Its Full Effect
James 1:2-4 ESV
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
So, your faith was challenged at some point, maybe many times, and so you prayed for wisdom, and God gave you that wisdom. And you followed that wisdom. And all seemed to be going well. But then your faith was brought into question again. And you were challenged again to give answer.
And I am not speaking here of the faith that is necessary for us to have salvation from our slavery to sin and new lives in Christ Jesus, which are to be lived to his righteousness. But I am speaking of the day-to-day kind of faith that it takes to endure particular circumstances and challenges.
It is that strength of character and confidence in the Lord in how he has led us in the past and is leading us now so that we don’t crack under pressure to back down from what we know is God’s truth just because we are being challenged again in those same areas.
I believe it is a good idea to keep a journal of those times, and of what the Lord has taught you so that when Satan attacks or when other humans challenge your faith, you can answer back with the same truth the Lord gave you before, for his truth has not changed.
Some of these challenges can come through people cherry picking Scriptures they like to make their point while they ignore other Scriptures on the same subject which present different aspects of the same whole.
For example, the Scriptures teach obeying the authorities, but they also give exceptions to that obedience, too, when those demanding loyalty and obedience to them are also asking that we disobey God, like in the case of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and the apostles.
There are people who will try to pressure and to shame you into blind obedience to any authority figure, and this is where you need to know that there are exceptions, and that they involve us disobeying human authority in order to obey the Lord. For, we never submit to what is sinful.
Ask in Faith Without Wavering
James 1:5-8 ESV
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Therefore, if you have prayed for wisdom, and God has given you that wisdom, and it is biblical wisdom and counsel, and not just some emotional decision you made in the flesh but then claimed it was from God, then you should stand on that wisdom and not waver back and forth in opinion.
I have seen people pray for wisdom, and God give them wisdom, but then I watched them go back and forth like on a teeter-totter vacillating between listening to the Lord and heeding his counsel, or continuing in the way they were already going, which wasn’t working.
Or they are like those who look in the mirror and walk away and forget what they look like, i.e., they ask God for wisdom, and he gives it to them, but then they walk away and completely forget what he had shown them. And so, they keep repeating the same errors of judgment.
Thus, there is not much point in us praying and asking God for wisdom if we have no intention of doing what he says, or if we habitually walk away and forget what we look like. We should believe him, that if we ask, that he will answer, and then when he answers, we need to do what he says.
For, if we don’t, then the Scriptures say we are double-minded, trying to go God’s way and our own way at the same time, and that will never work. That is kind of like trying to go left and go right at the same time. It is impossible. We have to choose the direction we want to go. We can’t have it both ways.
When I was a child, I used to play on a teeter-totter (seesaw). You sit on one end and another person sits on the other end, and one goes up and the other goes down, then the other goes up and the first one goes down. And it has become synonymous with wavering between opinions.
And if that is what describes our lives, then we will never receive anything from the Lord no matter how much we seek God’s counsel, because we are unstable in all our ways, flittering from this to that to this to that.
James 1:9 ESV
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
One of Satan’s greatest weapons against us is to try to instill within us doubt so that we will teeter-totter back and forth between opinion and so that we won’t stand on anything. But we are of no use to God if this is where we are. He can’t use us because he can’t depend on us.
If we are going to be used of God in his service, we must be people of commitment to the Lord who are steadfast in faith and in practice, and who don’t keep going back and forth on what we believe.
Now I am not saying that those who are new in the faith are going to be solid on everything from the start. I am still learning. Years after I believed in Jesus, I had to unlearn some things I learned wrong. And this mainly came through reading the Bible book by book and verse by verse.
What I discovered is that some of what I had been taught was taught from Scriptures taken out of context, and once I realized the context, I realized that what I had learned was wrong, and so I had to correct my wrong thinking and believing to what was correct.
So, this is not saying we are going to be perfect in knowledge, but that once we have sought the Lord for understanding, and he has given us that understanding, that we shouldn’t keep going back and forth. We need to take a stand on the truth, and then remain steadfast to that truth.
So, when Satan throws his angry darts at you to try to get you to waver in faith and to doubt God then you need to come back at him with the Sword of the Spirit and the belt of truth. But make certain first that what you are believing is the truth and that you don’t quench the Holy Spirit, instead.
The Great Redeemer
Lyrics by Francis Foster, 1915
Music by Samuel W. Beazley, 1915
How I love the great Redeemer
Who is doing so much for me;
With what joy I tell the story
Of the love that makes men free.
Till my earthly life is ended,
I will send songs above,
Then beside the crystal sea
More and more my soul shall be
Praising Jesus and His love.
He has purchased my redemption,
Rolled my burden of sin away,
And is walking on beside me,
Growing dearer day by day.
That is why I sing His praises,
That is why joy is mine,
That is why forevermore
On the everlasting shore
I shall sing of love divine.
Glory be to Him forever!
Endless praises to Christ the Lamb!
He has filled my life with sunshine,
He has made me what I am.
Oh, that everyone would know Him,
Oh, that all would adore!
Oh, that all would trust the love
Of the mighty Friend above
And be His forevermore.
He is everything to me, to me,
He is everything to me,
And everything shall always be;
I will never cease to raise
A song of gladness in His praise;
Here, and in the world above,
My soul shall sing of saving love;
Life and light and joy is He,
The precious Friend who died for me.
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