Some years ago, a friend of mine told me about a woman evangelist who preached in the early days of the Pentecostal Movement.
In one of her meetings, she ministered to four people in wheelchairs. To all four she said in a quite voice, "Arise and walk in Jesus' Name!"
And they all got up and walked—except the fourth one.
"I can't walk," she said.
"The others couldn't walk, either," the evangelist pointed out, "but they did."
The woman replied, "I know they did, but I can't walk. I haven't walked in years. I can't walk."
And the evangelist had to walk away and leave her sitting there, still in unbelief.
Results Are Forthcoming
You see, when those first three people began to act upon what was told them, results were forthcoming. When you act upon what God's Word says, or act upon what the Holy Spirit may speak to your heart, results are forthcoming. That is faith!
A woman in one of the churches I pastored had arthritis and was in a wheelchair. The doctor had told her some years before that her body eventually would become rigid and she wouldn't be able to move. She would become confined to a wheelchair, her body fixed in a sitting position. And it did come to pass; her body was stiff as a board.
She and her husband never missed a service. Now, I could pray for this woman and she would receive instant healing for such minor ailments as the flu or a cold. But it bothered me that she never once asked for prayer for healing from the arthritis.
There were people in that church who had been healed of very serious ailments, and I knew it was God's will to heal her too.
Some might argue, "Well, it may not be God's will," but I know it is God's will to heal people! (That doesn't mean that Christians who don't get healed aren't going to heaven. It just means they are robbed of a blessing while on this earth.)
One afternoon a small group of us from the church went to this crippled, woman's house to pray with her determined to see her delivered from that wheelchair. As we prayed, I saw exactly what God wanted me to do.
I said to everyone, "Get back away from her." We were in a large room. I went across the room from her and said, "Everybody watch, but I don't want anyone to touch her. Stay away from her."
They I pointed a finger at her and said, "Now, my Sister, arise and walk in the Name of Jesus Christ!"
My wife and I and the members of that prayer group are witnesses to the fact that the power of God listed her up out of that chair. She sat suspended in mid-air above the wheelchair! She could move her arms and immediately she reached down with those little, crippled hands for the wheelchair. The moment she did, she fell back down into the chair.
As she did, without thinking—I know it was the Spirit of God in me—I pointed to her and said, "Sister, you don't have an ounce of faith, do you? You don't believe you'll ever be healed of this arthritis, do you?"
She blurted out, "No, Brother Hagin, I don't. I'll die and go to my grave with it." And she did.
It's Up To You To Obey
You cannot receive from God beyond actual faith. Do you know what would have happened if she had cooperated with God's healing power? She would have been healed. Every joint in her body would have been loosened. She would have begun to walk!
Too many people think that God's power—healing power, Holy Spirit power—is going to move on them and make them do something whether they want to do it or not. No! That wouldn't be the Holy Spirit; that would be an evil spirit.
Evil spirits force, drive, and compel you to do things. But the Holy Spirit urges, prompts, or gives a gentle push. They it is up to you to respond. It is up to you to obey.
While I was conducting a meeting in Texas, a woman in that town wrote a friend in another city, telling her how many were receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit in the services. She invited her friend down for the weekend services.
The friend drove down and was in two of our services before coming forward to receive the Holy Spirit. I laid my hands on her head, prayed and the Holy Spirit came upon her. The utterance came. But I couldn't get her to respond or receive.
In the next service, which was Sunday morning, she came again for prayer. Once again the Holy Spirit came upon her and gave her utterance, but again she did not yield and receive.
I knew exactly what was wrong, but I knew it would take time to instruct her, and it was getting late. I turned the service over to the pastor.
Then I slipped through the side door and was walking across the parking lot toward the parsonage when I saw her sitting in her car. She looked so disappointed as she sat there a moment before turning the ignition key to begin her journey home.
I asked the Lord to let me help her. Instantly the Spirit of God showed me how to quickly help her. I walked over to her car, opened my Bible to Acts 2:4, and as I handed it to her through the window, I asked her to read it aloud.
She read, "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
"Sister," I asked, "who does the Scripture say did the speaking with tongues?"
She replied, "It says the Holy Ghost did."
I asked her to read it again. She read it again. I asked her the same question. She gave the same reply. So I repeated the question. Finally, on the fourth time around, she caught on that something must be wrong, so she began to read slowly, "And - they - were - all - filled - with - the - Holy - Ghost - and - began - to - speak..."
Looking astonished, she said, "Why, THEY did!"
She took my Bible out of its case and examined it. She said she thought perhaps I had a different Bible from hers, but it was the same—a Scofield reference edition.
"You know," she said, "I always thought the Holy Spirit did the speaking."
I told her I had known that. Then I said, "Let's read several other Scriptures. God's Word ways that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall a thing be established."
We read Acts 10:44-46: While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision, which believed, were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard THEM speak with tongues and magnify God….
"Oh," she exclaimed, "I see it!"
"That's two witnesses," I said. "Let's get three."
So we read Acts 19:6,
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and THEY spake with tongues, and prophesied.
The woman said, "You know, Brother Hagin, if I had been called to testify in a court and the lawyer had asked me who did the speaking in tongues, I would have said the Holy Spirit did, and I would have thought I was telling the truth."
I said, "I want to ask you something. When I laid my hands on you, did you sense the Holy Spirit? Did the power of God come upon you?"
"Absolutely," she answered.
"Did your tongue want to say something that wasn't English?"
"Why," she said, "it was all I could do to keep it from it."
"You're not supposed to keep it from it," I told her.
"You're supposed to cooperate. When the Holy Spirit gives you utterance, you must have faith to act."
Immediately she began to speak in a most beautiful tongue.
Faith Is Acting On God's Word
It's time to quit hanging around and to start acting on the Word of God, because faith is acting.
I was in one church where there was a man who had been severely burned over the lower part of his body. He couldn't walk; he just scooted along.
In one of the services, the Holy Spirit told me to have everyone who had something wrong with them from their hips down to come into the healing line. This man was the first in line.
I waited until they were all in line before I told them what else God had said for me to tell them to do. I went up to this man and asked, "Can you run?"
It took him by surprise. "Oh, my God, no," he said. "I can't even walk, much less run."
I said, "That's what the Lord has told me to do—to tell you to run."
The man didn't even give it a second thought. He turned and started scooting up the aisle as fast as he could. The third time he came around, the Spirit of the Lord came upon me and I jumped off that platform, grabbed the man by the hand, and ran around that building with him. When we got back to the front, he was walking normally; not scooting. He was perfectly healed.
However, if I hadn't been able to get him to cooperate and act on his faith, I couldn't have helped him. Faith, you see, is acting on God's Word—doing whatever He says to do in His Word, or whatever He may say to us in the Spirit.
It's one thing to believe. It's another to believe and act on that belief!
(Taken by permission from RHEMA Bible Church , aka Kenneth Hagin Ministries , Tulsa , OK , USA. www.rhema.org )