On Wednesday nights we have been studying through the book of James. We are just now getting to the place in chapter 2 where James speaks of a demonstrative faith. From the beginning of his letter, James has encouraged the people to act in a matter that is portrayal of the Kingdom of God as opposed to the world’s values.
Having spent many years involved with the some of the better known “faith” movements, I have heard a varied approach to faith. My observation is that numerous people have “faith-in-their-faith” as opposed having faith The One whom called us to trust him. In my background, your level of faith almost serves as a rite of passage – a level of accomplishment for all to see.
Faith seemed more to be about achieving and acquiring rather than going and doing.
“…God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.”
I came from a world in which Romans 4:17 is used to serve us in obtaining those things we desire to have “believing” that God wants us to have them. Should those things come to fruition, our faith is then validated. I have seen people “call in” things that I thought to be selfish. New cars houses, church buildings, are just some of the things that I heard people “believing God” for. For me, this type of faith seemed to be in direct violation to the “desires” that James would later list in his writing. (James 3:13-16)
Referring again to Romans 4:17 – I also observed where people have, “called those things that ARE as though they ARE NOT.” This, of course, is in direct opposition to what the verse teaches. For example, I recall a woman approaching me asking me about my day. When I replied that my day had been a difficult one and that I was suffering from a headache, she insisted that I do not receive it (the headache). For me that seemed like some sort of Eastern religious thing where my reality is only what I believe it to be.
Faith should not be used to deny reality
Faith in God allows me let me requests be known to God as opposed to being anxious. (Philippians 4:6)
Bottom line is this: I agree with Alan. More importantly I believe God’s word that says, “faith divorced from works is lifeless.” James 2:26