Let’s study together…Let’s talk about Faith and how faith works.
“Faith without works is dead” How many times have you heard this scripture quoted by believers who say there is something that you need to do other than “believe” to activate your faith in God’s promise? Frankly, I feel like I am being told I have to “help God out” on delivering good on His promises?
I must admit some areas can be confusing in how “Faith without works is dead” should be applied. For example:
First Scenario… If a man says I believe that God is going to bless me to find my dream job, of course you need to apply for the kind of jobs you really want. I would say the work here is you applying for positions that would otherwise be out of reach for you, which shows God that you believe that he can bless you to land the job. I get it in this Scenario. The position in most cases would not fall out of the sky, you have to apply for it.
But I don’t get how people’s example of “works” (when they say there’s something you have to do, apply in these following faith scenarios…
Second Scenario/ Biblical: God says to Abraham and Sarah I am going to bless you with a child about this time next year, in Genesis 18:10). So they believe God, and waited. In this scenario, for me, the work is holding on to what God said and believing him despite how bleak and hopeless their situation was. Sarah was 90 plus! Was their faith dead because they didn’t go out (at this time) to help God create a baby?
As a matter of fact Sarah later on Sarah decides to help God out and gave her handmaid to Abraham in order to get her promise child. This was not the plan of God for Abraham and Sarah. He specifically said “your wife Sarah will conceive” He didn’t need her help. Because she tried to help God out, she created Ishmael which caused all kinds of problems for the family causing Ishmael and his mother to be sent away, and creating an entire nation of hostiles that hates Israel!
Third Scenario/Biblical: Job. He lost everything. Wealth, children, health, and his wife turned on him. He had faith and believed that God was still worthy of his trust. But he was still physically in a bad state. What was Jobs works? Did he run from doctor to doctor trying to find the best doctor in the nation to heal him? Scripture doesn’t say he did. Did he try to will and deal to regain all of his wealth? Or “Make it Happen”. Scripture does not say that he did anything but believe. So what was his work? I don’t show he did anything but believe God. So was his faith dead? Or was simply believing the works? Apparently Job’s faith was not dead, because God restored all to Job.
So how do you know when you should physically do a work to show a display of faith, and when simply standing still and believing should be your work? And then who is the judge of which is the correct way? People will constantly speak things in your ear from the book according to their life. They will tell you how you should do things according to how it has worked out for them. But what we have to realize is that God has all of us on different “faith assignments.” (Yes I borrowed that phrase from someone, can’t remember who, but I Loved it and I’m keeping it! Lol) But isn’t that sort of jolting? We can’t always find comfort or seek direction in the blue print that God has laid out for someone else. How God develops us spiritually and bring us to where he wants us in life is very specific. It is detailed to our individual tests, call, and God’s ultimate plan for our life. God is wise! This should keep us glued to His feet for guidance! I believe when we stay connected with God in prayer it keeps us on our correct path in life with Christ. When we stay plugged in to Jesus, then we know exactly how we should respond and no one will be able to tell you that you should do this or that, because the spirit of God will have dealt with you on whether you should move, or stay still. If nothing else we can’t lose with staying in belief, and not moving until we are sure we have some kind of approval from God. The Word of God does suggest that when we don’t know what to do we should stand still and watch Him work! Ps 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. This implies to me, that God doesnt' need my interruption or physical contribution of actions to what he may be trying to do! Now this doesn't suggest that we should always just stand around like we don’t have a job to do. But there are many circumstances when it is obvious there is NOTHING you can do but stand still, pray, wait and watch.
Fourth Scenario/Biblical: In James 2:20 Two models of works are used: Abraham’s willingness to give up his son in obedience to God asking him to sacrifice, And Rahab the harlot helping out the Jewish spies in hopes that her family would be saved.
With Abraham his works was direct obedience to what God asked him to do even though he didn’t understand why God would ask him to kill the only heir God himself had promised him. How could he be a father without a child? Yet Abraham trusted God enough to go on with the sacrifice until God had to stop him. This I understand. God asked him to do something and he did it. He had faith in God no questions asked. If Abraham would have said no God I will not do this because you promised Isaac as my heir it would have shown that Abraham’s trust in God was not complete. His works was how much he trusted God. And it showed by him going through with the act of sacrificing his son, the knife was in hand!
With Rahab She heard the testimonies of how God was with the army of Israel and how he had given them victories in every nation. Rahab didn’t want herself, or her family to be destroyed. Her works: she hid Joshua’s spies in hope that they would spare her and her family. This showed that she believed in their God enough to help them. And it paid off for her. Rahab and her family were spared because of her act.
In both scenarios used in James 2:20 faith was displayed by an act of obedience, and an act of good faith. Abraham’s faith would have been dead if he would have decided not to offer up Isaac. And Rahab would not even be mentioned in the bible if she would not have decided to help God’s people. So it is obvious from these two examples that our faith requires us to do something.
Now, it is also obvious in the scenarios with Job and his restoral, and Abraham waiting to have a son from Sarah, that the works isn’t always us going out to “do” something. But how in the world do we know when our works is just to believe and wait or when it is to believe and do? My conclusion: We seek God and ask him for specific instructions, and then we wait to see how that is manifested by God. So easy, yet we are masters at complicating it because in most cases we are impatient. The end.
Now I am sure this is a study that could have listed many case studies of faith, and I will probably go back and grab some other scenarios just to re familiarize myself with the different ways that God will work. So what do you think? Is your Faith working, or is it dead?