This post is closely related to the post, Truth about Faith. One can consider the post Truth about Faith as the foundation to appreciate this post that explores the application of authentic faith.
The post Truth about Faith can be accessed via the following link – https://sincerelawrence.com/2022/08/17/truth-about-faith/
A friend made this insightful statement -“Faith is real when it is tested.”
Scripture attests to this insight –
1Pet1:7 – “That the trial of your faith (this faith is clarified as belief in the living hope of the resurrection in 1Pet1:3-5 and faith in the unseen Christ in 1Pet1:8, and His Return), being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
Rev3:18 -“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, (this gold is the faith tested in 1Pet1:7) that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
Jam1:3-4 – “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
Enemies of Faith
The enemy of authentic faith under the trials of fire is doubt that leads to loss of conviction of the hope of the resurrection and hope of His return.
James in Jam1:6 says it in this way – “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.”
The “ask in faith” has two components that most do not distinguish but mix to their self-harm.
The first component is “ask.”
The second is ” in faith.”
The Secrets of Asking
Generally, this “ask” is about earthly needs and wants. Attached to this “ask” is a hope God will supply them to meet expectations.
Phil4:19 comes to mind to reinforce the “right” to these expectations –
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
The reading of Phil4:19 has overly focused on the “supply all,” leaving out the understanding of “need” and “glory.”
The Lord Jesus, defined these needs in Mat6:25-34 in the discourse about the birds of the air and lilies of the field. They are the basic needs of food, drink (I would render this as water), and clothing.
Also, the focus of Mat6:25-34 is the relationship with God as Father (Mat6:32).
However, it does not mean God is not a God that does not fulfill wants. Else David would not have said this in Psa23:1 – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
Again the focus on Psa23:1 may be too much in the “shall not want” but insufficient on the Lord being one’s Shepherd. Again God emphasizes the relationship focus. Moreover Jam1:4 of “wanting nothing”, seems to suggests that the “shall not want” of Psa23:1 is a state of contentment in God as Shepherd. Where material wants lose their hold on the soul.
The apex of the glory of Christ is the events of Him crucified (His suffering and death) and resurrection.
For the Lord called these events as Him being glorified in Jhn12:23.
This glory is predicated on Him submitting to God’s will, saying this in Mat26:39 –
“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
In summary, the “ask” of prayers-petition to God may not be sufficiently mindful to abide by the scope of needs of Mat6 that has a Father-son relationship focus. Also prayer requests may not be conscious to submit to God’s will according to His word and life circumstances.
What does it mean to be In Faith?
For the second component, “in faith,” the believer often mixes the faith in the hope of fulfilled earthly needs-wants with the FAITH in the HOPE of the promises of God of the resurrection and the Lord’s return.
The former of earthly needs-wants is complex and has many conditions for them to be answered.
They depend on whether we ask with evil intentions, where Jam4:3 cites as a reason for UNANSWERED prayers. Whether we have a Shepherd relationship with the Lord Jesus of Psa23. And whether the person making the request is led by Spirit vs. being carnal of Rom8.
But most importantly for answered prayers is whether this former earthly “faith” and “hope” is subject (in submission) to the eternal-divine “FAITH” and “HOPE” of the latter.
What does it mean “is subject”?
This ‘is subject’ is about whether one can give up everything, forgo all the earthly needs-wants hoped for in faith, and experience joy unspeakable of 1Pet1:8. While suffering tribulations, BECAUSE of the FAITH and HOPE in the resurrection and His return.
There are different qualities of faith, else the metaphor of gold would not be used to emphasize the value of the faith that is tested. Such tested faith has eternal value that ought to motivate the believer to endure the earthly trials. The bounty of eternity, being partakers of Christ’s divine nature, will compensate over and above for any temporal earthly suffering and injustices.
Therefore, brethren, Keep the FAITH!