14"My brothers and sisters, if people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save them? 17… Faith by itself, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead). 18Someone might say, “You have faith, but I have deeds.” Show me your faith without doing anything, and I will show you my faith by what I do." Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove." |James 2:14, 17-18|
James encourages us in the scripture above by asking us a simple question about FAITH. Many times, many of us we major on the minors and forget the majors that really matter in life. Paul writes in Hebrews 11:1 and tells us what Faith is; but James comes and challenges us not just to have Faith but have a Faith that has got ACTIONS in it. I love the way the Message bible frames the question that James is asking. The bible says: "Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?" |James 2:14 MSG| The bible clearly shows us that it’s not just about professing that you have faith but you have to show it by your works. The Amplified bible calls them "deeds of Obedience" See this; "But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith. |James 2:18 AMP|
Many times we find ourselves in some situations that really call out to us to have faith and more so a strong willed Faith; but all the same, it is not just enough to have faith but we need to put our faith in action and thus we will be able to see results. One of the worst things that can ever happen to you is being in one situation for a long time. It is too bad to be in a situations or circumstances that are disappointing; discouraging; a helpless state etc. and watch people pass by you to their blessings, breakthrough and attain what God has called them for as you just sit there and watch. Take an instance of the man who was lying beside the pool for 38 year |John 5:7| just waiting for the pool to be stirred and hoping that someone would throw him into the pool for his healing… Imagine such a period… He was seeing people stand there beside their relatives and once the pool was stirred, they would throw their relatives inside and he would be left there again.
One of the worst things that can ever happen to you is to be in one situation for a long time. It is so sad to be in situations or circumstances that are disappointing, discouraging etc. and watch very many people pass by you as you just watch. You should couple up your faith and belief and what you profess need to do something. We have very many examples in the bible of people who had a need and what they did was that they too a step of faith and what they were believing God for came to be. Take a look at the four Lepers outside the gate of Samaria in 2 Kings 4; they took steps of faith and God multiplied their steps and sounded like a vast army; if they just resided at their dwelling place outside the city gate, nothing much would have happened. Another person who took steps of faith is the blind Bartimaeus and from his story |Mark 10:46-52|, blind Bartimaeus, we can learn a few things about Faith.
1) Faith connects. It cries/calls out. Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by Jericho and he decided to connect with Him and get his healing. Sometimes we miss out our blessings simply because we are not able to connect with the moment and the season that we are in or the wave that comes our way. Bartimaeus, as blind as he was, was able to discern the time and season that he/was in (prevailing) and thus he was able to get his miracle. Know the season that you are in and connect with our miracle.
2) Faith Speaks: Bartimaeus called out to the Lord in need of his healing. Many times, we just keep quiet and die in our situations when we can call/cry out and get our help. Why stay in that situation that you are in today for a life when you can get your deliverance and help just by connecting your faith to your maker. It just calls for your faith to connect by Crying/Calling out to the master.
3) Faith Moves: Bartimaeus didn’t just connect with the time and season that was prevailing in Jericho; he didn’t just speak and call out to Jesus… but he also took a step of faith and moved to the Saviour. He left the place where he was used to sit on the roadside begging and went to meet with Jesus. Faith takes an action. Do not just sit in your comfort zone and think that everything will work out as you wish without you taking a step. You got to move off the comfort zone and move ahead to a place of action.
4) Faith makes a claim/declaration of what it wants and knows its portion. You got to declare what you want. Bartimaeus knew that he wasn’t supposed to be bling and thus he asked for what he wanted and that was the restoration of his sight. You got to know what you want to see/be in your life and then declare it. What you speak becomes. God spoke in the creation and whatever He spoke came to be. What is spoken in the spiritual world actualizes or is manifested in the physical world. Unless you declare it, it will never be.
5) Faith follows: After Bartimaeus received his sight; he followed Jesus speaking and testifying of what God had done. The problem with many of us is that when we receive what we were asking for; we go away and we never follow. We so much want the miracle but we do not want to associate ourselves with the miracle worker. We want to many things but once we get them, we forget how desperate we were when we were asking for the same and we forget God. We need to continue with the same spirit and follow/pursue God with the same zeal and desire as we were when pursuing after our miracle or what we wanted. Many of us we want the blessing and once we get it, we forget the blesser and that shouldn’t be the case. We need to remember that we will need him again thus we need to hold on and follow him!
The devil knows the impact we have and the repercussions thereof once we get the answers to our prayers. We get more devoted to God and our faith is built and established in him. The people who were around Bartimaeus tried to block him but he was determined to get to the Saviour. The devil will throw many things around us to discourage us but we need to stand on our ground and look forward and ahead focusing on our goal without wavering. Its time you got aggressive and go for what is yours and your inheritance in Christ Jesus.
Grace Today Magazine – House of Grace Church (December 2011)
"My sheep know me and recognize my voice;" John 10:3
We are living in a generation that is really progressed and on the move. The times in which many of us were born and brought up are totally different from the world that we live. The things that you knew or you came to know when you were much older are what a 7 year old kid knows today. It’s not that you and I were ignorant but it is simply because we are in a changing world and environment that is changing each and every day. You will realize that the kids of this day and time are familiar with almost everything around them. I was surprised the other day when my kid sister took my phone and he navigated through and she sent my boss an email. It dawned on me that the world and the generation that we are in have really advanced. I have realized that the more our children are exposed to many things, the more they get familiar with them and get acquainted to them and well versed in and with them.
Peter and his brethren the disciples had been with Jesus for three years and it reached a point when Jesus had to fulfill His purpose for coming on earth ~ dying on the cross for our sins. It is expected that the disciples having been the closest people with Jesus knew Him well and could recognize Him well. The bible records three instances where the disciples couldn’t recognize Jesus.
In Matthew 14:22-27, the bible records that after doing the days ministry, Jesus sent the disciples ahead of him and He retreated to the mountain to pray. Later on, we see him linking up with then in the sea when He came walking on water. The bible records that when they saw Jesus, they thought it was a ghost and they were scared. Later on, when they realize who He was, Peter asked Him to bid him to go to Him. In John 21:4-7, we see Peter and others decide to go back fishing and the whole night they do not manage to get any fish till the morning. The bible records that Jesus called out and asked them if they had caught anything for breakfast and they said no. Jesus instructs them to launch out their nets into the deep and they had a tremendous catch and that’s when Peter realized who Jesus was. Mark you; he was naked all this time. Luke 24:13-16; 30-32, we see the disciples on their way to Emmaus. They are discussing the death and resurrection of Jesus when He joins them and walks with them for a while and distance but until Jesus disappears from their midst.
What do I see from these three instances? It is very clear that the disciples having spent three and half years with Him, they still hadn’t known him well to recognize Him. Three years is a long time to spend with someone and fail to recognize them or distinguish them amidst people. This will mean that you haven’t been serious to learn them as you spent time with them. We need to be pro-active and know well who we are and the people as well as things that matter to us most.
Jesus sat with his disciples and asked them a simple question in Matthew 16:13:17: "who do people say I am?… They gave their answers of who people say HE is but then He got deeper and asked them whom "they" said He was. Peter answered Him and said that He was Christ the son of God. Peter had a revelation of who Jesus was but still he was the first one to give up and go back fishing and went back with a few others.
There is one problem that I see amongst the disciples. They became too familiar with Jesus until they thought he was just the man next door. We are getting into a Christmas season and everyone will be on a frenzy mode celebrating the new born baby per say but I want to submit to you that He is not a baby; He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It is not just enough to profess Him as the Saviour of your life, the question is; how well do you know him? Can you recognize him? Jesus said in John 10:3 that "My sheep know me and recognize my voice;" that’s the prayer and desire of every shepherd. It is not just enough to be part of the flock but it is more important to have a revelation of who He is.
My prayer for you even as you read this article is that this Christmas, you will not just have the revelation of who Jesus is – not just a baby born in a manger. Go beyond just knowing him but recognize him… Know him as your shepherd and recognize His voice.
PS! This is an article I contributed to the Grace Today Magazine of House of Grace Church (www.houseofgrace.or.ke).
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