Excerpt from the book In the Power of His Might:

Chapter 36
The Gift of Faith

Open Thou Mine Eyes


I was nineteen years old, living on my own in Seattle, Washington, and waiting at a bus stop to go home after work. Over the next thirty minutes, I was approached by three different people, each inviting me to his particular religious meeting. The first person, a young man, was part of a rather infamous cult with roots in Korea. The second person, another young man, was a member of a Hindu sect instantly recognizable by their saffron robes, shaven heads, and singsong chanting. The third person to speak to me was an attractive girl who invited me to a Christian fellowship at her home. As far as I was concerned, the only thing that set her apart from the other two was her gender. A pretty girl had invited me to her home, and that was good enough for me.

At the time, I was a confirmed atheist. As I grew up, my father regularly voiced his opinion that church was a meeting place for fools and charlatans. At the elementary school I attended in Hawaii, I heard that Christianity was the white man’s religion, a tool of colonialism, and that the missionaries destroyed what was once an island paradise. As a family, we went to church only on rare occasions, always grudgingly, and only to appease visiting relatives. Once I was invited to dinner at the home of a high school friend. When his mother asked him to pray before we ate, I thought she was being funny and I burst out in laughter. When I realized I was the only one laughing, I wanted to hide under the table. But as soon as she left the room I began to ridicule my friend.

Back in Seattle, I attended the home fellowships regularly, but not for spiritual reasons. I responded to the girl’s kindness with the desperate kind of infatuation only the godless know. As for the meetings, I endured them only to spend time with her afterwards. I snickered when they prayed and cringed as they sang their songs. I sneered at the notion that I needed to be "saved." But I was determined to hide all this from the girl for fear of losing her. I fully expected that, with time and patience, I would be the one to convert her.

One day, she handed me a card with a verse printed on it and told me I should memorize it. It was Proverbs 3:5: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." Despite my pledge to hide my contempt, I could restrain myself no more. I gave that card back to her and said, "I’m sorry, but that is the stupidest thing I have ever read in my life." The dam was broken, and a flood of bitter unbelief came pouring out of my soul. "That is religion for you," I said. "You trust in something you cannot see, and deny what is right in front of your eyes. I cannot do that. I will not do that."

To her credit, she didn’t argue with me. She knew my condescending attitude confirmed the testimony of the Bible: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14).

Just a few weeks later, I was taking a walk in the early evening. There are only a few events in my life that I can recall so vividly. I was thinking about all the things that I had heard at the fellowship meetings, things about the Bible, about Jesus, and salvation. "It is so stupid," I said to myself. My words fell into rhythm with my steps on the sidewalk. "It is so stupid. It is so stupid." Suddenly I stopped dead in my tracks. "Oh my God," I gasped. "It is true." I didn’t see a vision or hear a voice. I just knew. I knew that I was a sinner in need of salvation, and that Jesus was the only Savior. For the first time in my life I said a prayer that I knew was being heard in heaven. Right there on the sidewalk, I was born again.

More than thirty years have gone by since that day. The girl who first invited me to fellowship went her own way soon afterward, and where she is today, I cannot say. In these thirty years, my Christian walk has had many ups and downs, and there have been many times when I have doubted my commitment to Christ. Still, I can honestly say that I have never doubted him, or that the Bible is true. So what happened? What occurred in my life to change me from someone who could not even acknowledge the existence of God to someone who wants nothing more than to serve him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? The answer is simple: I once was blind, but now I see.

Long before I knew him, God instilled in me a burning desire to know the truth. That was all that mattered to me - not a career, not friendships, not even love. I wanted to know what was worth dying for, because then I would know what was worth living for. I was open to all possibilities, except one. Even today, I am struck by how much I did not want to be a Christian. In my pride, I wanted the truth to be packaged in something exotic; something sophisticated. Christianity was the last place I expected to find anything of value. But in his mercy and grace, God allowed me to see for myself that many things I thought were true were not. He shielded me from troubles I wholeheartedly embraced. When he knew I was ready, he introduced me to "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). What I could see, I could not deny. Jesus is Lord of all.


"The just shall live by faith." This precept is stated no less than four times in the Scriptures (see Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38). "Faith toward God" is one of the fundamental "principles of the doctrine of Christ" (see Hebrews 6:1). Yet the concept of living in faith may be the most misunderstood precept in all Christendom. Faith is absolutely foolish to the natural man. There is nothing that runs so contrary to his reasoning than to trust in something he cannot see. To him, all faith is blind faith - an irrational confidence based on wishful thinking rather than solid evidence. Sadly, this misconception often remains with him even after he comes to Christ, becoming a very shaky foundation for his religious ideas.

Christian faith is not blind at all. The Gospel of Matthew sheds wonderful light on this subject.

Matthew 16:13-15:
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

It is not what your friends or neighbors say about Jesus that determines your faith. It is not what your relations say about him; it is not even what Jesus says of himself. The real question is, who do you say that he is?

vv. 16-17:
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

There was nothing in the appearance of Jesus that revealed his divinity. If there really was a halo shining around his head, do you think anyone would have wanted to crucify him? Peter could see that Jesus was a very special man, but Peter could never reach the conclusion on his own that Jesus was "the Son of the Living God." Only God could reveal this to him.

How do you know that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God"? You were not there when Jesus told "doubting" Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing" (John 20:27). There are innumerable religions in this world, countless philosophies and creeds. Why do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? If you are a believer, it is because your eyes have been opened to the truth. Opening the eyes of the blind is the work of the Lord.

Isaiah 42:7:
To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Acts 26:18:
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Do you remember the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus? Jesus himself began to walk and talk with them, but they did not recognize him. Luke 24:16 says, "Their eyes were holden [held shut] that they should not know him." But it was not their physical sight that was impaired. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul testifies that "the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." The Lord opened their eyes, so they could know him.

Luke 24:30-31:
And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

That is how the gift of faith works. God opens "the eyes of your understanding" that you may know him.

Ephesians 1:18:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.…

Before your eyes were opened, you could not believe.

John 12:39-40:
Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

But when your eyes are open, there is nothing left to argue about. What you can see, you cannot deny. To walk by faith is not to walk with your eyes closed to reality. To walk by faith, your eyes must be open to a greater reality, the spiritual reality. The revelation from God is the concrete evidence of things invisible to the natural eyes. As Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."


When you remember how simple it was to receive faith in the beginning, you know how simple it must remain. But so often in our pursuit of spiritual development, we redirect our efforts into self-improvement. We ignore the wisdom of Paul who asked, "Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal. 3:3).

As a Christian, I spent many frustrating years trying to make myself believe the Word of God. I would search the Scriptures until I found a promise that seemed appropriate to my situation. Then I would try everything short of cracking open my skull to lodge that verse into my mind. I tried to rearrange my thinking patterns. I worried over my choice of words. In the end, I was beguiled far away from "the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3).

Jesus asked, "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" (Matt. 6:27). I have to laugh when I think of all the years that I tried to grow by "taking thought." I imagine Christ asking for volunteers, tape measure in hand. "Go ahead, show Me. Show us all. Grow an inch." If we cannot make ourselves grow physically, how much less can we make ourselves grow spiritually?

Many Christians contend that "believing equals receiving" is a universal truth, applicable to Christian and non-Christian alike. The concept of "believing equals receiving" seems to come from Jesus’ teaching after he cursed the fig tree.

Mark 11:20-24:
And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Here it seems that Jesus is teaching that you can have "what things soever ye desire" simply by taking thought. This not only contradicts his teaching in Matthew 6, but other Scriptures as well. James 4:3 says, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." Does not "what things soever ye desire" include those things we wrongly desire? What differentiates a proper request from asking amiss?

The answer can be discerned in the statement of Christ, "Have faith in God." Before we ask God for what we desire, we should ask what he desires for us. Jesus said, "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (John 5:30). He taught his disciples to pray, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10). To have faith in God is to do his will. If unleashing spiritual power is as easy as "believing equals receiving," then why do we not read even one scriptural testimony of mountains splashing into the ocean? Jesus was not teaching that with believing nothing is impossible. He was teaching that with God, nothing is impossible. Whatever God wants done shall be done.

The Bible does not talk about "the power of believing." Faith is not the pseudo ability to focus your thoughts until you have conjured up a new reality. That doctrine has the stench of witchcraft. Our faith is in God and in the power of his might. We believe in his power, not our own.

Ephesians 1:19:
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.…

My feelings of self-worth rise and fall on a regular basis. But my feelings about myself have nothing to do with my assessment of God. On my worst day, I have no problems believing in the exceeding greatness of his power. My faith is not based on how I feel; it is based on how I feel about God.

One day, the apostles came to Jesus and said, "Increase our faith" (Luke 17:5). The problem is, any number multiplied by zero still results in zero! The apostles did not need more faith. They needed faith, period. "If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed," Jesus said, "ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you" (v. 6). If faith got the job done, you would need big faith for a big job. My faith is not in my faith. My faith is in God. I do not need big faith, because I have a big God.

I like to express it this way: I don’t believe in prayer. I believe in God, and that is why I pray. I don’t believe in reading the Bible. I believe in God, and that is why I read the Bible. I don’t believe in going to church, in tithing, or in doing good works. I believe in God, and that is why I do those things.

Galatians 2:20:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


The sixth chapter of 2 Kings contains a wonderful lesson about the gift of faith, clearing the path from confusion for all that will follow. It was a time of battle, and "the king of Syria warred against Israel" (2 Kings 6:8). Time and again, the Syrians made plans to ambush the king of Israel, but every time the prophet Elisha was able to forewarn him.

2 Kings 6:9-10:
And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice.

The Syrian king suspected treachery in his camp. Someone was telling his plans to the Israelites! Verse eleven says, "He called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel?" But his men assured him of their loyalty. "None, my lord, O king," they said, "but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber" (v. 12). Elisha was advising his king by divine revelation. The king of Syria was determined to put an end to Elisha’s interference, and sent out his army to capture the man of God.

v. 14:
Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.

Early the next day, Elisha’s servant went out to begin his morning duties. Imagine his panic when he saw that the Syrian army had surrounded the city. "Alas, my master!" he cried to Elisha, "how shall we do?" (v. 15). But the prophet was entirely at ease. "Fear not," he assured his trembling manservant, "for they that be with us are more than they that be with them."

Put yourself in the servant’s shoes. He knew he was not just having a bad dream. With his own eyes he had seen an army of soldiers too numerous to count. Inside Elisha’s house there was only the prophet and his servant: one, two. But Elisha said, "They that be with us are more than they that be with them." Maybe the servant ran outside to count again. Now he was really afraid. It seemed his master had lost his mind!

v. 17:
And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Completely outnumbering the Syrian army was the mighty host of heaven, sent by God to protect his servant. Elisha’s confidence was based on the evidence of things not seen by his servant, but clearly evident to him. His statement was not the product of wishful thinking, nor of positive affirmation. He spoke a simple fact: "They that be with us are more than they that be with them."

So answer me this: When did the angels arrive? Did they appear the moment the servant saw them, or were they already there, invisible to his sight? You know the answer. They were already there. He just could not see them. Faith does not create. Faith recognizes what God has already provided. Your faith in Jesus did not make him the Savior of the world. By faith, you recognized who he already was.

You do not need to ask God for more faith. Faith the size of a mustard seed is more than enough. You need to ask him to open your eyes. What you can see, you can believe.

Psalm 119:18:
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Faith is the ability from God to believe God. He gave that faith to you as a gift. Every scriptural and historical record of the blind recovering their sight pales in comparison to the gift of spiritual sight to all that come to Christ. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves," says Ephesians 2:8, "it is the gift of God." Faith is the power to believe on his name.

John 1:12:
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.…

No, our power is not in believing. Our victory is in believing on his name, in his power. "This is the victory that overcometh the world," says 1 John 5:4, "even our faith."