“His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he sayeth unto you, do it…” (John 2:5)
As believers, most of us desire to have God’s power in operation in our lives. We have formulas, seven steps to success plans, etc., and countless books and articles on “how to access the glory,” and yet not much happens a good portion of the time. “Well, you just have to pray!” “If you repent and clean your life of all sin, then God will move!” You’ve got to fast at least once a week!” While these principles can have their place at the proper time, by themselves they are simply religious works that accomplish little more than more frustration.
Now, before you start thinking, “Alright, it’s another faith message…” Let’s take a look at the true, biblical meaning of faith. James 2:17 tells us that faith without works is dead, which means that in order for faith to be considered faith we must also do something in relation to our faith. In other words, we must do whatever it is that God has told us to do. One of the gifts of the Spirit is the working of miracles (I Corinthians 12:10). There is a working of miracles. The word “working” denotes that some type of action is required. At a wedding, in Cana of Galilee, the hosts had run out of wine. Mary came to Jesus asking Him to do something about the situation, and Jesus responded by telling them to fill the waterpots with water and serve the governor of the feast, which they did, and the result was a miracle (John 2:1-11).
All throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, God has functioned the same way. He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his son. Abraham set out to obey, and although God stopped him before he could follow through with the act, his willingness and obedience opened the door for God to be able to send Jesus. In the book of Genesis, God told Noah to build an ark because he was going to flood the earth, and He gave him the blueprint for it. Noah built the ark according to God’s specifications, and when he was finished, it began to rain. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:7 that it was this very act of obedience that enabled God to bring judgment on the earth in the form of the flood. If Noah had not obeyed what God had told him to do, then the flood could not have taken place.
One of the major misconceptions of religious tradition is that “God is in control, and can do anything that He wants.” If this were true, then Jesus never would have had to go to the cross. God would have simply passed an “executive order” and fixed Adam’s hopeless situation (Matthew 26:39). God cannot lie; He created Adam and gave him dominion over the earth, and has never taken it back. When God wants to do something powerful in the earth, He needs to find a man or woman who will cooperate with Him by faith. He needs someone to hear Him and obey. This has been the case since the Garden of Eden.
The Apostle Paul had one of the most powerful ministries ever recorded. People were raised from the dead, healed, and demons were cast out. He had visions and revelations, and was even caught up to the third heaven (II Corinthians 12:1-4). Paul also revealed the secret to the power that he walked in… “I die daily.” It wasn’t his “consecration” that impressed God and enabled Him to move powerfully, but rather Paul’s humility that enabled him to believe and obey. He realized that his own efforts and works were futile, but obedience to God’s Word brought the manifestation of His power. We all have individual and unique callings, and God has a specific way in which He wants to manifest in each of our lives.
Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, and do not the things that I say?” (Luke 6:46) Many people want God to move in their lives. They run from meeting to meeting, year after year, and have all the famous preachers pray for them, but then little changes. They cry out, “God why aren’t you moving?” They are doing everything in order to get God to move in their situation, except what He told them to do.
Every genuine move of God has extremes and abuses, and the “Word of faith movement” has been no exception. Many have heard the message of faith, confessed scriptures, and when it didn’t work, they got frustrated and walked away from it, and in some cases even persecuted it. They attempted to walk in the principles of God apart from a relationship with Him, and failure and frustration were the inevitable result. Jesus, when He walked the earth, never did anything independent of His relationship with the Father; He said what He heard the Father say, and He did what He saw the Father do (John 5:19, 12:49). He walked in obedience to the Father, and the Father was able to do what He pleased through Him.
God has given us exceeding great and precious promises, and we can be one hundred percent assured that every one of them is faithful and true if we believe and act on them. James 1:5 tells us that if anyone lacks wisdom that he should ask of God. There may be components of your problem that you don’t see. For example, you may believe for healing, and God may reveal to you that there is something in your diet that is causing the problem. The question is not “if” God will give you the victory in your situation, but rather “how.”
When Naaman the Syrian was leprous, he sought for the prophet in Israel to come and lay hands on him and heal him. But when Elisha heard his request, he didn’t come personally, but rather sent messengers back to him… “Go and dip in the Jordan seven times…” (II Kings 5:10). Naaman was furious, and refused to do what Elisha told him. He had a predetermined idea on how it should have been accomplished, and going swimming was not in his plans. Fortunately, for Namaan, one of his servants reasoned with him and he finally obeyed. He was then made perfectly whole (II Kings 5:14).
Many years ago, I had no tolerance for doctors or medicine, and believed that if you were a believer, and had a revelation of divine healing, then you should receive your healing from God; anything else was unbelief. I had always declared the word and received my healing. However, one day, I had been afflicted with some sort of affliction on my body, and it wasn’t getting any better. The Lord spoke to me and told me to go to the doctor. I thought, “This is not God!” I continued to declare the Word of God, and refused to go. But God kept saying the same thing. Finally I went, and the doctor gave me an antibiotic, and within two days my throat was perfectly well. The Lord spoke to me and said, “My promise is healing, but how I do it is my business!” He corrected me in my thinking. The problem wasn’t doctors, but rather trusting in doctors. If we put our trust in the Lord, then God can use whatever means that He wants in order to fulfill the promise.
When we obey God, powerful things happen. God’s principles are not “formulas for success,” but rather principles of the Kingdom, and when we believe and act on them in response to our faith and relationship with the Father, they never fail. Years ago, I heard a well-known preacher say, “God has never failed to answer one of my prayers…” This man had been in the ministry for over 50 years! I thought, “How could this be?” But then the Lord showed me that it was a matter of knowing what to ask for… “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us…” (I John 5:14). James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lack wisdom, let Him ask of God…”
King David knew that it was the will of God to deliver him from all of his enemies, but the Philistines had set themselves in array against him (II Samuel 5:17-25). What did David do? Did he arrogantly rush into battle before talking to the Lord? No, he inquired first of the Lord, and then God gave him a strategy. He did what God told him to do and defeated his enemies. Soon after that, the Philistines returned (maybe it was the very next day), and the scenario was exactly the same as before. David could have said to himself, “I know how to handle this situation!” and then proceed to handle it the same way as he did previously, but he didn’t. Instead, he again inquired of the Lord, and God gave him a completely different strategy.
When we align ourselves with God’s will and plan, powerful things happen. We can have every prayer answered. James 4:2-3 gives us the reason why many of our prayers are not answered… “You ask amiss…” God’s will is revealed in His Word regarding many of the things that we have need of in our lives, but we need to hear the Holy Spirit for direction. What do we need to do? What is the underlying, root issue of the situation that we’re dealing with? It may not be what we think. But God will always give us the answer if we ask Him in faith. He will show us the way to victory.