There is nothing greater in God’s eyes than a believer whose faith is real, authentic. Hence, a genuine faith!
The Apostle Paul spent considerable time writing to congregations full of impostors and hypocrites. Paul said to Timothy: “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). This verse reminds us that a genuine—or sincere—faith is something that can be passed down.
A beautiful legacy!
Here’s the thing: a faith like this – a genuine faith – is sure to bring a smile to God’s face, inspire others, and bear true witness to the Savior.
As we seek to model a genuine faith, let’s look at three mandates that appear in the Book of James.
To model a genuine faith, we need to…
1. Persevere in trials!
The Greek word for perseverance is “hypmonen” and means, “patient endurance.”
James writes: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial” (James 1:12).
The Bible tells us that we “are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). We are to point the way to Jesus. But our trials—our struggles, pain and hurt—can certainly keep us from letting that light shine.
Calling on His Name, thanking Him for what’s He’s done, speaking gentle words, trusting Him in each situation, fixing our eyes on Jesus, and staying positive instead of grumbling and complaining, are definite ways to persevere in the trial.
When this behavior becomes a consistent response to trials, we develop godly character (Romans 5:4); our faith matures (James 1:4); God’s blessing is poured out on us (James 1:12); and one day we will receive “the crown of life” (James 1:12). Now, aren’t these amazing reasons to strive for perseverance? In the end, we become a poster child for genuine faith.
2. Resist and flee temptation!
James also writes: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Satan knows us well. He cannot read our minds, but he watches us ever so precisely. He knows exactly what will push our buttons or draw us in. No one is exempt from his temptations.
One of the best ways to measure if we are being lured by temptation in our actions is to ask questions like: Does this bring glory to God? Does it make me joyful? Does it feel right, or is there a check in my spirit? Does this match up with Scripture?
The best thing we can do is not give Satan one more advantage. Resist him and he will flee.
3. Earnestly obey the Word!
James writes: “Don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says” (James 1:22).
A couple summers ago, my husband and I boarded a cruise ship to begin a week-long journey through Greece. On the first day all the passengers were required to gather, with their life vests on, for instructions in case of an emergency. Five languages were represented on our ship; therefore, the training seemed to take forever. This was irritating because I wanted to explore the boat, rather than stand in one place for over an hour getting hot and sweaty, and unable to understand the other languages. I hate to admit it, but I tuned the instructor out. And with an attitude, I might add.
Isn’t that how we often treat the Word of God? We hear it, but do we listen?
The word listens in James 1:23 (NIV) is translated “hears” in other Bible versions. The word intently used in James 1:25 means: “to bend over, look into, desire to learn.” In other words, it’s easy to go to church, participate in Bible study, read the Bible, and say God’s Word out loud. But this passage in James is sure to point out that listening is what God is looking for.
Listening requires action, obedience.
Listening shows God how serious we are about His Word.
If you would like to explore your faith deeper, then please consider working through our Fearless Faith Bible study. You can find it at the top of this blog under “Bible studies.”
Love and Blessings,