Whether we realize it or not, our faith determines much of what we enjoy with God.
In fact, it’s impossible to please God without it (see Hebrews 11:6).
That means that God is not impressed by any type of religious activity we do by simply “going through the motions.”
He is not impacted by those who sing, pray, and speak the name of Jesus but have hearts that are distant from Him.
In other words, you can have all the right outside with all the wrong inside and that does not honor Him.
You can say you love God and say you have intimacy with Him… but one thing is for sure:
He is not a lip reader.
He is a heart reader.
You can be as disciplined as you want to be around spiritual disciplines and never touch Him.
Please don’t get me wrong.
You can do spiritual things from a place of faith. Such things He honors and they honor Him.
But we can be in the crowd that’s following Jesus… we can actually be bumping up against Him and yet… we may never touch Him.
It’s not religious activity that touches Him.
It’s not doing all the right things with the wrong heart that causes Him to look your way.
Only faith can do that.
And faith only comes from one thing… and that is hearing about Jesus (see Romans 10:17).
This is why what we hear about Him is so important.
What I hear about Jesus shapes how I see Jesus.
How I see Jesus will determine how I relate to Him.
Sadly, there are many different opinions about who Jesus is and what He does or doesn’t do in the church anymore.
But God is going to address that.
In Mark 5:25-34, we read about a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years.
She spent all that she had in an effort to get help from various physicians, but grew worse.
But after hearing about Jesus…
Did you catch that?
After she heard about Jesus, she thought to herself, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.”
What did she hear about Jesus that caused such an eruption of faith to spring up within her?
By this point in time, Jesus’ fame and renown were spreading. Testimonies of healings and
deliverances were making their way to the ears of the afflicted.
And this woman… this woman who had been a long time in a specific condition heard what Jesus was doing and concluded that He could do it for her, too.
This faith manifested itself in her coming up in the crowd behind Him and touching His cloak.
Immediately, the power of the Holy Spirit went out from Him and healed the woman.
Now…. here’s the kicker… and please don’t miss it.
Jesus turned around and asked, “Who touched my garments?”
His disciples quickly spoke up and stated the obvious by explaining that many in the crowd were pressing in on Him.
But it wasn’t the brush of a shoulder that touched Him.
It wasn’t the bump of a body wanting to be close to Him that He noticed.
And it wasn’t the woman grabbing hold of His cloak that caused Him to spin around…
He wouldn’t have felt someone touching a dangling piece of His garment.
What touched Him… what made a withdrawal on the power of the Holy Spirit was the woman’s faith.
Her reaching out was the physical manifestation of what she believed, but that’s not what touched Him.
Rather, it was this thought: “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.”
That’s faith. That’s conviction.
This faith was birthed because of what she heard…
It’s my belief, dear readers, that we are going to see an increase in faith within the church that’s going to result in encounters with Jesus that leaves us healed, delivered, and with a greater understanding and awareness of who He is.
This faith will be the result of the church preaching Jesus again — who He is, what He did, and what He wants to do.
This faith will also be the byproduct of you and I getting alone with God and asking the Holy Spirit to help us see the Son with new and fresh eyes again.
It’s the Holy Spirit that reveals Jesus to us.
One of the best things we can do is to refamiliarize ourselves with the four Gospels again.
See what Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John have to say about Jesus and let the Holy Spirit reveal Him to you again.
Fall in love with Him again.
And when the Holy Spirit speaks to you about Him… when you see what you may have lost sight of or when He shows you something you never saw before about Jesus… faith will come.
Faith for an encounter will be birthed.
I don’t know about you, but I want an encounter with God that changes everything.
I’ve had encounters with God in the past that have marked me forever… and I want more.
God wants to encounter us… and I believe that this year is going to be a year of God encounters.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries