply it and obey it, there’s a film that begins to form over our hearing and over our hearts. The next time the Word comes forth, we don’t hear it quite as easily, and therefore, we can’t believe it quite as easily. Then if we do that again, the same thing happens again. After a while, our hearing becomes dull, and our hearts become hardened.

Contrarily, every time we hear truth from God’s Word and do apply it and obey it – make it a living part of us and our lives – our hearing becomes even more sharp, and our hearts are opened up even more by that Word becoming active on the inside of us. Life begets life. That’s why Jesus had so much to say about being careful how and what we hear, as in Mark 4:24-25. “Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. [A more clear translation of this last line is “from him shall be taken even that which he thinketh he hath.”]

So we do not want to be casual in our care of the faith God has given us. We need to be diligent to get into His Word and obey it so that our faith will continually increase and grow stronger. Remember, we are not interested in just having enough faith for our own needs. We want more than “little” faith because we want faith strong enough to help the other people in our lives receive their miracles from God’s hand as well.


Image courtesy of Karen’s Whimsy: