Bishop B. Manjoro Dunamis
Throughout my life I have taught about faith hundreds of times- from different perspectives and angles. In this article, I would like to show that faith has levels thus will elaborate the three main dimensions of faith.
- Believing when something happens
The first dimension of faith is the low level and basic one. In John 20 we are told that after Jesus had died and resurrected He came to visit the disciples, but Thomas was not there. When the other disciples narrated what happened, Thomas didn’t believe and emphatically declared that, “. . . Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20: 25). A few days later, Jesus appeared to the disciples while Thomas was present, and that’s when Thomas believed that indeed He was alive.
The Thomas kind of faith is where we all came from. During our early or formative stages of our Christian lives, we would believe after seeing something happening, but we found it difficult to believe before it happens.
During the 1990s, there was a lady who came to my office and she couldn’t swallow food and water. I just prayed a short prayer, and let her go home. However, she was angry with me, because she thought the prayer needed to be longer for it to be effective.
When she reached home, she was given a glass of water and managed to swallow it all — that’s when she realised that she was healed. The next day, she came to my office, to ask for forgiveness.
I was actually surprised because I didn’t realise that she was offended by the short prayer.
What I want to emphasise is that it’s not about the length of the prayer, but the depth of your faith.
Believing when something happens might be okay when you are still young in Christian life, but you need to grow beyond that. Jesus said, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20: 29).
- Persistent faith
The second dimension of faith is what I call persistent or tenacity. This faith was clearly exhibited by that widow who continuously pestered the unjust judge to listen to her petition so that he could pronounce a fair judgement (Luke 17: 2-8). Jesus commended the woman for her tenacity which eventually paid off.
The current generation is used to instant things- instant coffee — instant gratification — etc. When you pray to God about something, indeed it can manifest instantly, but it can take time- which requires the believer to be persistent and continue to believe that God will provide.
In the Bible we see Daniel praying and fasting for 21 days. But towards the end of the fast, the Angel told Daniel that from the day he started to think about his prayer- God answered him.
However, the prince of Persia (essentially are demons for that area) held the answer so that it would not get to Daniel. Sometimes, God would have answered you, but there are spiritual forces that hold our answers and what we need to do is to be persistent in our faith and prayer.
Long back, there was a man who came to see me and he was married to his wife for five years, but they didn’t have a child. After the prayer session, he passed through the clothing shops and bought napkins for the child he believed God had provided. The other time, he bought buckets and other items in preparation for the child.
The wife then called her husband’s uncle to come so that he could witness how crazy (mentally) the husband was turning out to be. But the man told his uncle that he was attending lunch hour services where faith was being preached and he strongly believed that God will shortly give him a child. And finally he was blessed not only with one child but many. So if you want something- be persistent because you don’t always get instant coffee.
Even if you are blocked, don’t change your confession. Press on, declare it, pursue it- for persistent faith pays off.
- The “Centurion kind” of faith
The third dimension of faith, is what I perceive to be the highest form of faith. In Matthew 8, we hear of a Centurion who had a servant sick of palsy and he was in intense suffering. Jesus promised the centurion that he would come to his home to heal the sick person. But the Centurion’s answer surprised Jesus. The Centurion said, there was no need for Jesus to travel all the way to his home, but if He could only speak a Word, then his servant would be healed. The Bible said, “When Jesus heard it, He marvelled and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8: 10).
The Centurion knew that Jesus had power to heal his servant from wherever He was. He believed that distance was not a barrier, thus he didn’t want to bother Jesus with walking for something he could do from any place.
When you reach this level of faith, you don’t seek the Pastor to constantly lay his/her hands on your head (kubatwa musoro), but you believe just by the Word spoken.
When you attain this level of faith, you are a fully grown and mature Christian. You actually rejoice on things you haven’t get- things you haven’t touched and things you haven’t see.
“For with God, all things are possible” (Mark 10: 27).