Asking and Perceiving in Faith
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. (James 1:2-8, NLT)
Hello my amazing friends! How are you doing today? As you know, Abba has me in James in this season, and my heart is to share with you what He is teaching me through His Word! Before I go on, I want to remind you that I am still learning and growing, and that reading the Word for yourself is the most precious experience you could have! I hope that the Lord uses me to bless others with thinking deeply about His Word, but I also hope that the Lord uses me to encourage others to seek Him for themselves.
Anyway, James, oh James. Studying this book and expecting what I studied that James would be about, I couldn’t help but think to myself, Lord, what are you about to do, having me read and study James?
You know, studying the Word of God helps us to learn ultimate truth and God’s heart for our lives, our behaviors, lifestyles, doctrine, thought processes, etc. (2 Timothy 3:16). In it we find wholeness and strength for righteous living (2 Timothy 3:17), the reality of God’s love, of how God has moved in the world and is moving now. As we get to know the God who created us, we learn to live into who we truly are and what we’re made for, all the while enjoying the Word that gives us life, spiritually speaking. This is what I expect studying James will be for us!
James is Jesus’ half-brother, becoming a believer after the death of Christ. As I’ve learned from the Bible Project’s overview on James (link below), James became a leader in the mother church of Jerusalem, and his intent for writing this book was really to encourage the Jewish believers at the time to live out their faith, and therefore live in wisdom, despite their current state of struggling through famine and persecution. He totally puts faith and deeds together, and throughout the book, hits so many aspects of our day to day living, challenging us to walk in faith in those spaces.
Studying this section of James, I am reminded of the Lord’s command for us to “…love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” (Matthew 22: 37) God is heavily concerned with the state of our hearts, our souls, and our minds. It’s beautiful to me that James begins this book, one that challenges our character and our actions, with concern over our faith by means of the way that we think and relate to the Lord. He asks us to consider struggles in a way that the world doesn’t, an opportunity for good, or the strengthening of our faith and endurance.
James, in these verses, also talks to us about the generosity of our Father, more specifically in our prayers and desiring beautiful things like wisdom. But here, James is also telling us that there is a process and power to prayer that truly does affect God’s answering it, and that is the state of our faith. Where is our heart when we pray for a thing?
So, my amazing people of God, how are you doing today? Today, I think that the Lord is really asking us to activate our faith, allowing it to change our perspectives on our current struggles and allowing God to have His way with us. Today, I am encouraged to really place my faith in Him alone and trust in His ability to hear and answer my prayers. I am reminded of Matthew 17, when Jesus says “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20). Here, our Lord is letting us know that a little bit of our faith goes a very long way for God, but let’s keep that mustard seed rooted in the Kingdom of Heaven.
So wherever we are in this season, however afraid or doubtful, or maybe even strong in the faith, let’s continue to allow the Lord to shift our perception to His regarding our trials and tribulations, and let’s wait expectantly as we pray to the Lord that He hears and will do what He says He will do.
Bible Project on “James”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn-hLHWwRYY