Steps Toward Faith
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17
Early last month as I read through the book of James, I came to this verse and it hit me. It cough my eye a sunk deep down inside of me. It affected me and a light bulb went off in my head.
We must have faith AND THEN take steps towards it.
This week I started in the book Joshua and here is what God has taught me through the first couple of chapters about action based faith.
I want to dedicate an entire post to Rahab eventually because her testimony is a powerful one, but today I will only go over the main idea behind her faith.
Then Joshua, the son of Nun, secretly sent two spies from Shittim to the western side of the Jordan. Go in, and see what you can find out about the people in that area. Pay special attention to the city of Jericho. The men crossed the river, and when they entered Jericho, they stayed at the home of a prostitute named Rahab. Joshua 2:1
Rahab had heard how God had parted the red sea and how they had defeated and destroyed the two kings of the Amorites.
When we heard of it, our heart melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven about and on the earth below. Joshua 2:11
She knew God have given them this land so she took action, risked her life tohelped the spies and then made a deal with them. She asked for her life and her family's lives to be spared.
“Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the Lord gives us the land.” Joshua 2:14
Rahab did not live a godly life. She was referred to as a harlot and she did not have an honorable reputation. She ended up having faith in a God she didn't even know. She believed in His miracles without ever seeing them and ultimately God redeemed her. Through her faith and the actions she took, her life and the lives of her family were saved.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:25-26
We must have great faith. As we see here, it doesn't matter what walk of life we come from. If we believe, have faith, then take faithful actions God will be able to do the impossible in our lives.
Steps that may seem impossible
Joshua was obedient to everything that God commanded him to do. Even when things seemed impossible Joshua continued to obey. First of all defeating Jericho probably seemed like an impossible task, but there were other obstacles before getting to the city. Like crossing the Jordan river.
God told Joshua that the priests who carry the ark of the covenant must go ahead of the people and when they get to the the Jordan river, they must step foot into the flowing waters and it will be cut off.
When God commanded they obeyed and took steps toward the impossible. They knew that God was with them. They knew that God was faithful.
The priests who carried the ark of covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. Joshua 3:17
This passage means a lot to me. God kept their feet planted firm on dry ground in the middle of a river that could have easily drowned them. His faithfulness leaves a mark on me every time.
But God could never have done this if they didn't walk toward the river. Notice how God didn't stop the water while they were in the distance so they could see it was safe from afar. No He made them step foot IN the river before He stopped the waters.
We must not try to understand the outcome because it can be overwhelming and sometimes may seem impossible. But instead we must take baby steps in a purposeful direction while having faith that God will bring us through.
We can have all the faith in the world, but if we are not taking action, If we are not obedient, if we are not making an effort God may never be able to give us the opportunities He wants to give us.
If our goal is to become a better wife , but we never take action to better ourselves and improve what needs to be improved in us, then there isn't much God can do if we aren't willing to be obedient. He can't do much if we are not willing to even make an effort.
A thriving relationship takes effort on both sides. God WILL do His part and we must do ours.
Sometimes we may struggle with our faith. We may have periods of time when we struggle to trust that God will bring us into our full purpose when the time is right. We may have times of panic when we try to figure out what our next step in life will be without consulting God.
So, whats should we do?
1.We must first pray
Prayer is where it starts and we must fully believe that God will answer our prayers. We must place our full confidence in God because He is faithful.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6
We must consult God through prayer and even ask for signs in the right direction.
2. We must seek and be alert
Seeks answers through scripture. By reading His word daily God will give us answers we may need. He may give us answers we need through someone else. We must be alert and aware of when God is working in our lives. If we are not sure about something go back to prayer.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13
Lastly, this all takes patience. Sometimes we must wait along time before we get answers, before God allows us to cross over into a new phase in life. The Israelite's wandered in the desert 40 years before they could cross the Jordan.
We will have seasons of waiting. We must pray, seek, and persevere.
Definition: Persevere (v) -continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.
through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Yes. We must take action even if its the simple action of getting out of bed.
We will get through because God is faithful always.