“So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).” James 2:17 AMP
Several years ago I really felt like God was calling me to write a piece on faith. It was a relatively short piece that took me on an interesting journey. What came out of a review of many scriptures was an outline that looked something like this:
Don’t look back
Trust steadily in God
Each area had a unique insight of its own in how it connected to the expression of faith. There were several personal antidotes shared and many scriptures.
The scripture that really got hold of my heart was 1 Corinthians 13 in a new and different way. It is historically referred to as the “Love Chapter.” However, what I began to see is that it also has all the components for a robust faith life. My conclusion was this: without love we cannot walk in faith. Love is the foundation for everything. Just as faith requires a demonstration to be activated, love does as well. We cannot operate in either one without interacting in community with others.
So my prayer is “Father help me to love like You believing that all things are possible, ALL THINGS are possible, with You.”
“12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13 NIV
As I read these verses, I started to imagine putting each of these characteristics on as if they were articles of clothing. A beautiful gown of compassion with a robe or jacket of kindness over it. Gorgeous custom boots of humility. Dazzling ear rings of gentleness and a necklace of patience. Then my make-up would look flawless with a foundation of forgiveness. I really had to sit with that for a while. It sounded regal and beautiful in such a stately and timeless way. It made me think of all the money I invest in clothes, shoes, the latest face creams and moisturizers. Closets of clothes are all over my house! But God’s garments are timeless, ageless classics. They never go out of style and their beauty never fades.
Lord, help me dress in these beautiful characteristics that reflect You. Help me wear each of them daily and with joy. Thank you for teaching me a new way to dress for success!
“13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NIV
Wait for the Lord. What does that mean? I’m learning. I’m learning that to wait for someone, you have to be in close communication. You also have to trust their word. If I don’t ask what their plans are, I might barge ahead with my own plans. I might get in the way of the other person’s plans. It might mean that we miss our connection entirely. Sometimes I forget to pause and check in with God’s plans for me. I barge ahead without hesitation thinking I know best. Occasionally I delude myself into thinking I know a lot more than I do. I waste time and energy worrying about things He has already worked out. So waiting is an art. To wait confidently and gracefully with composure. I still struggle in this area but I am learning! Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my head and don’t rely enough on God’s voice. So I have to go back to square one and get quiet and listen.
Father God, I’m so blessed that You are always there waiting for me. You never leave without me. You never leave me stranded. Thank you Lord!
“6 The Eternalis ready toshare His wisdomwith us, for His words bring true knowledge and insight;7 He has stored up the essentials of sound wisdom for those who do right;He acts as a shield for those who value integrity.” Proverbs 2:6-7 The Voice
I long to do right. To value integrity. To bury God’s words so deep in my heart, immerse my heart in it, so that nothing comes out of my heart but Him. I am so thankful for God’s Love and Grace and Mercy! It is so rich and beautiful. I am thankful for His guidance.
I pray that I can be a beacon of God’s Love for everyone. I pray that His love will be palpable and fragrant and humble and gentle and kind in me. That I can be a reflection of that Love. I pray that I can learn how to live and walk and breathe by faith.
“2If you listen for Lady Wisdom, attune your ears to her, and engage your mind to understandwhat she is telling you,3 If you cry outto herfor insight and beg for understanding,4 If you sift through the clamor of everything around youto seek her like some precious prize, to search for her like buried treasure;5 Then you will grasp what it means to truly respect the Eternal, and you will have discovered the knowledge ofthe one True God.” Proverbs 2:2-5 The Voice
Today, I had a sense of being stuck. I know God is faithful to me. He is also very patient with me. I am thankful for that. I have the sense I am missing something. I cried out to God and said “What do I need to do for breakthrough?” I heard a still small voice say: “Be obedient.” So I replied, “What am I missing?” And the still small voice explained: “You are not able to sit in it. You are not fully trusting me. Wait for me, daughter.” And yes, it’s true. Sometimes I get in a hurry. I don’t leave things up to God and I take things into my own hands. I’m trying to learn to trust Him more. It takes lots of practice. Lots of prayer. But it’s so much better all the way around if I will leave things with Him.
So after reading this scripture and listening to the still small voice I prayed, “Father God, help me accept what You tell me and store Your counsel and directives deep within me. Help me listen for Lady Wisdom and tune my ears to her voice. Engage my mind to understand what she is telling me. I cry out to You for insight and understanding. Father, help me seek wisdom like a precious prize or buried treasure. Help me grasp the fullness of truly respecting You and to discover the knowledge of You, my One True God. In Jesus Name, Amen”
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 NIV
The condition of our heart affects all things. How we see the world. How we interact with the world. How we see others. I can’t get past how important it is to care for our heart. The Bible provides so much instruction on how to trust our heart to God, how to guard our heart, how to confess our heart. If our hearts are set on Jesus, they will be open to wisdom from heaven. The following prayer by James Goll, in a Prayer for Spiritual Eyes, really resonated for me. I have referred to it several times:
“Lord give me that spirit of wisdom; grant me that spirit of revelation so that I will be captured by Jesus Christ. Release the shafts of revelation light into the eyes of my heart, that I might know the hope of Your calling, that I might know the glorious inheritance that lives inside of me, and that I might know the surpassing greatness of Your power that works in me.”
Father, please fill me with Your wisdom from heaven in all its glory.
“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” Proverbs 2:10 NIV
In Hebrew, the word for wisdom here means experience and shrewdness. The word for knowledge means ability and discernment. When I examine that verse without God’s grace, it has a sharp edge of self-reliance. It could even go to a place of arrogance or over-intellectualizing. At its worst it could become predatory. However, when I look at it with God’s grace, it becomes a complete and total dependence on the Father. It is reliant on His wisdom and His knowledge, not mine. He is all knowing. Not me. Grace changed everything in this verse for me. God’s grace grants me mercy and compassion. Jesus died that I can experience God’s grace.
Father, thank you for Your grace. Wow, that takes a load off!