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Faith works, or does it?
- Jacob Ninan
"Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Mt.6:33). There could be three different ways Christians respond to this. 1. They don't believe it will work out, and so they pursue all these 'other' things. 2. They 'believe' it, but still they pursue after the other things. 3. They believe it, and so they seek God's kingdom and His righteousness first in every part of their lives. Group 2 thinks they believe, but their deeds are the same as the unbelieving Group 1. They think that they too have faith but keep wondering why God is not keeping His promises! Only Group 3 has genuine faith, because they behave according to what they believe. Their faith works, and God rewards them by taking care of all their needs.
Faith that does not result in works of faith is a counterfeit (Jas.2:17). Genuine faith is not some abstract concept that is only fit for sermons; it works. If it doesn't work, it is false. If we believe that our God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Php.4:19) and still continue in anxiety, the truth is that we don't believe. Then the best thing to do is to acknowledge that we have been fooling ourselves about our faith, and seek to genuinely believe what we profess.
Certainly it is not that, for example, we hear a promise from God and all anxiety disappears. There is a battle involved where we choose to believe God and refuse the misgivings of our mind. But as we win that battle, we enter God's rest also progressively.
What is the reason we don't actually believe what we read as God's promises in His word? Perhaps we did not understand His words correctly and tried to apply certain words from the Bible in a wrong way, got no result and concluded it wouldn't work. We may have taken promises that do not apply to us, or we did not fulfil the conditions associated with those promises. It can never be that the eternal God gives a promise and does not keep it.
But when we receive a promise that is meant for us, but we still won't believe it and act accordingly, it shows that we don't really trust in God who gave us the promise. It is stupid for us not to believe God, and we are also insulting God by making Him out as being untrustworthy! Is it any wonder God is angry with those who will not believe (He.4:3)?
Actually genuine faith is more about who we believe than what we believe for. It is the immature Christian who only applies faith to what he wants to get from God. But when we become more mature, we learn to trust our Father even when we do not know what is going to happen, because we know He knows, and He is in control. When we ask Him for something, we are happy to leave the decision to Him who knows whether it is good for us. This was the faith that the three friends of Daniel (Da.3:17,18) and Job (Job.13:15) demonstrated. This kind of faith works by giving us 'rest' irrespective of the earthly outcome (Is.26:3).