I was considering the story of the woman with the issue of blood who touched the hem of Jesus' garment and received healing. The Holy Spirit began to call my attention to the woman. Scripture says that she was saying to herself "if I only touch His cloak, I will get well." The object of her faith was not the cloak of Jesus. It was HIM and the power that she believed He possessed. He did not disappoint her.
Her faith was not in a religious system. It was not a combination of medicine and religion. It was not in some kind of symbolism or religious tradition. She didn't worship His cloak! She had heard about Jesus! She had learned that HE had the power to heal and that He was so powerful that all she needed to do was to connect to anything that was connected to Him and she would be healed. Wow! Do I see Jesus that way? Do I really believe that HE can do anything?
The Holy Spirit began to challenge me to consider who or what my faith is in. Modern religion tells us that if WE do this or that, God will answer. If we pray more, if we speak in tongues more, if we fast, or if we find a scripture and repeat it to ourselves a million times a day, then God will hear and answer our prayer. Did you notice what pronoun stands out there? WE! It's not WE! It's HIM! Anything WE do is simply works if the object of our faith is not HIM! HE is our healing. HE is everything that we need. It is HIS work on Calvary that gives us access to all the spiritual blessings of scripture, including salvation and healing. It has never and will never depend on us! We cannot earn blessings by doing religious activities or even by becoming "more spiritual." All it takes is faith in what HE accomplished by dying on the cross. Boy, does that ever relieve the pressure of thinking that there is something that we have to do outside of having simple faith and trust in the love of God and the finished work of Jesus. That's why He said "IT IS FINISHED!" It is! It sounds too simple. But it is just that simple, yet it seems a hard thing for humans to grasp because it not only removes us from any responsibility or control but it also puts us in the humble position of being needy and without any resources of our own. We can't "help" the Lord answer our prayers. But we do have to fight sometimes to believe. We rely completely on Jesus to save us, but after that, we stop relying on Him for our sanctification and enter into the realm of religious works. You see, there are religious works for us to do according to the book of Peter, but any sanctifying work IN us is solely accomplished through faith by the Holy Spirit. We cannot change ourselves, we cannot change our hearts, even after we are saved but we sure do give it the old college try. It will always end in failure. Only Christ, through the Holy Spirit can change the heart of man.
Our only fight is to fight the fight of faith, that is to keep Jesus as the only object of our faith. To put our trust in God to do what He said He would do and to believe that what Jesus did makes it all possible. This, my friends, is why Jesus should be the most precious thing to us. Not only did we need Him for salvation, but we need Him every single day for our sanctification too. The Holy Spirit does nothing in our lives unless our faith is in the one who already accomplished it for us. Christ conquered the sin nature so that it no longer has to reign in us, as it did before salvation. Now the Holy Spirit can work it in us. We only need to allow Him access which only comes through faith in Christ and Him crucified.
That is a challenging thing in today's modern church. There is so much religion and religious activity, none of which changes anything for us on a personal level. Only when we are looking unto Jesus, the author AND THE FINISHER of our faith can we live a life that glorifies God and guarantees us victory!