God likes faith.
One reason He does is because those who believe receive from God, and those who don’t, many times do without. The fact is, some needs will never be met, some storms will never cease and some giants will never be killed until we believe.
Choosing to believe God opens the windows of heaven and releases His blessings like nothing else will.
Let’s look at the subject of faith as it relates to Jesus’ resurrection and notice how important faith was to Jesus.
“Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.” —Mark 16:14
Jesus expected His disciples to believe He was alive and rebuked them because they chose not to. If they had been incapable of believing in His resurrection, He would have comforted and encouraged them. Choosing to believe in His resurrection was a choice they were well able to make but decided not to. There is a difference between can’t and won’t.
Unbelief was not inevitable, they chose it.
Before we see what faith looks like, let’s look at unbelief in the life of Thomas. He was not with the others when Jesus initially appeared to them. By studying the case of Thomas, we can learn how to avoid unbelief. What he did is easy to do, but it is the opposite of faith.
“Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’” John 20:24-25
This is a picture of unbelief. Thomas wasn’t willing to believe the testimony of the other disciples or the words of Jesus. Jesus had told them numerous times He would die and be raised from the dead. The disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus alive, yet his faith was only in what his physical senses could verify.
Jesus called this natural, human faith, unbelief and hardness of heart.
God will not make His people believe, and if they choose not to, they forfeit what God has made available. Unbelief kept an entire generation of Israel out of the Promised Land.
It’s up to the person to mix faith with the promises of God (Heb. 4:2).
We only have five physical senses, and Thomas demanded that two of them confirm that Jesus was alive before he would believe it—sight and touch (Jn. 20:25).
Many Christians today have the same standards. They will not believe the promises of God unless they see some kind of physical evidence. In Bible terms, this is called unbelief.
Jesus expected more from Thomas, and He expects more from us.
It’s easy to rationalize unbelief. Thomas could have said the same things we hear today—such as, “I’m a realist. I refuse to get carried away with emotion like these fanatics,” or “I don’t want to get my hopes up and be disappointed again, so I’ll just wait for real proof before I decide,” or “You just never know what God’s going to do. Let’s just wait and see.” All of these things are excuses that cause people not to believe the promises of God now.
Later on, Jesus appeared to Thomas:
“Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” John 20:27-28
The next statement Jesus made is a word for us today:
“Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” John 20:29
To receive God’s greatest blessings, we must choose to believe before we see. This is the very definition of Bible faith. We must believe we receive them, and then we will have them (Mk. 11:24).
The good news is, we can do this!
We allow one or more of our five physical senses to override the others all the time. If you’ve ever been inside a building and heard an airplane fly overhead, you’ve done this. Even though you can’t see, smell or taste it, you are convinced beyond any doubt that an airplane is flying over.
I grew up in Missouri, and every once in a while, a skunk would come through our yard in the night. I never heard or saw it, so if I had asked my ears or eyes if there was a skunk in the yard the answer would have been “No.” But because I smelled it, I didn’t need any confirmation from my eyes or ears. I knew there was a skunk in the yard because of smell alone. I allowed that one sense to override all the others.
If you’ve ever had soup with too much salt, you’ve done the same thing with the sense of taste. You can’t see it or smell it, but you know when there’s too much salt by taste alone. For Thomas to refuse to believe in the resurrection unless his sense of sight and touch confirmed it, was setting the bar too high. If he had continued to demand that kind of physical evidence to believe, he would have forfeited God’s greater blessings for the rest of his life. Blessed are they who believe and have not seen.
It’s your faith, you can set the bar wherever you want!
We can do the opposite of Thomas and step out in the faith that moves mountains. We can say, “I don’t have to see it, feel it, hear it, smell it or touch it. If God’s Word says it’s so, I believe it’s so.” Allow faith to hold the place of the sixth sense in your life.
If you can believe a skunk is outside your window when only your sense of smell says so, surely you can believe you’re saved, blessed, healed and delivered because your faith says it’s so! Let faith has as much authority in your life as the senses of sight or smell.
In fact, life changes when we put more confidence in our faith than we do in sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
This is exactly what Abraham did. He is called the father of those who believe (Rom. 4:11). We should follow his faith. Notice how Abraham put faith above sight:
“And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.” —Romans 4:19
His body was 100 years old, he could see and touch it. His senses told him it was impossible to have a child. Sarah’s body was 90 years old. Their physical senses told them it was never going to happen. Rather than believe what he could feel and see, he put confidence in the sixth sense—faith.
2 Corinthians 4:18 says the same thing in a different way:
“…while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
How do we look at things that aren’t seen? By faith. Abraham did the opposite of what Thomas did, and it’s his faith we should follow.
Abraham allowed this sixth sense (faith) to override what all the other senses told him. He was fully persuaded that what God promised was true. He couldn’t see, touch, taste, smell or hear it, but he believed it because his faith was in the promise of God.
Isaac went by his sense of touch, and he was wrong. It only felt like Esau because of Jacob’s deception (Gen. 27:22).
Anytime God’s Word disagrees with your senses, always go with what God says, and remember the words of Jesus, “Blessed are they who believe and have not seen.”