James 1:4 "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."
I talk a lot about faith. But there's another force that goes along with it that's just as important. It's patience—the ability to stand fast on the Word of God even when your victory seems slow in coming.
Patience is not automatic. It won't go to work unless you let it go to work. So many people don't understand that. They somehow think faith and patience will go to work for them without their help. They just let the devil tear their lives apart and then they say silly things like, "Well, I guess God sent that trial to strengthen my faith."
Don't you ever get caught saying that!
In the first place, James 1:13 says, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God." And in the second place, that trial isn't going to make your faith stronger. In fact, it'll destroy it if you'll let it.
If I were to give you a set of weights, would that set of weights make you any stronger? No. As a matter of fact, if you dropped one of them on your foot, you could end up painfully weaker. It's what you do with them that counts, right?
Well, the same thing is true when you run into some kind of trying circumstance the devil's brought your way. If you just lay down and let it run over you, it will damage you. But if you'll let patience have her perfect work, if you'll remain consistently constant, trusting in and relying confidently on the Word of God, you'll end up perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
"Wanting nothing." That phrase alone should convince you that patience is no consolation prize. It's a first-rate power that will put the promises of God within your reach. It's a force that will make a winner out of you.
While you are waiting don't just do nothing—make your confession and act out your faith. It will come to pass.
John 1:4-5 "In Him was Life and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it."
Whenever things around you get dark and you feel the devil is about to overpower you, remember this: You have the Light of the world in you, and try as they may, all the forces of hell can't put it out!
Even when you're at your weakest, even when you feel like the light within you is small, the devil's darkness is no match for you.
Let me show you what I mean. Imagine for a moment that you're in a large auditorium that has no windows or doors to let in outside light. The place is so black you can't see anything—not even your hand in front of your face. There's nothing around you but complete darkness!
Now, imagine one little lightning bug flying around that auditorium. Every eye in there would turn toward it. As small as that little light is in comparison to the great darkness around it, you would still be able to see it. That massive blackness wouldn't be able to do a thing to shut off that bug. Everywhere he flew, the darkness would just have to yield. It would always be dispelled by his light.
When the circumstances around you begin to get black and you're tempted to despair, think about that lightning bug. Meditate on the fact that Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, is in you. When the revelation of that hits you, you'll never again let the darkness back you into a corner. You'll start chasing it down—overcoming it with your light!
Greater is He that is in you than he (the devil) that is in the world
Romans 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
In my years of ministry, I've seen people who will learn a little about faith and put it into practice. But when they don't get instant results, they sometimes get discouraged. They begin to think they just don't have the kind of faith that people in the Bible had.
If that's happened to you, let me assure you, God hasn't shortchanged you. You have everything it takes to live by faith!
The Word says God has given every man "among you"—or every believer—the measure of faith.
That means He deposited the same measure of faith inside you that He deposited in me—and every believer on earth. It's a force inside your spirit that's just as much a part of you as the juices in your stomach that digest your food. It's as real inside your spirit as your brain is inside your head.
No "new creature" was ever created with half a faith. Someone might have some kind of deformity in his or her body, but no one has any deformity in his born-again spirit. Everybody's newborn spirit has faith in it. And that faith increases as it hears and receives the Word of God.
It doesn't matter who you are, where you are or what you are. If you have made Jesus Lord of your life, you have more faith capacity in you than Jairus had when he directed Jesus toward his daughter (Mark 5).
You have more faith capacity in you than the woman with the issue of blood had when her touch brought Jesus to a halt in the middle of the road.
Your faith is the very same faith Jesus has. He is the Author of your faith.
Has God changed? No. Never has. Never will. So if Jairus...and the woman on the road...and Bartimaeus...and the leper...and the two blind men could receive from the Anointing of Jesus, so can you. You already have in you all the faith you'll ever need. If there is weakness, it is in the development and the release of that faith.
Speak the Word: God has dealt to me the measure of faith. My faith grows more and more as I hear the Word.
1 John 4:4 "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
"Under the circumstances..." Have you ever caught yourself using that phrase? Like, "I suppose I'm doing pretty well, under the circumstances."
If you've ever said something like that, I want you to kick those words out of your vocabulary right now. Because you, as a victorious child of God, don't have any business living your life "under" your circumstances. You don't have any business letting problems and situations rule over you.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus--the One Who is in you—ransacked Satan's kingdom. Through His death at Calvary, He legally entered the regions of the damned and stripped Satan of everything.
He took away all his armor. He took the keys to death and hell. He bound that strong man, looted his kingdom, and, the book of Colossians says, "He spoiled principalities and powers and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them."
Then Jesus turned around and gave that victory to you. YOU are of God. Remember that! You have overcome through Jesus because He lives in you. You never have to live "under" the circumstances again!
Confession: I have the wisdom of God I have great faith. I praise the Lord in the morning, the evening and I praise Him at night. I will praise my way to victory.
James 5:15 "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."
Many people have been praying for years and are in the same boat they were in when they first began praying. Things haven't changed at all. Some people have been praying for forty years, and it seems they're no nearer to the answer now than when they first began praying.
I am not belittling prayer, because prayer is important. But prayer alone will not save your spirit or heal your body. Some people have been praying all their lives and are still not saved. You see, some people imagine that if they can get enough people to pray, God will answer them. Many have prayed for years and received no answer. Well, there is a reason why.
You see, if they had prayed in faith, they would have gotten an answer. And if they had prayed in faith, they wouldn't have prayed so long! Praying alone will not get the job done. Speaking your prayer and acting it out brings the answers. You can pray for people to get saved and that is necessary, but someone also has to witness. Will someone get saved today, because you prayed and witnessed. I hope so. Everyone is called to pray for the sick and the unsaved, but then they must do something about it.
Confession: When I pray, I pray in faith. I don't pray in doubt. I act on my prayers, and I receive answers to my prayers.
Hebrews 4:9-11 "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God...Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
God's rest. Considering the hectic, busy lives you and I live that sounds like a pretty good thing to have, doesn't it? But exactly what is that rest? And how do we enter it?
Hebrews 3-4 compares God's rest with the children of Israel taking possession of the Promised Land. That land was to be a place where their every need would be met, a place of freedom from their warring enemies, a place no one would ever drive them from again. All they had to do was go in and possess it. But something kept them from it: unbelief and disobedience.
As believers, we too, have the opportunity to enter a Promised Land of abundance and peace. A land where we can rest from our struggles and enjoy the victory of God. To enter it we must do what the children of Israel failed to do. We must simply trust God and obey His voice.
How do you come to that place of trust and obedience? By getting to know your Father. By spending time fellow-shipping with Him in prayer and in the Word. That is the labor that will bring you into His rest! Learn the principles of faith, strive hard to do them. It will seem hard to keep doubt and unbelief out of your heart.
One day, I began to labor to know the Father instead of just knowing about Him. When I did that, He began to reveal Himself to me. He gave me glimpses of His heart, His nature and His love. As He revealed to me how much He wanted to do for His children, it changed my striving into peace, my doubt into trust, my fear into bold obedience. It enabled me to enter His rest.
Get to know your Father. Work at it. Make it your "labor." He has a Promised Land of rest that is waiting for you!
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Confession: I will think on things that are praiseworthy. Faith always has a good report.
Colossians 1:9-10 That ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.
It is dangerous for Spirit-filled Christians living under the New Covenant to put out fleeces. This fleece business is in the realm where Satan is god. (see 2 Corinthians 4:4)
When people pray, "God, if You want me to do this, then have this happen," that's a fleece. And Satan can move in the sense realm. But God has a better way of leading His children than by this hit-and-miss method of fleeces!
If you pray, "God do this or that, then I will know it is you," you will open the door to the devil and you could be in a bad situation. You need to know the Word, pray the word, and stand on the word. Find the promises and pray them; don't pray "If it is your will..."
Confession: I pray that I might be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that I might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, fruitful in every good work; and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you."
To receive guidance, some people put out what they call a "fleece" before the Lord. The New Testament, however, does not say, "As many as are led by fleeces, they are the sons of God." (see Romans 8:14)
Yes," someone may say, "but Gideon put out a fleece back in the Old Testament."
Why go back under the Old Covenant? We've got something better under the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was for spiritually dead people. I'm not spiritually dead; I'm alive! I've got the Spirit of God in me!
Remember, Gideon was not a prophet, priest, or king. Only men who stood in those three offices, under the Old Covenant, were anointed by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God was not personally present with the rest of the people. That is why every male had to present himself once a year at the Temple in Jerusalem.
The Shekinah glory— the Presence of God— was kept shut up in the Holy of Holies. But when Jesus died on Calvary, the curtain that blocked the way into the Holy of Holies was ripped in two from top to bottom. God moved out, and he has never dwelled in an earth-made house since! He dwells in us!
Confession: God's Spirit dwells in me! He is the Greater One, and He dwells in me!
Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Have you ever been frustrated with the weaknesses of your flesh? Have you ever resolved never more to yield to a particular sin, yet when the temptation came, you fell right back into it?
It's happened to all of us. Even the disciple Peter. He swore he would never deny Jesus...but he did it anyway, time and time and time again. There is something we can do to keep from falling prey to temptations like that. We can "watch and pray." That's what Jesus told Peter and the other disciples to do in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He knew they were about to be tempted, and He knew that the weakness of their flesh would overcome them if they didn't strengthen their spirit through prayer. That's true for you and me, too. That's why in Jude 20-21, God tells us much the same thing that Jesus told the disciples that night. He says, "But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith...praying in the Holy Spirit: Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God."
God knows even better than we do that our flesh has been trained to flow with the world's stream. He knows that even though our born-again spirits are reaching for Him, our untrained flesh will always have a tendency to fall into sin. So He's given us the ability to pray in other tongues, to strengthen our spirit and build it up until it takes ascendancy over our flesh. As we pray in the spirit, Romans 8:26 tells us, the "(Holy) Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf."
Is it any wonder the Apostle Paul said, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all! (1 Corinthians 14:18) It is one of the most powerful tools God has given us. So don't neglect to use it. Follow the instruction in Ephesians 6:18 and pray "always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit...watching thereunto with all perseverance."
Don't make the mistake that Peter made. When temptation comes to your door, don't let it catch you sleeping. Be prepared. Make sure your spirit is strong enough to rise above it.
Confession: I pray in the spirit more than anyone I know. I pray in the spirit so that my spirit man is healthy and strong. And so am I!
The Daily Bread
A devotional to equip, exhort, motivate and feed your spirit.
Pastor Larry Smoot is Senior Pastor of Church on the Rock in Stafford County, Virginia.