As I write this article, it is May 2020 and, certainly, there is something that is at the forefront of everyone’s mind that has affected and altered everyone’s lives in recent weeks. It’s what people are referring to as a global pandemic, a virus that has spread to almost every nation in the world. My purpose is not to discuss the natural causes of this virus. Instead, I want to focus on a biblical and spiritual response to this issue. Our biblical and spiritual response to this current situation should be the same concerning any other challenge that we might be facing, so whether you are reading this in the midst of the pandemic, or sometime in the future, I pray that you will receive His divine insights as to how you can storm-proof your life.
As Christians, the first thing we must recognize and accept is the validity and the authority of God’s Word as it pertains to everything that affects our lives. As Proverbs 4:20-22 says,
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
In these verses, the writer is encouraging us to make God’s Word a priority. In other words, put God’s Word first. So much so that we tune our ears to hear what God is saying; we see God’s Word as our final authority; we never stop thinking about what the Bible says concerning every situation in life.
Interestingly, the writer uses the two most influential physical senses: what we hear and what we see. The Holy Spirit, through this writer, is instructing us to allow God’s Word to have the most significant influence on our lives. When we face problems, difficulties or challenges that make us feel hopeless or uncertain, we must train ourselves to look to God’s Word for answers, immediately, for wisdom, direction, and strength.
In the world we live in, we have unlimited access to information. Sometimes, I think we have too much information, so much so, it is difficult to process, and as a result, we can feel overwhelmed. Don’t misunderstand me; I believe in being informed. There are times that we need to pay attention to what is taking place in the world around us. However, if that is our only source of information, we will be limited in making right and wise decisions concerning the issues we face in life.
Notice what Paul says in I Corinthians 2:6-16:
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
These scriptures teach us the importance of distinguishing between natural wisdom and God’s wisdom. These verses do not say that we should avoid man’s wisdom or knowledge altogether. No, these verses teach us that man’s understanding is incomplete. Man’s wisdom is limited.
We are not minimizing what we can learn from observing the natural laws that govern this world. However, if we restrict our learning to innate knowledge, we will be at a disadvantage in life. Fortunately, we have access to another source of knowledge and wisdom; this knowledge and understanding come from God; it is revealed in God’s Word and communicated by God’s Spirit.
Jesus said in John 16:13:
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Isn’t it wonderful that we have someone living on the inside of us that will guide us in life and will warn us ahead of time concerning things that could potentially affect our lives?
Let’s look at something James says in James 1:2-8:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 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.
I think it is interesting that James begins in verse two talking about temptations, or tests and trials, and then moves into a discussion about needing wisdom from God.
Let’s look at verse 2 again. Notice the words, “when you fall into”. Vincent’s Word Studies mentions that, “The preposition suggests falling into something which surrounds. Thus Thucydides, speaking of the plague at Athens, says, ‘The Athenians, having fallen into such affliction, were pressed by it.’ The words that James used in this text were used by a Greek historian who recounted a plague that devastated ancient Athens in 430 B.C.
The wording used to define the phrase “to fall into” presents a picture of someone who is surrounded by trials. We could also say, surrounded by problems or surrounded by issues that create fear and uncertainty. Fortunately, James does not stop writing with verse one. In the next verse, James writes the words, “Knowing this…”. It is so important that we have God’s knowledge and wisdom concerning what we are facing.
What should we know? James goes on to say, “…that the trial of your faith works patience,” or literally, produces endurance. Verse 3 continues by saying, “endurance in faith brings you to a place of wanting nothing,” or literally, lacking nothing.
Weymouth’s translation of verse 2 says, “Only let endurance have perfect results so that you may become perfect and complete, deficient in nothing.”
We must understand that tests and trials do not come from God. God does not use evil things to test our faith. God uses His Word, both written and spoken, to help us develop a robust faith that will stand firm in every situation of life.
We can also see from these verses that tests and trials do not produce faith. We know what produces faith. Romans 10:17 instructs us:
So then faith comes… (how does faith come?)…by hearing…(hearing what?)….and hearing by the Word of God.
The Bible teaches us every Christian already has a measure of God’s faith. Romans 12:3:
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you…(every Christian man and woman)…not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man…(that is Christian man and woman)…the measure of faith.
How did we receive that measure of faith? Ephesians 2:8 says:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (that faith) not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
The moment you became a child of God, God gave you a measure of His faith. We could say you have a measure of the kind of faith that God has. Everyone begins with the same measure of faith. Your measure does not have to stay the same. The Bible says your faith can grow. 2 Thessalonians 1:3:
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith growth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.
In this passage, Paul is complementing the Christians in the church of Thessaloniki concerning their faith. Paul said their faith had grown exceedingly. Under what conditions did the faith of these believers grow? From a historical background, we understand the Christians in this city were experiencing a great deal of persecution and hardship. The beautiful thing is, their faith continued to grow, even under not so ideal conditions.
The point I want to make is this: Our faith can be strong before the storm, during the storm and after the storm passes. Why? Because our faith is the same kind of faith, our Heavenly Father has. Secondly, our Heavenly Father has given us a way to develop our faith so that our faith can be strong in challenging times.
God has given us His Word and His Holy Spirit. The Word of God, when received and believed, will increase our faith. When we put our faith into practice, when we act on what we believe (especially when we are facing problems in life), when we act on what God says (both written and spoken), our faith in God’s Word will bring us through the storm without any deficiencies. As a result, our faith will grow and become even stronger. This is our prayer for you.