Equipped for Faith
Two crucial elements are important if faith is going to be able to stand the trials that will most certainly beset our lives. They have to do with where wisdom comes from and whom we can trust. Those elements are a right attitude toward God and a right attitude about ourselves.
In verses 5-11 of the first chapter of James, wisdom is the first thing we need if we are to weather what the world throws at us. Additionally, we are not equipped with the ability to handle the kinds of situations in which we will find ourselves. God is the only source of that kind of wisdom. In order for us to have solid faith, we need to have a right attitude toward Him, because as James tells us, we have to ASK God for that wisdom. Also, the caveat he gives us is that we must ask in faith…with no doubting.
Wait a minute; I thought you said that we need the wisdom for the faith! How can we get the faith before we get the wisdom? Well, that’s the amazing thing about God. You don’t have to doubt that He will give you what you need. When you ask for the wisdom, you already know that He will give it. Remember He said, “if you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). This means that our trust, in Christ and HIS abilities, not our own abilities, as well as our constant abiding with and in Him through His Word, gives us strength even when we have none in and of ourselves. Our faith, as I have said before, is not ours. It is just a confirmation that Jesus is who He says He is.
James goes on to say, the person that doesn’t have the ability to trust Christ’s power, or doubts that power, is a double minded man who is unstable in all his ways. You know these people; they are always looking for God’s will under a rock somewhere and not in His Word where it is. They are always afraid God will let them down. They are always afraid of what they think MIGHT happen. They don’t really have any idea what WILL happen, but God does. We can trust that. When we acknowledge God for who He is, and ask for the wisdom to act in faith, HE does it because it glorifies Him, not us. A double-minded person should not expect God to answer, because on some level, the double-minded man doesn’t trust in God. Hebrews 11 talks about all of the examples of those who trusted God, their “faith,” acknowledging what they knew about God, led to God giving them righteousness. What a deal!
The second element to be equipped for faith is to have a right attitude about ourselves. He must increase; we must decrease. Verses 9-11 tell us that the lowly man can boast about how God has exalted him, and the rich man can boast in humility. This is justice. A person, who is excluded and shunned in the world, is the one that God often uses to do GREAT things. Our cultures look down on certain classes or types of people like women, the poor, children, the aged, and the untouchables. God sees differently. He sees the heart of a person. Our definitions of ‘different’ are not the same. Only God can make just judgments about the heart of a person. A lowly person, who is used by God, can boast because the God of the universe has given him or her power that he or she would not normally have. A rich man, despite his riches, has no power with God like he has in the world. He must yield to God’s sovereignty, as his riches cannot protect him from God, but if his heart is yielded, he can have power that none of his riches can attain.
Both the poor and rich know that their lives are but blades of grass in season to God. Our mere 80 or so years on earth are but a nanosecond in God’s economy. We are dust; He is everything. In view of that, our faith MUST Grow. We have no power; we have no resources except God. Our faith, which is just the acknowledgment of God and His Glory, gives us all the power we need to do anything He has called us to do. 2Peter 1:3-9 Our equipment or elements for faith is the ability to say YES to God and NO to self. Our faith is a dependence on His goodness, and His greatness. So how is your faith today? Any better?
See Ya Next Time
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Rev Dr. Cheryl A Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, Above and Beyond Discipleship Ministries, a Living Truth Ministry, provides services for individuals and groups online and via teleconference. www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com