There is a difference between what we believe and how we act on our beliefs. This is called faith. You can believe that a boat will float on the water, but until you get into it, you are only believing in the seaworthiness of that watercraft. Your faith is not getting you across the lake. Your whole body has to get into the boat, and you must set sail for that belief to be placed into action and set sail into the faith you profess.
Action will always be the most essential part of faith. They don’t call it taking a step of faith for nothing. This statement always calls for you to do something. Standing still is never a suitable option. Nor will be sitting on your duff and not doing anything; Christians are called to do something. The Bible does not teach us to believe and remain still. Let’s look at it from a different point of view.
Does a doctor not doc? Will a plumber not plumb? What about a veterinarian. Will they not vet? So why should a Christian not Christ? Yes, it may sound silly, but Paul places great emphasis on his calling on what he should do in Philippians 1:21. “For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.” Woah. Paul says he should Christ. He was referring to Jesus. Jesus died. He is talking about while he is alive, he should teach others about Jesus and to bring others to Christ’s saving grace. That is his job. Just as a doctor is to save lives and a plumber is to fix your leaky faucet,
Paul was to point to Christ, who was to draw others to the cross that he died upon to point to salvation through his blood.
Now looking to us; just as Paul was to point others to the cross, we are to point to Christ. This is authentic faith. Any and all faith that points to Jesus and what he had done for us on the cross is authentic faith. Faith that has no doubts, faith that does not look back, faith that trusts in Christ alone through any circumstance. Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, teaches to pray continually and to give thanks in all circumstances; in cheerfulness, in infirmity, and when you experience suffering.
Throughout our lives, we all will suffer and go through difficult situations. James goes on to teach about meeting needs amongst each other. One of the greatest verses is in chapter 5 at the end of verse 16, “the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” The power of devoted prayer; authentic faith does so much when derived from a committed heart to him.
Hearing our Prayers
Fervent prayer is a result of authentic faith. Yet, authentic faith is never dependent upon our circumstances. Fervent prayer is in spite of what is going on around us. Remember, we pray because we have authentic faith. And that faith continues regardless of our circumstances, and we trust that God hears our prayers, and we will be delivered from our circumstances from those fervent prayers. —remember, answers to prayer can be yes, no, AND wait.
Keep in mind there is a difference between what we know, the intellectual belief in God—what we know of God, and the authentic faith—what we have experienced of God. Don’t let go of either; they are married to each other and will guide you into who you become as a follower of Christ. Trust in Him and let them guide you into the Christian he is guiding you to become.
Paul knew it and continued on, all the way to his death. As did James. I am not saying you are on your way to your death if you continue on in your Christian walk. I’m saying that these men knew where their strength came. It came from a belief and faith in Christ. You can lean on it as well. James knew what humbling himself meant; James 4:10 says “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up”. Paul knew it as well. He reminds us that grace is what saves us through our faith. And best of all that it is a gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)