Every Christian knows the importance of faith. Believers who want to see and experience the power of God manifest in signs and wonders, particularly healing, are especially eager to grow in faith. We often read books about people with enormous healing ministries, such as Smith Wigglesworth or John Wimber, and try to imitate their faith and ministry tactics. This is valid – but only up to a point. God doesn’t want his children to need to become little Wigglesworths and Wimbers in order to walk in the miraculous. It’s supposed to be something so much more natural, easy, flowing.
So often, in our zeal for faith, we’ve turned faith into a work – something we have to produce by our spiritual efforts and enthusiasm. However, faith comes by grace – it’s a gift of God. The way we grow in faith is counterintuitive – the more you think about faith, the more self-absorbed you’ll become, and the less you will focus on God. And faith is a God-fixation. Simply put, if your focus is on your faith, you will lose faith. If you become absorbed in the person and work of Jesus Christ, your faith will soar, and you won’t even realize it!
Let’s take a look at what is commonly referred to as “The Hall of Faith” in the Bible: Hebrews Chapter 11. Most preachers speak about the litany of Old Testament “faith heroes” in this passage and how we are to imitate them – again, valid up to a point. But the main point of the passage is actually that there’s something better for us, there’s a higher way of faith than there was for them: “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (Heb 11:39-40). The chapter actually concludes with “the better way” at the beginning of chapter 12: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (Heb 12:1-2). These heroes of faith are cheering us on not to focus on them. They’re pointing us to the ultimate hero of faith who is now the revelation and bestower of ultimate faith: Jesus Christ. We look to these heroes of faith for inspiration, but now they’re looking at us. We are now the true heroes of the “Hall of Faith” – we have something better than what they did (a revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ).
So what are we to do now for faith? Simple: look at Jesus, and faith happens. When we fix our eyes on Jesus in any given situation, he will look at us and see faith, releasing his grace. If you know your faith is lacking, don’t fix it by focusing on it. Forget your faith, fixate on Jesus.
The more you focus on your faith for a situation, the more you’ll be made aware of your own inadequacy, and the less likely you’ll be to act. For instance, when you pray for healing, are you thinking about your level of faith, or how much God loves the person and wants to heal them? If you’re thinking about yourself, your confidence will probably drop, because we are always inadequate on some level. But if we think about God, well, the possibilities are limitless! And it’s no longer about us, our sin, our spiritual gifting, our faith index, our track record – it’s all about God and what he wants to do!
I challenge you to look at the miracles Jesus performed in Scripture. Every single time someone was healed (except for one, where the man’s focus on disappointment rather than Jesus delayed the miracle [Mark 9:14-29]), that person was not thinking about their faith or eligibility for healing. They all made a beeline towards Jesus – they were thinking only about him! They looked at Jesus and his grace and he turned to them and saw their faith. Jesus had to remind them that they had faith, he brought it up:
“Hey, you have faith, that’s what allowed for this to happen.” “Ohhh really, I didn’t know that. I was just thinking about you.” “Exactly!” (my paraphrase).
I am sad to say that our preoccupation with faith is killing faith. Every time I ask myself whether I have enough faith, the answer’s always No. But when I ask questions that focus on God’s character, “Do I have a loving enough God,” the answer is Yes! The question is not, “How’s my faith level,” but “How’s my Jesus level?” And when I have this God-fixation, I have faith, without even knowing it.