What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he has faith, and have not
works? can faith save him? (James 2:14).
What constitutes the amount of faith we put in another?
With a child it may be that we determine the amount of faith we have according to the
amount of responsibility we give them. Or perhaps it is the first time we give them the
keys to the car. And what about at work? What constitutes the amount of faith you place in
someone or someone places in you? That response might also be shown according to
responsibility and privilege, I imagine. And what about in a marriage? Within a marriage
the signs are probably as such that they run more deeply, even as we might consider our
personal and more intimate faith in God. For as James would remind us, faith is best
demonstrated by actions, and those actions are for others a sign of faith.
But let's not consider the demonstration of our faith as something for our own benefit,
but for a moment, consider it from the benefit of the other. Do we think it important that
our faith be demonstrated as such that others might believe that we believe? For if we
claim to have faith in a child to do a job, yet we act hesitant or are always there ready
to jump in and take over, what faith in the child have we demonstrated? Or if we place our
faith in someone at work to complete a project, yet we are constantly looking over their
shoulder, where is the demonstration of our faith in their ability to do their job? Or if
we say we have faith in our spouse and yet maintain suspicion, who are we trying to
convince that we trust him or her? And finally, if we claim that we have faith in God to
care for us, protect us and love us; where is the demonstration of that faith if we
struggle to care for ourselves, or find ways to protect ourselves, or seek out ways that
we can feel loved--all without consulting Him? Where is the demonstration of our faith?
As a child of God, we are entrusted by Him with certain responsibilities. And since God is
never anxious, He is not lurking behind us, looking over our shoulder, ready to jump in at
a moments notice. For if He has entrusted something to us, He has placed faith in us to
accomplish it. You may wonder how that can be. Its really not hard to understand if you
consider His nature. For although He knows where we will make mistakes, He is also able to
trust us--not because we shall not fail, but because He knows our hearts. This may not yet
make sense, for we see ourselves as untrustworthy--rightfully so--for we are
untrustworthy. Yet God demonstrates the very kind of faith to us that He desires us to
have in others, and He does so perfectly.
Now consider the faith of the faithless. I would think that someone who claims to have
faith in God, yet never spends time with Him or talks to Him or consults Him, they must
have a great deal of faith in Him--for it would seem that they believe that He will always
be there, even though they act most often as though they do not care that He is there.
They come to Him only when they are in some kind of trouble, and feel confident that He
will be there to hear them. What is amazing is that their faith may indeed be stronger
than some who believe that God will turn His back on them if they have messed up just once
after doing "all the right things." for so long.
But the difference is this: the one still trusts God, while the other has been trusting
their works. But neither have really trusted God--have they? For one believes that God
will be there even though they are unfaithful to Him, while the other believes that God
remains with them because of what they do. With one there is a faith without a sign of
that faith; while the other produces signs of a faith that is not real. One places faith
in his faith, and the other places faith in his works.
If we have faith in God, then we will entrust Him with our lives and we won't look over
His shoulder (if that were possible) to see that He is handling things all right. We
instead leave it in His capable hands. It is a sign of our faith to Him and to others,
when it is seen that we do not worry or fret about the things of this life. As we do not
become anxious where others might, we demonstrate that we truly trust God to handle things
and give us guidance that is good and wise. But to do otherwise is as silly as the picture
it paints--for can you imagine yourself trying to look over God's shoulder to see that He
is doing His job? Kind of ridiculous, isn't it?