Week 11: James and the Fatherless
Day 3: Characteristics and Necessity of Faith, Part II – Faith and Commitment
As we have gone through this study of what the Bible says about the fatherless, we have seen on numerous occasions that faith is a necessary part of such ministry. Both the New Testament and the Old Testament bring many aspects of this to light:
Finances – (See these blogs to review): OT 1:4, NT 1:5 and NT 1:9
Living by faith when we cannot see what lies ahead: OT 7:2
Faith as an intended characteristic of God’s people: NT 3:2, NT 3:4, NT 3:5, NT 4:2, NT 4:3, NT 5:3, NT 5:5
Our faith is to be like that of a child: NT 6:4
We are made His children by faith: NT 6:5, NT 9:3, NT 9:4, NT 10:1
We are to be maturing in our faith: NT 7:2, NT 7:3
And perhaps most important as we look at the book of James, this ministry is a test of the sincerity of our faith: OT 4:5, NT 2:3, NT 2:5
As we look James 1:6-8, we see also that faith is necessary if we expect God to answer our prayer. We have already seen that God does not want our faith to waver, but look at what he says about it if it does: “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:7-8) If you don’t know what you’re trusting for and you’re wavering in your faith, don’t expect God to answer and give what’s needed.
Have you ever met someone who just never seems to decided what they’re going to be when they grow up? One minute they are pursuing a music career, the next they’ve decided to become a paralegal, or maybe a schoolteacher, no, a vet tech, or maybe…Nah. Their ways are not stable. They don’t know what direction they’re headed. God wants us to be fixed on Him and committed to following the path He lays out for us. He isn’t looking for wishy-washy moved by the wind Christians. He wants us to seek Him, follow Him and stand. He wants us to commit to follow no matter what the danger to ourselves. Easy to say, harder to live. Psalm 15:4 says, “…but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” This is the kind of commitment God is looking for. I’m not saying you run out and look for ways to make a commitment that is clearly going to bring pain to you and/or your family. I’m talking about seeing that God is leading in a direction; committing to follow, though you don’t know what it will lead to; and sticking with it when pain comes.
Hudson Taylor is a good example of this. Mr. Taylor knew that God had called him to China. He left England single but with the hope of marrying a certain young woman. She decided against him. Eventually, God brought another woman, Maria, into his life. Of their nine children, three died at birth and two died before the age of ten. Maria died of cholera several days after the loss of their last child. Hudson later remarried. From this marriage, only two of their four children survived. During his time in China he suffered physical attacks, passed through times of revolution, suffered illness and severe injuries from accidents, but he never turned back. He pressed on, knowing the commitment he had made and the God to whom he had made it.
God wants us to stand firm and, like the apostle Paul, to say, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12)