March 27, 2019

A few years ago I took and advanced motorcycle safety course. The course was set up to test my skills in being able to handle my bike by weaving through a bunch of cones that had been set up. It tested my quick stopping skills by measuring the distance it took me to bring my motorcycle to a complete stop at 30mph, my ability to handle the bike in tight corners, and my awareness of what was going on around me with other people going through the course at the same time.

I just read through the book of James in one sitting and realized that James wrote the book so we could test our faith skills in different areas. It was like James had set up this course so that we could ride our faith through life and see how it handled the course. To see if our faith in Jesus was really genuine faith or no faith at all.

The first obstacle that we meet on the course is trouble; less than ideal situations like your mother-in-law moving in with you. 🙂

James 1:2–4 (NLT) — 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

James says that real faith exhibits joy in troubling situations. The faith person looks at trouble as an opportunity to hone endurance skills. Is that the way you look at trouble? It would be much easier to exhibit joy if this was a person’s outlook. I took the motorcycle course to hone my skills. They charged me money to take the course and I still took it with joy. This faith course is free to us, are you smiling now?

The next obstacle is loyalty.

James 1:5–8 (NLT) — 5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

The test is that real faith will do what God tells it to do no matter what that might be. In Acts 9 Ananias gives us a picture of loyal faith.

Acts 9:10–17 (NLT) — 10 Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord!” he replied. 11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” 13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.” 15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” 17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Ananias was a believer which means that he daily communicated with the Lord. It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that he had asked the Lord many times for His wisdom and on this day the Lord gave him some wisdom. Saul had come to Damascus to put believers in Jail. Some had even been killed. Ananias could have argued and said that it would be best if I do not go because if I get thrown in jail who will support my family. I’ve got to be loyal to them. But Ananias had real faith and real faith is loyal to God.

There are many ‘believers’ who are more loyal to their money than they are to God. They have made up their minds that tithing is Old Testament and even though Jesus said we should still tithe(Matthew 23:23) they refuse.

God’s wisdom is that men should lay down their lives for their wives and wives should submit to their husbands. Real faith is loyal to God and says, “I will.”

When you look at your faith in light of the wisdom of God how genuine, how real, and how skillful is it? The question wasn’t asked to condemn it was asked so that you could evaluate you faith and see if you needed to raise it’s skill level. It is like me taking the advanced motorcycle safety course; to see where I needed to improve my skills.  This is why we ride our faith through the course of life.

Be Inspired Hilltop!

P.S. I may just continue on with this through the book of James.