When Peter and John saw a man who was lame from birth sitting at the temple gate seeking alms, they had no money but still had something to give. Peter looked at the man and said, “Silver and gold I don’t have, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Peter grabbed him by the right hand and immediately he received strength in his feet and ankle bones. The people all around stared in awe at Peter and John, but Peter knew that the healing had nothing to do with him and explained to the people, “You men of Israel, why are you amazed at this? Or why do you look so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” –Acts 3:12 Peter proceeded to explain that it was through faith in the name of Jesus that the man was strengthened saying, “…the faith which is by him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”
Peter knew that his body was being used as a vessel through which Jesus Himself had healed the man. To take any credit for the healing would be to deny the One who had saved and lived inside of him. The same Jesus who healed the sick and raised the dead also lives in the hearts of all who believe today, and the Apostle Paul exhorted us saying, “…That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” –Ephesians 3:17-19 The key to God’s fullness in our life is faith in His indwelling Presence.
Faith begins with a heart surrendered to God that doesn’t trust its own power or goodness. Jesus won’t break through the door of any of our hearts; we must allow Him access to it. The degree of Christ’s strength in us depends on the degree we yield our hearts to Him. All of us struggle with our own pride and self reliance, but as we get to know Jesus and His love it becomes easier to surrender more of ourselves. Peter had lots of zeal for the Lord early on but when it came right down to it his pride won over his zeal. The strength that Peter walked in later on was earned through a broken heart that realized how weak it was on its own. When Peter went to the temple that day, he was fellowshipping in his heart with the same God that had allowed him to walk on water. If the One who lived inside of him could keep him above the stormy waves, why couldn’t He also heal this poor crippled man? Peter gave the man exactly what he had inside of him – Jesus.
God has called the poor of this world rich in faith, because the poor are more likely to have less confidence in their own power. The rich on the other hand have difficulty with faith because they are more inclined to trust their own power. It’s not the presence or absence of physical possessions that guarantee’s faith, but having confidence in Christ’s Power. Paul wrote to the Philippians that as believers we “worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” –Philippians 3:3 Paul understood that all his qualifications and accomplishments were empty without Christ, and he desired to be “found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith…” –Philippians 3:9
To live by faith is to live by a Power that is not our own and that we can’t take credit for. Paul desired to walk in a righteousness that was not his own but Christ’s. Faith is often confused with a human attribute that we can take pride in, but true biblical faith precludes boasting. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” If our faith in any way allows us to boast in some power or goodness of our own, it is not faith in a biblical sense. The same Jesus who healed the sick and raised the dead lives in us today – and He is still able to do amazing things through us.
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