Some of you know that Iíve been legally blind since birth. As I type
these words with special large print software my nose is a quarter inch
from my monitor. On occasion Iíve been cornered by those I call
"hyper-faith folk" who tell me my faith is too weak for Jesus to
heal me. In response I often point out to them the story of Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego whose trust in God was literally tested by fire.
In my thinking, the faith these men demonstrated totally discredits
hyper-faith thinking. Daniel 3:16 says, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not
need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into
the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He
will rescue us from your hand O king. But even if He does not, we want you
to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods, or worship the image of
gold you have set up".
Unlike many of us, these men felt no compulsion to defend themselves.
Why was that? Their trust was not in any defense they could present to the
king. Why waist time attempting a man made defense when ultimately God was
their defense and rescuer.
These men told the king that their "God is able to save
them". This confession alone would not satisfy hyper-faith folk
because it falls short of a positive confession. According to hyper-faith
thinking, you never say "God is able". We all know Heís able,
but believing He is able and believing "He will" are two
different things. Saying "He is able" suggests doubt. Instead,
you say "God will" because that demonstrates no hint of doubt.
Some of these people go a step further and say "God has done"
even though God hasnít done what theyíve asked.
The next statement from the lips of these men redeems them in the eyes
of hyper-faith folk because they say that "God will rescue
them". This statement of real faith is a positive confession. Thereís
no hint of doubt and therefore God is obligated to answer their request.
You can hear the cheers rise from the hyper-faith camp when these three
guys confess that "God will", but disappointment soon sets in
when they hear what these men say next. The three men add, "but even
if He does notÖ". This "but clause" in the eyes of
hyper-faith thinking has just wiped out the positive confession made in
the previous phrase. If these men really believed God would rescue them,
they would not have inserted doubt by saying "but if He does
not". This phrase is a bad confession and God is not obligated to
respond to bad confessions, although in this case He did.
So on occasion Iíve been accused of having a poor confession when I
say, " I know Jesus can heal me, but if He doesnít, Iíll still
trust Him anyway". By inserting this "but clause" into my
statement they say I demonstrate doubt, and Jesus canít respond to
doubt. They then tell me that I need to say that Jesus has already healed
me even though Iím still scraping my nose across this monitor, fogging
it up in cooler temperatures due to the warmth of my breath.
Why did these men insert this "but clause" anyway? Was this a
demonstration of underlying doubt in their lives? Certainly not. Their
trust was not based in their positive confession or any defense they could
muster up. Their trust was based in God alone, and if for some reason God
chose not to rescue them, theyíd still trust Him. Iíd say thatís
strong faith. So even though Jesus hasnít healed me after 55 years, I
still trust in Him. If my faith is as weak as hyper-faith folk have
suggested it is, I would have given up on Jesus years ago.
Our faith is not based on whether God could, should, would, or wouldnít
fulfill our requests. We should simply trust in Him for who He is. Thatís
it Ė end of story. I think part of this problem stems from our modern
Evangelical "gospel to get". This gospel puts too much emphases
on what we can get from God instead of what we can give to Him. The
"gospel to get" says that if we have faith we can get saved, get
forgiven, get healed, get prosperous, get joy, get peace, get heaven, get
pretty well anything we want. This isnít really the New Testament gospel
message, rather itís only part of the result the gospel has in our lives
The gospel message states that our Lord Jesus Christ gave His life for us,
and in response we should give our lives to Him. This "gospel to
get" only helps to fuel this man centered hyper-faith fantasy that
expects Jesus to do everything our little lips confess.
Personally, I never became a Christian to solely benefit from my
decision to do so. I became a follower of Jesus because I was convinced
that He is the ultimate, supreme, and central truth of both the spiritual
and physical universe, and once knowing this, I had no other logical
choice to make than to give myself to Him. By definition, this is what
faith is, that is, giving your life to Jesus in a trusting relationship.
Itís my thinking that the hyper-faith doctrine is a fantasy is partly
based on our humanistic consumer driven western culture and our
Evangelical "gospel to get". Itís certainly not New Testament
thinking. When you get to Heaven ask Stephen about his faith because he
was in a similar situation as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. God saved
these three guys from the fire, but He allowed the stones to kill Stephen.
Itís clear to me that Godís will supercedes any positive confessions
we can muster up.