There seems to be a misconception in the church about the qualifications for receiving from God. Many in the church, God bless them, just pray shotgun prayers, hoping that the Lord will hear and heal them. But there is something we can learn from the life of Jesus and the Apostles that would help us.
If you look at the ministry of our Lord, you’ll notice that all the people that Jesus ministered to were not born again. None of them. There wasn’t a church at that time. The church didn’t exist and couldn’t exist because Jesus was still on the earth. The church didn’t come into existence until Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. So the people that Jesus healed, those miracles He performed, were for those who were not born again.
If you look in the book of Acts, the majority of the people that the Apostles ministered to were not born again. The church was on the earth by then, but the majority of the miracles performed were for non-believers. Those people received on a different level than we do today.
Have you ever been in a church and had wonderful missionaries come back to give a good report? They tell of all the mighty miracles that they have witnessed and that have been done in their ministry through the power of God. They may tell of legs growing out, sight being restored – mighty things that astound us here in the States. And yet, when they get back to the States, there’s only a few healings. There’s no mighty miracles like they have seen on the mission field. And it is almost always because these miracles have happened to unbelievers.
God requires more from the born again Christian than He does from the unbeliever. When I was in prison, I saw those possessed by demons set free, all sorts of miracles, healings that would boggle your mind. Since I’ve gotten out, I’ve only seen a sprinkling of miracles compared to what I saw in prison. I’ve even seen more miracles happen while ministering to unbelievers than I have for church folks. That’s because God expects the Christian to act on His Word and many of us don’t. Excuse me. He shouldn’t have to prove anything to us. We should take Him at His Word, act on it, get in faith, and receive. But for the unbeliever, there are very few requirements for those who don’t know better.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. – Hebrews 11:6
The Bible says that to please God, we must have faith. If it takes faith to please Him, doesn’t it make sense that we would need faith to receive from Him? Of course it does. And that agrees with the Bible.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. – Mark 11:23
When we pray and ask God for something, we must make sure that it first agrees with the Word. Faith begins where the will of God is known and the Word of God is the will of God. But we must also understand that we receive when we pray. Look at Mark 11:23 again. We don’t receive a few months down the line. That would be hope then, not faith. Bible says that we receive when we pray. That’s acting on the Word. That’s believing the Word. That is taking God at His Word.
There is a lie in Christendom that says the Christian life is a free ride. It says that Jesus has done everything and we do nothing. While there is a truth that Jesus paid the price, there’s still a part that we have to play. Have you ever been to college or know someone who has and they get all of these scholarships based on their grades? Their whole tuition gets paid in full. Some people look at these students and think to themselves, “they’re getting a free ride.” No they’re not. Yes, they got those scholarships, but it is based off all the hard work and study time put into getting those good grades. There isn’t a free ride.
There’s not a free ride in the Christian life. There’s something that you have to do – act on the Word, believe God, and receive what He has already made available. Don’t give in, don’t give up – God is with you.