Act First and Then You See
I was hoping that you would be intrigued by the name of the teaching and that it would grab your attention.† This teaching is so important that many believers miss it for years.† Then you may wonder why your prayers are not being answered.† I will start this teaching with an introductory Scripture that will pave the way for the rest of the teaching.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith [pistis Ė believing] without works is dead also.† Ė James 2: 26
Let me give you a more literal translation of this verse because it is essential to understand what it means to act first on your prayers and then you will see them come into manifestation.
We should know by now that if you are a body and soul person and you donít have the spirit of God in Christ within you, you are figuratively dead.† God cannot communicate with you and you cannot communicate with God.† Then God goes on to say that you are not believing [action] and without taking action on that prayer it is also dead.† What it means is that you can pray until you are blue in the face and your prayers will not be answered.† Why?† Because youíre not acting on what you prayed for.
God always says something twice when He wants to establish a principle.† So letís go back to James 2: 17 before we continue.
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.† Ė James 2: 17
Here God is saying basically the same thing as we previously went over.† Faith here, in the Greek, is the word pistis† and it means Ďto believeí.† Works is referring to taking action.† If we believe, but yet we donít take positive action on our believing, it is dead or worthless because it is alone.† You cannot just believe for something and then lie back and do nothing.† You must ACT on your prayer by pursuing what you want.† If what you pray for is Godís Will for you, you must not give up due to mental tribulation or for any reason.† If you continue to seek it out, God will eventually bring it to pass.† I have a story about a car I wanted, prayed for it and acted on my believing by seeking it out.† God eventually brought it to pass.† I think you will enjoy this factual record.
Let me try to give you a simple example that can be understood by almost everyone.† Iím going to use my own personal life to tell you and teach you the great importance of this principle.† Of course I struggled with this for many years until God somehow taught me the correct way to go about getting my prayers answered.
This example is very simple so that you can understand it.
Let us say that I am looking for synthetic fuel for my chainsaw.† I donít want to order online, I want to go to a store and buy it right there.† So if you are smart, you will go to God first and you will pray about your need.† You ask God for the type of fuel that you want for your machine.† But then you do what most people do.† They sit back and some people actually expect God to place this item either in their mail or on television or to hear it on the radio.† This may sound a bit outrageous to you and about as simple as it gets.† It almost doesnít deserve mentioning.† When you take this prayer and you get up off your, you know what, and get in your car and start to go to different hardware stores to look for this fuel, that is what it means to act first and then you see.† You will find the item or fuel that you are looking for if you got a green light from God when you prayed about it.† Always go to God with your needs FIRST and ask Him.† That way you will not spin your wheels.
Many times many of us donít really see the great simplicity in this principle.† Right now I am searching for a certain type of guitar.† It is very difficult to find, but I am taking action on my believing in my prayer by searching almost everywhere I can think of.† Look at the following Scripture in the gospel of Luke.
And I [Jesus Christ] say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.† Ė Luke 11: 9
So here God spells out a pattern for us and the first thing He says is to ask Him.† We do that by prayer.† Then look at the second directive in the Scripture.† He says to seek.† That means that we must look for what we are trying to acquire in our life.† Now what does He say after you seek?† He says ye shall find.† The word Ďshallí means absolutely without a doubt, you will find what youíre looking for if you ask Him first and then you seek it out.† The title of the teaching is ask first and then you see.† Obviously, once you find what you are looking for, you knock, or you speak to the seller or the owner of the store and what you are looking for will be put before you for your purchase.† I know this sounds extremely simple but many people do not realize that if they search hard enough for something that is Godís Will (and thatís an important part), you will absolutely find what you are looking for.† Isnít this a great promise?† Now what hinders us?† Well, we know that the god of this world is going to do everything he can to get us disgusted and discouraged and to give up.† The key to getting anything from God that is Godís Will for us is to never give up.† You heard the old clichť and I will mention it here.† Winners never quit and quitters never win.† Thatís a worn-out clichť but it is extremely important to adhere to it.
I will give you another example here.† I was about 32 years old and for the life of me, I could not find the right woman to finally get married.† I actually set a date for myself and I said if I were 35 and I havenít found the right mate for me, I would stay single all of my life.† Now God knew this and He knew I really had not given up.† I met my wife in a storybook type of way that makes people almost cry.† I wonít get into it too much here, but to me it was nothing but an outright huge miracle.† You see, I kept searching and I would not give up and God put a woman in my life that was exceeding abundantly above all that I could ask or even think.† And sometimes when youíre searching, you will get a break.† And I got that break when a letter came to me from hundreds of miles away telling me that this young woman was interested in me and kept thinking about me.† Of course her phone number was in the letter and I called her up and we made arrangements to meet and go on our first date.† I am skipping much of the details here because it will totally blow your mind.† I never gave up believing and God brought a miracle to pass to make it happen.
So then faith [pistis Ė believing] cometh† by hearing and hearing [cometh] by the word of god.† -- Romans 10: 17
The ability to believe positively comes only by hearing, understanding and applying the Word of God.† This requires dedication and study.† You think that puts a burden upon you?† The opposite is true.† Turn to I John.
For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments:† and his commandments are not grievous [oppressive].† Ė I John 5: 3
God is telling us that studying and applying His Word is very profitable and enjoyable.† Itís not something we have to force ourselves to do.† You can believe it but youíll never really see it until you act upon it.† Why am I doing this for 45 years?† Because I dislike it.† I am so thrilled to have learned the rightly divided Word that I sit here for almost endless hours teaching Godís Word to you and I give it to you --- for nothing.† I love it.† And I love to rattle the adversaryís cage and this site really gets to him.† He tries every way possible to get to me and I laugh in his face.† I do it first for God and then for you.† Now remember the story about the car?† Itís coming and that should shut any mouths that think Iím religious -- thatís for sure.† Religion is man-made and genuine Christianity is a way of our Heavenly Father with His children.
Now Iím going to get into a different type of subject matter that relates to our teaching and this is from the Gospels.† Turn to the gospel of Mark.† Now we are going to get into a little bit about the subject of healing.† Healing is one of the most difficult areas for us to believe.† Iím still working on some action that I can take so that I stay in really good physical health.
In chapter 3 Jesus Christ entered into the synagogue and there was a man there which had a withered hand.† Now I want you to jump down to verse five because Jesus Christ was really aggravated with the scribes and Pharisees as they tried to hinder him from helping this disabled person.† Letís take it up with verse five.
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand.† -- Mark 3: 5a
I am stopping here on purpose to give you some background information that you need.† Now try to understand this because most people do not.† This man had a withered hand so how in the world could he stretch it forth?† This is an excellent example of Act First and Then You See.† First of all, this man must have been praying for a long time for healing.† He was asking God in prayer and finally he had a chance because he really believed in the power of God that was manifested by Jesus Christ.† Let us continue with the verse.
And he stretched it †out:† Take a close look.† No matter what anybody told this man and how many times he was discouraged by people, he still believed.† Believing is a verb and it connotes action.† He made an effort to stretch out his hand and WHEN WHEN WHEN he did this, thatís when it was restored whole as his other hand.† You have to take a close look at this. †and his hand was restored whole as the other.
Letís put the whole verse together.
And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand.† And he stretched it †out:† and his hand was restored whole as the other.† Ė Mark 3: 5
The man acted like he had it and then it became his.† He acted first and then he saw.† Itís a beautiful record and it is misunderstood by many Christians.† I would probably agree with you that healing is one of the most difficult areas to understand and apply in this life.† But you can do many things in this life to protect yourself from bad health.† This is another principle that I have gone over before called preventive believing.
Iím not bragging or boasting but I am simply telling you facts.† I am getting up in age but guess what?† I swim two or 3 miles a week.† I should say I am close to a mile by 10 laps.† I swim 60 laps practically nonstop.† I walk my dog about 20 or 25 miles per week.† I eat right and I never frequent fast food restaurants.† I have practically perfect health and why?† Because I act first with preventive believing and good habits and then I see the fruits of my good health.† I never get sick.† Just never.† Are you beginning to see the intricacies of this teaching?† You have got to take action on godly goals and you are never to quit Ė you are never to give up - no matter what anyone says.† That includes your spouse or your brother or sister or your best friend or your girlfriend or your boyfriend.† There was a time when I dropped 33 pounds swimming when I was at Penn State.† A nutrition major, a young girl, said to me that I looked great and did not have to lose any more weight.† But you see I had a goal in my heart that God put there to lose 10 more pounds.† What you think I did?† I lost 10 more pounds.† Even though I respected this girl greatly and I liked her as a friend, I would not let anyone discourage me from the goal that God had placed in my heart.† It was a thrill for me to hit this goal because I had to buy all new clothes and some people did not even recognize me.† So there are great rewards when you act on your believing, you donít give up, and then you will see.
Iím going to take this a stretch farther because I donít believe that you can learn anything to its fullest degree unless you experience it in your life.† To me, experience has been the best teacher there can ever be.† So I will tell you one more true story about my own life that relates directly to this teaching.
The old enemy knows that I really love nice cars.† I always did.† At one point about 10 years ago, I started to search for a different type of car that most people are afraid to buy.† It didnít phase me in the least bit.† I wanted a Corvette and I was looking for a special type that was in immaculate condition, low miles, nice color and everything worked on the car.† Actually I searched for 11 months and some of these cars were sold out right from under me.† I wonít get into the particulars of that.† You see, after searching for 11 months, you would think that most people would have given up.† But I knew that God would come through for me and He sure did.† I wouldíve paid at least $2,000 more for this car that I found, and I finally decided to step out on a limb and give this guy a $500 deposit over the telephone.† This was one car that was not going to be sold out from under me.† The next morning I drove to this dealership which was over two hours away.† The owner sat there and he said, ďIím getting the car ready.Ē†† This guy was really funny because he was believing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was going to buy this car.† Well guess what?† I didnít even see it yet.† I had to laugh at this guy because of how he believed.† It was in the dead of winter and he wanted to get rid of this car so he was fixing every little thing on the car for me - new windshield wipers - polishing the car with a special polish.† He was doing everything he could for me.† When I saw the car I blew my mind.† It was like brand-new.† It was entered only into Corvette shows once a year and had only 41,000 miles on this 23 year-old car.† I drove it and everything worked.† All those times and all those months that I searched, God was there.† To just give you an idea of how caring this dealership owner was, I had to ask him if he would put in a little bit of gas for me.† The car was on reserve and I had only a few miles left to drive.† I asked him in a nice way and he was sort of shocked that the car did not have gas.† So he said to give him the keys.† This man came back with three quarters of a tank of gas in a Corvette.† Do you know much that costs?† I was just blown away so I went and bought the guy a tray of pizza before I left and we just had a good old time.† I remember driving the car back and stopping at a restaurant and taking a look underneath the car.† I thought for sure there would be some oil dripping somewhere but it was dry as a bone.† I am driving that car for 10 years now and the only thing I had done to it was to put some Freon in the air-conditioning.† No breakdowns Ė no error codes Ė no nothing - just perfect operation of a vehicle that is outstanding in all respects.† And it always passes inspection.† It even has a woodgrain added option to all of the interior.† Itís a beautiful car and it sits in my garage most of the time covered and with a battery tender on it.
Now I told you this only because I struggled for 11 months trying to find the right Corvette.† You see God knew I was believing and He knew that I knew that He was going to help me and He sure did.† Again He did exceeding abundantly above all that I can ask or even think.† Anytime I may feel a little bit down about something, I get in that car and I tear up the highway and I come back feeling like a new person.† I just like nice cars and Iíll bet you do too.† But remember, I acted first and then I saw.
Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,† Ė Ephesians 3: 20
I really got on it one time:† still pulling like a race horse at 140 MPH!
( Donít try this at home.)