Lifestyle Christianity 3: The Wisdom of Faith

 
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JAMES 1:13-18

13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16  Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18  Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Look at how lust is nothing more than mismanagment of one's desires drawing us away from God to sin. As Adamic beings, we've all been tempted; God is never the tempter. Since He Himself cannot be tempted by evil, He tempts no man. Listen to this (for it sets the tone for the entire lesson): WE HAVE EITHER FALLEN INTO LUST BY RUSHING INTO THE WRONG DESIRES, OR HAVING THE RIGHT DESIRES, WE'VE GONE ABOUT GETTING THEM THE WRONG WAY. Many times we push our desires into "lust", leading to "sin" and "death". How do we avoid such lust, sin, and death? By acknowledging thru unwavering faith that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

We assume we've earned this or that, or that we deserve this or that because of how hard we've worked or what we've had to go through. That is nothing more than a competitive, carnal mindset which counteracts the truth that God blesses His people with abundance without us having to go about it the way we normally do.

God had many purposes bringing us into this world. It is His intention to give us what we truly desire if we will only go about it His way. Each Adamite is born with "the word of truth". Therefore we seek God showing forth His power and that "we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." RECEIVE THE WISDOM OF FAITH.

JAMES 1:13

13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #2556 anything that is worthless... depraved... injurious... bad is "evil", for the Christian. Be convinced that anything which has the potential of pulling your mind away from trusting God, is evil. It's a given that the obvious things such as pornography, drunkedness, murder, and so forth are evil. But so is worry, doubts, and fear, why? Because these are states which tempt our mind to move away from hope and believing. This is how we are tempted to stray away from our faith. STOP BLAMING GOD FOR NOT NOTICING YOU.

Many of our people are misunderstood and blame God for so many things. When things don't go our way, our tendency might be to take it personal and fall back into a pattern of wondering if God is really just some rigid taskmaster who is ever ready to lay into us. Here we see He's not that way at all: He is never tempted and He never tempts us. Evil has no effect upon God, His plans, or the way He feels about you. He is so infinitely powerful, able to use evil for our good. Now how could we ever blame our perfect God, especially for the things we cannot explain in our lives? He is worthy of our total respect for His ways, especially for the way He has treated us all of our lives. We are responsible for our own mistakes and shortcomings including falling into temptation. He is in no way to blame though He's always there as He is in you. The fear of God (or having the highest respect for God) is the beginning of wisdom, even the wisdom of faith.

God has no reason to "tempteth he any man". He already knows our hearts, inside and out. And no matter what His child may think of Him at any given time, He only wants our good all the time. When is it most men tempt one another? When they want something from them or they want something to come out of a situation to their advantage. Yet God is Self-Sufficient and Self-Sustaining, needing nothing from anyone. Besides, if you only need Him and what He provides, it is no longer necessary to try and manipulate others to get what you want anymore. He lives in you and He wants you to have what you need and want out of life. He wants to live and experience the best life possible thru you. But He will not settle for anything less in order to achieve it than your absolute trust in Him. All this begins to turn around when we take responsibility for the way we have mishandled our desires and repent. While understanding the step-by-step process of how we are drawn away from God by lust into sin:

JAMES 1:14-16

14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16  Do not err, my beloved brethren.

As we see, there is a method to the madness of sin. Sin happens, but it doesn't just happen. This "lust" results from mishandling our desires leading us to sin. We either don't know what we really want or we're going about getting it the wrong way- that's being "drawn away" and "enticed". This is due to nothing more than our own spiritual ignorance, needing to understand and apply the wisdom of faith. In the past, we've had desires but we've only went about getting things the way we've been taught by society. But God wants you to understand that there's something that goes along with your work, it's your faith.

How important is it for us to live by faith? Understand, righteousness (therefore faith) is the opposite of sin- "for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." OUR UNBELIEF IS THE SIN AGAINST GOD THAT IS COSTING US THE MOST. We must be convinced of this. We've just gotten so used to settling, while holding to forms of faithless churchianity, missing the whole point of being here- to practice our faith in God.

There's no middle ground with desire and lust- we are either in one state or the other. We either want something and are believing somehow God will bring it to us, or we want something and are willing to go to whatever carnal limits we must to get it. Why not take God at His Word and put it all on your faith in God? We're all living for something, rolling the dice in the face of a storm. Why not put it all on Christ and in the mean time, protect your self from falling into sin thru lust. This is wisdom we can only receive from God. We put our trust in so many things without even thinking about it, while denying our Infinite Father's Omnipotence. He is the Most High God and we can stop being enticed by resolving our unsettled desires. This is the Christian lifestyle we were meant to live.

Whatever state we choose to be in, we should only be satisfied with knowing we are ever drawing closer to God. We should also want to be that kind of example to our brethren. No one gets more positive attention in a white community than those who are most blessed of God. What better way to grab the limelight then for the absolute glory of God.

According to James, what causes us to be drawn away from God is us NOT PRACTICING FAITH. For there is no need for lust when we are fully trusting our Father to bring our desires to pass. Embark upon your best life today by receiving the wisdom of faith.

Again, it is the uncontrolled mind which is "drawn away"; the old double-minded man who refuses to manage his thoughts. Our desires themselves may not be evil, only the way we allow them to lure and entice us away from God. Later in this lesson, James specifically tells us where to allow our desires to take us. Our desires are to draw us closer to God in some way otherwise, they are the wrong desires. Stop thinking having desires is evil. For as we see in this verse, it's the kind of desires and what you do with them that draws us out to sin.

Faith and sin are both "conceived" or as Lidell and Scott's explains it, are put together... of the mind, to comprehend, understand in the mind. Like hope and vanity, faith and sin cannot co-exist in our minds without us being double-minded in all our ways. We've been taught all we must do not to sin is not break certain external rules and regulations; this is a lie. According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance "sin" is #266 from #264 the Greek word hamartia which is defined to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize). This is significant when considering the way that it is conceived in the mind. WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE THRU HOW WE HANDLE WHAT WE DESIRE, WHETHER WE WANT TO SHARE IN THE PRIZE OR KEEP MISSING THE MARK.

Liddell and Scott's defines it similiarly as to miss, to miss the mark, to miss the road, failed in hitting upon the thought. We've been taught about all the sins, all the external actions we must and must not perform. But long before sin is manifested in our actions and behavior, it is poisoning our hearts and minds, pulling us down another road away from God and faith. Sin shoots the arrow and comes short of the target everytime. Or we are on our way to a destination when suddenly we take a turn in the wrong direction- this is sin and you can prevent it. THE ONLY WAY TO STAY ON COURSE AND HIT THE MARK IS TO LET FAITH GUIDE YOU THRU YOUR DESIRES. Sin is the result of us not determining and bringing our desires by faith to God. We (in a sense) make gods out of what it is we want, rather than allowing our desires to bring us closer to God.

This is more clear language expressing how this is all about our minds. The idea behind "err" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #4105 which is to roam... wander, be out of the way. It is because one lets his mind wander "he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." BUT IF OUR MIND IS FIXED ON WHAT WE WANT FROM GOD AND WE ARE TRUSTING HIM TO BRING IT, IT'S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.

We are erring and falling short when we take matters into our own hands and do not depend upon God to fulfill our desires. You are precious to God, His "beloved". Don't think for one second God doesn't want you to have a more fulfilling and abundant life. It's just that He is worthy of being included in the process because His greatest desire is for you to hit the mark of His ultimate glory. WE INCLUDE HIM BY TRUSTING HIM.

There is a very fine line between desire and lust. As we have seen, lust leads to sin and death, whereas the right desires lead us by faith unto life. The critical factors in determining whether your desires are pure is why you want what you want and how you will attain it. By our desires we can be brought closer to God as by "lust" we are "drawn away".

Desire has the willingness to wait, whereas lust does not. One who always rushes in, forcing things, is refusing to wait on God and may very well be following lust. While one who manages his desires knows what he wants and trusts God to bring it to pass... whenever. There is also a difference in depth between desire and lust. A lot of times lust is shallow and impulsive. On the other hand, the wisest desires are always honed, contoured, and thought-out way beforehand. Our greatest defence against sin and lust is to maintain our focus on trusting God to provide our desires:

JAMES 1:17

17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Herein lies further wisdom. For in and of itself, if it is wrong to have desires, or if we are never to desire anything from God, why would James be emphasizing this?! It's because God wants us to have desires, for it is the way we will keep seeking Him by faith. Here we see that the Source of "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above". Everything we have came from God and most of us are just now starting to live like this. We should also desire the "perfect" gifts for others and ourselves. Everything good comes from God, but God has some things that are perfect, just for you. The only way we are worthy is never taking our eyes off Him thru controlling our minds and determining our desires. For once He gives you a peace that you are on the right pathway, this wisdom is the key to your loyalty to the prize.

James outlined the wrong way of going about trying to get what we want. Now he introduces us to yet another fascinating perspective of our "Father of lights" Who knows what we have need of before we ask Him YET HE STILL WANTS US TO ASK HIM ANYWAY!

This word for "lights" is the Greek word phos Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #5457 which means to shine or make manifest. If He is the Father of Lights then who are the lights of the Father? WE ARE THE WHITE LIGHTS HE CREATED TO SHINE BRIGHT IN HIS GLORY. He didn't create us to keep struggling, to remain poor, to fail, or to not have the things we want- HE CREATED US SO THAT HE MIGHT MANIFEST HIS GLORY IN THOSE WHO WILL LIVE BELIEVING IN HIM. He does not need us for anything- He made it this way for our fullest benefit. This is God's intended lifestyle. God wants to make manifest His rich glory and blessings in your life.

There is no shadow of turning in God; He is not fickle like so many of us, who say one thing and do another. God never changes where He's coming from. He always wants what's best for you and wants to give it to you. In this, understand God doesn't change His mind! Someone might say, "Oh, I've really messed up, God could never use or bless me." When His word says all you must do is repent and get on the path of faith.

God never changes. Since there are no shadows with Him, there's no place to hide anyway. Why not just admit you've tried it your way long enough and that it's time to come to the Father of Lights Who can make your life shine! Our verse here with James states something the Apostle John will reiterate in His First Epistle later on:

I JOHN 1:5

5  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

The mind of God never changes, even about you. He has always loved you and always wants what is best for you. This is why He wants us to believe. He wants us to experience the benefits of living by faith thru what we can create in our own minds. What would be the greatest way (in your mind) to bring glory to God? Not just one thing, but a whole lifestyle for you and your family. That you could be doing something you knew was pleasing to Him while being totally fullfilling to you. Think long and hard on this consideration and you will begin to see your life on a whole other scale, in a lot brighter light. FOR WE SHINE THE BRIGHTEST WHILE WE AWAIT AND WHEN WE RECEIVE WHAT WE'VE ASKED OF GOD.

JAMES 1:18

18  Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

This is the wisdom of faith: that God fashioned a people with creative power. God tells us to believe and promises to give us whatever we ask Him for, because He has instilled within us the capacity to achieve it. His intention is for you to shine for Him, for you to not only receive a great harvest but to one day be the harvest for someone else in your life. This is how we are His shining lights: by exhibiting this creative power He placed in us thru living by faith. GOD HAS INSTILLED WITHIN EACH OF US THE POWER TO CREATE THE LIVES WE WANT, WHICH WILL POINT OUR PEOPLE TO HIS POWER.

Why should we want to trust God to give us what we really desire? Because when He made us He put the ability to achieve this within us. It is within you to do this, while everything outside of you (including your own flesh) tells you it can't be done. So what is this "word of truth"? It is the "word" or logos "of truth" just as it would later be expressed at the beginning of the Fourth Gospel. Listen for the logos, us being begat or born of God, the light dispelling the darkness, and more on believing, like in our text:

JOHN 1:1-14

1  In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God. 2  The same was in the beginning with God. 3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Understand, this Epistle of James was written way before the Fourth Gospel of John. But they both carry the same eternal message of the creative power of the LOGOS of truth. This Word, this Logos found a lodging place when God's creative power exhibited "In the beginning", resting within our father Adam when God breathed the Breathe of Life into him and therefore us. As we see Christ Who was "full of grace and truth" while in our text: "Of his own will begat he us with the logos of truth" as well.

Having been born from above into this world with the Spirit of God, we are "begat with the word of truth". THIS IS THE WISDOM OF FAITH WHICH CONVINCES OUR MINDS THAT GOD HAS INSTILLED WITHIN US HIS CREATIVE POWER. THIS IS THE ONLY LIFESTYLE THAT IS PLEASING TO THE GOD WHO CREATED YOU IN HIS LIKENESS. The more we recognize and release what God has placed within us, the sharper our desires will become until finally, we have hit the mark, creating a rich, full life, all by faith.

REFLECTION

Once you put this wisdom to practice, you more fully understand why God chose to give you His truth. For we should never assume we have sold out to the truth until we are seeing the results of fully trusting the Truth Himself with our all. In our next lesson we will look more at this and the illustration of faith firstfruits provides.

Our mind plays tricks on us all the time, only because we allow it to. The more we seek to control our thinking, the closer we get to Christ. When we began to see the world for what it is, then opened our minds to the Spirit, we are now experiencing how following Yahweh is the only way to a better life. Begin to conceive how you want to live for God. You will discover this is the opposite of sin because before we were living only to please our flesh by what we could attain in the flesh. Now we are living to please our spirit by what we can attain in the Spirit. Your mind is no longer clouded because you are grasping the wisdom of faith.