Faith Is Not a Token for the Merry-Go-Round (365 Days of Daring Faith — DAY 306)
James 2:24 (NLT)
So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
It is taught in many churches that God rewards believers according to the level of their faith. This may be true when you initially enter into the family of God by receiving Jesus into your heart. However, some religious leaders take this idea too far. Faith is not to be equated with material possessions, power, fame, or wealth. We do not receive anything for our faith. It is not a token for the merry-go-round of the choicest bounty and blessings. Faith is the opportunity for God to work in our lives and become real to us.
Yet God has to frequently take us or allow us to go through moments of valley living, periods of dry spells, and difficult encounters that we may think we could never emerge from only because he aims to make us more like him and wants to be in deep, daily fellowship and communion with us. Faith is at its core our willingness to obey, trust, and follow. A byproduct of obeying, trusting, and following is the fulfillment of our good desires, dreams, and goals.
Tangible blessings are not a result of our faith but are a result of God’s grace and goodness. He holds back blessings sometimes because he wants to teach us how to walk by faith. If God just continuously poured tangible blessings upon our lives every waking moment, we would pretty soon begin to treat God like a genie and take what it gives for granted. Like a child who is given candy every day of his life will eventually begin to despise the giver and the gift.
Faith at its very essence must be tested. If it is not tested, it cannot be called faith because it will not be known what it can stand against. This means at times that we must be broken. We must know what it is like to wrestle and battle with external and internal forces. We must understand what it means to experience pain, suffering, and heartbreak. These experiences that if we had the power to do so, we would simply bypass in life, are meant to build our faith.
Never confuse the testing of faith, however, with the reality of everyday life. Spilled milk first thing in the morning while rushing out the door to work is a daily occurrence in households no different than yours. It is not a trial or a test. God is not trying to get you or trick you with these kinds of episodes. Faith is choosing to trust God even when the thrill is gone. It is choosing to believe that he is who he says he is even in the dark, when we can’t feel his presence and doubts begin to creep into our minds.
We can be said to be spiritually mature and growing when we realize that faith is choosing to press on in the heat of the valley, grabbing a coat and umbrella when it rains, and being grateful for the storms of life when they come. These are the moments in which God becomes the most real, the most salient, and the most transformative. True faith induces growth and growth produces change whereby we know that we can trust God whatever he may do.
“The effectiveness of our faith is directly proportional to our acknowledgment of the good things that are in us, in Christ Jesus.”
— Andrew Wommack