Great Faith and Humility – Part 1by Mark R. Anderson Excerpts from Mark’s Upcoming book Humility The Hidden Key to Walking in Signs and Wonders
The focus of this article is to examine what the Bible calls great faith. We will endeavor to do this by looking at the lives of two individuals Jesus commended for their faith. Through their lives and responses to Jesus we will see what is necessary to have and walk in ‘great faith’. We will also see the role humility has in having and walking in great faith. I believe if you add humility and faith together God can use you in powerful ways that you never thought possible. That is why I believe it is so important in this coming move of God to know and understand humility and faith. In many churches faith is ignored and they do not want to mention it, let alone study it or live by it. Jesus said “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:8b)?
WHAT IS FAITH?
First off let’s look at what real faith is. According to the dictionary faith means to believe without proof or to have trust in someone or in a promise. The Bible explains faith in Hebrews 11:1 this way, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence (realization) of things not seen.” Faith in God’s promises is like having the title deed to that promise. Faith is not hope. Hope is expecting something in the future. Faith believes it is yours right now even though you do not see it. All you know is God said it in His Word.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Many have turned away from walking or living by faith because they witnessed the abuse of faith by some who were imbalanced or given to improper extremes in faith. Others do not truly understand what it is to have faith or how to appropriate it! Without faith in any area of our Christian walk we cannot please God. Some do not act in faith because their pride stands in the way. They wonder what others will think of them. “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3b).
Faith in God literally activates God’s miracle working power. Jesus tells us what faith is, in Mark 11:12-14, 20-26 “Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps he would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, Let no one eat fruit from you ever again. And His disciples heard it.. Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried to the roots. And Peter remembering, said to Him, Rabbi look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away. So Jesus answered and said to them, Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Notice that Jesus cursed the fig tree from the roots (verse 20), but nothing happened immediately, in the natural realm. Those who heard Jesus curse the fig tree may have wondered what He was doing. Many believers are concerned what others will think if they choose to walk by faith. Many try to deal with the surface issues or symptoms of a problem, rather than getting to the root of a problem. Doing this will not produce lasting freedom. All they will be able to do is learn to cope with their problems. Jesus dealt with the root in teaching us the principles of real faith.
In verse 21 Peter was astonished that the tree had withered away from the roots. Jesus cursed the fig tree to show His disciples how faith works.
In verse 22 Jesus says, “have faith in God.” The Greek version is “have the faith of God.” It is one thing to have faith but quite another to have God’s faith working through you. When it is His faith working through you it becomes much easier to have God’s power flowing through you. Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.”
Jesus goes on to explain what it is to have this kind of faith. We should learn from Jesus’ example. You can gather from the next four verses that faith does not operate by the five physical senses. Too much dependence in the Body of Christ has been on the five physical senses or what we can do naturally. God is supernatural and wants to make His power available to us. One way we tap into His power or activate this power is when we walk by faith. Faith affects the spiritual realm, which has preeminence over the physical or natural realm. It is for this reason that Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight (5 physical senses).”
In these last days you will never grasp and tap into the enormity of faith and miracles on a consistent basis if you are governed by your five physical senses, rather than faith in God’s promises. Jesus speaking of the last days “men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:26). If you do not adhere to or walk by faith you will be focused on the natural realm (5 physical senses) and negative things around you. That will in turn give place to fear which activates demonic powers. 2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Stay focused on Jesus and His Word. That will help you walk in faith.
In Verse 23 Jesus tells us to speak to the mountain (problem) before us and it will be removed. He does not tell us to ignore the mountain or problem. It is essential that we acknowledge it and confront it with faith in Him.
It is interesting that in this verse Jesus repeatedly says we will have what we say. If we desire to walk in faith then we need to understand the power of our words or tongue. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Often we speak words of death and end up with what we speak because we do not heed Jesus’ words. We have what we say but do not want what we have.
According to Mark 11:24 when should we believe we receive what we pray for? The minute we pray! It is immaterial whether we see it or feel it immediately! Faith says it is as good as answered because God said it.
For instance, if I have a problem before me, like a sickness or financial need, and I pray, if my prayer is answered instantly, do I need faith for those needs to be met? Of course not! When is faith needed? When we do not see the answer in the natural realm! Faith in God and His promises releases His miracle working power, affecting the spiritual realm, then the natural realm.
Many stop at verse 24, not realizing that verse 25 and 26 are key to walking and living by faith as well. If we walk in unforgiveness, offense, or have a prideful and critical attitude, we can literally short-circuit our faith and our miracle. It is also a breeding ground for unbelief. Fear and unbelief are contrary to faith. Unfortunately, in Mark 6:1-6 Jesus was unable to heal people in His hometown because of unbelief and offense, even though everywhere else He healed everyone who trusted in Him. If we are easily offended and have a critical attitude or unforgiveness our faith may never get out of the chute. These negatives will hinder the blessings of God in our lives.
Unforgiveness, anger and bitterness can also be a breeding ground for disease like cancer or arthritis because it can release toxins into our body that make us more susceptible to these illnesses. That is why Jesus deals with the root problems, to get them out of the way so our faith can work freely. It takes humility to recognize there are root problems in our life that can hinder faith from working. Humility will help us see our need to repent and deal with the root problem.
Great Faith and Humility – Part 2
by Mark R. Anderson
THE CENTURION’S FAITH
“A certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them. And when he was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, Lord do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it. When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel. And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick” (Luke 7:2-10).
In verse 9 Jesus says, “I have not found such GREAT FAITH, not even in Israel.” What was so GREAT about the centurion’s faith? First of all this man understood the importance of adding humility to his faith (vs. 6-7). Here is a commander in the Roman army humbling himself to receive from Jesus. Many in a high position would never think of humbling themselves to receive something. He understood that in and of himself he was not worthy that Jesus should do anything for him. Some have ignored this key ingredient of humility and have come across with an arrogant attitude of ‘God, you owe me.’
Namaan was also a commander (of the Syrian army). He was struck with leprosy. Namaan travelled to Israel to meet the Prophet Elisha who he hoped could cure him. The prophet Elisha did not come out and meet him. Instead he sent word though his servant Gehazi that Namaan, should immerse himself seven times in the Jordan river to be delivered from leprosy. The solution greatly infuriated Namaan, as he expected better treatment because of his military position. As a result of offense and pride, he was ready to walk away from his miracle. His servant encouraged him to humble himself, not get offended, and obey the prophet. Namaan heeded his servant’s advice and humbled himself. As a result Namaan came away with his miracle ( 2 Kings 5:1-19). How many others have missed out on a miracle because of pride and offense?
Why did the centurion say he was unworthy? He realized his beliefs were not in line with God’s way of doing things and thus he was not worthy that Jesus should come to his house. He was honest enough with Jesus that he was not worthy in and of himself. Because of his humility and faith Jesus said he had the greatest faith He had seen. Jesus has made us worthy of nothing less than His ultimate best. But in and of ourselves we are not worthy. It is only because of what He did at Calvary. We need to keep this in mind.
“God resists (Greek-ranges in battle against) the proud but He gives GRACE TO THE HUMBLE” (ref. James 4:6 & 1 Peter 5:5). If there is anything that I have learned from all my years in ministry is that every blessing or gift from God comes only by His grace. Who gets the grace? The humble of heart! This centurion was very humble, especially for someone who was a high ranking officer like he was.
Many think that to receive a healing or miracle they have to take certain steps, or do certain things and then somehow they might receive a miracle or healing from Jesus. Jesus healed many different ways. The focus needs to be Jesus and that everything good only comes by His grace alone. We cannot work up grace. Humility, being teachable and pliable helps us be a candidate for His grace.
Other concepts the of great faith the centurion understood are found in verse 7. He knew Jesus had the authority to speak the word and heal his servant and asked Him to do so. In order to see success in a healing ministry people need to know that you have the authority or power in Jesus’ name to minister to them, and then allow you to do so. You cannot force healing on someone. Generally people need to pursue Jesus’ healing power and want prayer.
Notice once again the power of words. This man believed in the power of Jesus’ spoken word. The majority of people receive healing in our campaigns by our speaking the Word and the name of Jesus over them and their sickness without even laying hands on them. Your words have authority and produce life if used correctly.
This man understood that another important fact regarding faith and humility (verse 8) was to be under authority, or one could say in submission. This is the same thing mentioned in James 4:7 and 1 Peter 5:5. Some never tap into healing and miracles because either they are too proud to submit or to learn from somebody who is proven in that area of ministry. To walk in authority and faith we should be accountable and in submission to others.
Many Christian leaders will critcize those who operate in healing ministries. Then they try to operate in healing themselves and wonder why healing is so sporadic for them. Being critical, prideful and unteachable will keep us from tapping into Christ’s healing power. Healings and miracles become very inconsistent in an environment like this.
Finally the centurion understood that we have been given authority. If we are to perform the miracles of Jesus we need to look at how He used authority to command sickness, infirmities and demons to go. Every person born on planet earth was given authority just like Jesus but we need the Holy Spirit to help us carry out that authority. “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). Many were awed by the authority that Jesus exercised. We have the same authority available to us because the same Holy Spirit is living in us. We just need to learn from Jesus’ example of how to operate in authority.
THE CAANANITE WOMAN’S FAITH
Matthew 15:21-28, “Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him saying, have mercy on me O Lord, Son of David. My daughter is severely demon possessed. But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, Send her away, for she cries out after us. But He answered and said, I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then she came and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, help me! But He answered and said, It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs. And she said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table. Then Jesus answered and said to her, O woman, GREAT IS YOUR FAITH! Let it be to you as you desire. And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
Jesus said to this woman in verse 28, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” What was so great about this woman’s faith? First she was a Canaanite. Canaanites were idolaters indulging in extreme perversion. They even sacrificed their children to demon gods. The Jews referred to them as dogs. In verse 22 she cries out to Jesus for a miracle for her daughter who had a demon. In verse 23, Jesus did not answer a word. His disciples wanted her to be sent away. It seemed as though Jesus and His disciples did not care. If we were given such treatment, would we be offended and walk away, or persevere like this woman did? This woman stayed in faith coupled with humility. In verse 24 Jesus tells her that He came only for the lost sheep of Israel. It did not look very promising for this woman or her daughter. This is where real faith kicks in!
The Canaanite woman walked in extreme humility as revealed in verse 25. She started to worship the very One, who first ignored her and later informed her that He had only come for the lost sheep of Israel. She continued to plead for help. In verse 26, Jesus refers to her as a dog. Why would Jesus say something like this? Because this is exactly how the Jews perceived the Canaanites due to their perverted lifestyle. Jesus was doing all this to use this woman as an example of GREAT FAITH and humility for others to witness and hear.
This woman could have been easily offended and left because of the insolent treatment meted out to her by Jesus and those who walked with Him. Instead she chose to worship Him, press in for her miracle, and left receiving one. So many Christians today are easily offended. They are unwilling to humble themselves and thus are unable to see the very things that have brought their problems on. They start to grumble and complain saying that faith does not work. Preachers offend them and they cease attending church. Some might actually buy into the lie that God does not care for them and never answers their prayers.
The truth is that all along God was ready to answer their prayers, but pride in being unwilling to deal with their own problems and offense short circuited the power of God. If you think about this mother and daughter, why did this daughter have a demon in the first place? It was their perverted lifestyle, worship or part of their culture that invited demons to come into the daughter’s body. Jesus was dealing with the root issue of this woman’s life to help get rid of the demon. The mother’s faith, humility and worship of Jesus, which was contrary to her belief, is what opened the door to the daughter’s freedom.
Jesus’ teachings often offended the religious leaders of His day and they did not receive healing from Him because of their arrogance and offense. These religious leaders were very learned men but their arrogance and offense kept them from receiving from Jesus. I believe the same problem exists today in many churches. The religious spirit in the church is a great hindrance to the move of God. This woman (outside of the covenant) should be an example to all of us of great faith and humility.
Humility and Healing
In the examples mentioned in this article humility was coupled with faith. Many will dive into faith and think it’s the cure to all their problems, but as you can see faith works with other fruit of the Spirit like humility, love, perseverance, patience (ref. Galatians 5:6, 2 Peter 1:5-8). Hebrews 6:12 says, “That you do not become sluggish (lazy), but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
I know people today who need a miracle. They seem to have faith but do not understand how true humility works and they continue to walk in pride and bondage. Let us learn from those who had GREAT FAITH, acknowledging any issue in our lives that may need to be dealt with so we can tap into Christ’s unhindered power and blessing. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Healing spiritually, mentally, physically, and financially takes place when we humble ourselves.
Unrepentant sin is an open door for the enemy to walk all over us. When we humble ourselves and turn from the very thing that might have opened the door to the enemy in the first place God says He will forgive our sin (which closes the door on the enemy) and He will bring a lasting healing to us. It takes humility to acknowledge hindrances to healing in our lives and deal with them.
Proverbs 3:7-8 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes (be humble); Fear the Lord (reverence) and depart from evil. It will be HEALTH TO YOUR FLESH And strength (Hebrew -Refreshment and marrow) to your bones.