Some “faith people” seem to think if you believe God, nothing bad will ever happen to you. Some have taught that if you have faith, you’re going to float through life on flowery beds of ease. However, if you live for God, sometimes you’ll have to swim upstream! Walking by faith is not always easy.
I remember some experiences I had along this line when I was in my early 30s after God called me into the field ministry in 1949 and 1950. In those first few years, God told me to preach in churches for awhile. So I held what we called church meetings, or revival meetings.
I remember one particular pastor asked me to hold a meeting for him. I thought, I don’t want to hold a meeting for that pastor. At a convention, right in front of everyone, I had heard him criticize people who taught about faith and healing and who ministered in healing services by the gifts of the Spirit.
At the time I thought, Doesn’t he know I minister like that? Some time after he said that, he invited me to come and hold a meeting in his church. I prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to go, because I know that what I teach about faith and healing would be ‘plowing his field crossways.’ He’s been making furrows up and down one way, and if I go to his church, I’ll make furrows up and down the other way. Surely you don’t want me to go!”
The Lord said, “I want you to go.”
“Dear Lord,” I said, “don’t send me there! Send me anywhere else, but I don’t want to go there. Besides, this man is an older minister—he’s old enough to be my daddy.”
But the more I prayed, the more the Lord said, “I want you to go.”
Finally, I said, “All right. I’m going.”
A young man and his wife who were graduates of a Bible college went with me. The woman played the piano and her husband led congregational singing. They also sang special songs.
After I preached the first night at the pastor’s church, this couple told me, “We wondered if you were going to teach on faith and healing. We know this pastor, and we know he doesn’t understand biblical faith and healing.”
I had put it off as long as I could, but I couldn’t put it off any longer. I knew in my spirit what God wanted me to teach on. I announced that I’d be teaching the Bible along a certain line on a certain night.
Usually, this young man and his wife sat on the platform because the building was full, but that night they sat on the front row. They told me afterward, “We sat down front so we could see the pastor’s face.”
It’s the most difficult thing in the world to preach faith and have a pastor sitting behind you on the platform breathing the hot breath of unbelief down your back. You don’t even have to turn around; you can just feel it. But experiences like that in life do you good. They toughen you up.
Paul told Timothy, “. . . endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3). This goes for every Christian. It’s easy to endure when there is no adversity. You don’t have to endure much then. As long as everything is going good, it’s easy to maintain your spiritual glow.
But preaching when you can feel the pastor’s hot breath of unbelief down your neck is enduring hardness! That’s when you really see if you can maintain the glow! I didn’t dare turn around to look at that pastor. Actually, I could almost see his reactions on the faces of those in the congregation, because they were watching him. I could almost read every one of his reactions by how they reacted!
I just kept plowing for about 40 minutes. But then the pastor came alive. Suddenly he burst out and said, “Amen!” He jumped up and said, “Folks, Brother Hagin is right. Bless God, what Brother Hagin is teaching is right!” The pressure was off then, but it had been on the whole time before.
This wasn’t the only occasion when I had to preach or teach under such circumstances. It seemed as if this happened to me a lot back then before people understood biblical faith and healing. Do you think that was easy? No! But you’ve got to maintain the glow in spite of circumstances, because circumstances won’t always be pleasant. Sometimes God will require you to do things that may be tough sledding for a while. But enduring hardness will build character in you.
I remember a similar experience in another church. The pastor who had invited me to preach had announced to his congregation some time before I got there, “Ministers shouldn’t call people out and tell them what’s wrong with them! The very idea! Don’t they know God doesn’t heal like that?” (Of course, he was talking about ministering by the gifts of the Spirit.)
Although this pastor had invited me to hold a meeting in his church, I knew he didn’t understand certain biblical principles of faith and healing. I knew when I started preaching I would be plowing his field crossways, but I also knew the Lord had sent me there, so I just kept teaching and plowing.
One night a man more than 80 years old was in the congregation. Before the service, the pastor briefly introduced me to him and told me he was the finest Christian he’d ever known.
That night I pointed to this older gentleman. (I didn’t know him personally, except for the pastor’s brief introduction.) I said, “The Lord shows me you have a double hernia. You’ve been operated on twice and it came back on you, and now you have a double rupture. If I’m wrong, just say so.”
“No,” he said, “you’re right.”
“The Lord told me to tell you to come down here,” I said, “and when I lay hands on you, both ruptures will disappear instantly.” He came down to the altar, I laid hands on him, and both ruptures disappeared instantly.
The pastor didn’t understand this kind of ministry; he had told his congregation that God wouldn’t heal people this way. The next night, however, he announced to his congregation, “Folks, I want you to hear me. I’ve been wrong. What Brother Hagin is teaching about faith and healing and the way he is ministering is right. If he calls you out, come on down to the front. If he calls me out, I’ll come down too!”
The Lord had directed me to minister healing to that older gentleman. Do you think it was easy to do that in front of that congregation, knowing what the pastor had told them? No! But you’ve got to maintain the spiritual glow regardless of what people say about you. You’ve got to be fervent in the Spirit whether you feel like it or not!
If you’ll be fervent in spirit regardless of circumstances, you’ll have a song in your heart and you’ll be able to maintain the glow of the Holy Spirit and stand strong in the face of adversity.
Maintaining the Glow
It’s important for Christians to be full of both the Word of God and the
Spirit of God. We need the Word in our hearts and the anointing of God
upon our lives.
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you RICHLY. . . .”
We’re to “soak up” the Word just as a dry sponge soaks up water.
We are also instructed to be “fervent in spirit” (Rom. 12:11). The Moffatt
translation says we are to “maintain the spiritual glow.” We can’t
maintain the glow unless we are filled to overflowing with the Spirit. As we
stay full of the Word and the Spirit, we will prosper in all we do and be
used mightily in the last days.