Greetings (after too long a wait).
We are all engaged in a spiritual battle regardless of whether or not we want to be. One thing God has truly been teaching me over the last few months has been that, if we want to win this fight, we have to really understand which part we play in the victory and which part God plays. Too often we try to take control of something we're not supposed to take control of, or we try to make God do everything when, in reality, we have more of a part to play then we think.
When we realize what part each of us plays in this picture, that's when we come upon the true meaning of one of those "buzzwords" that we think we understand, but we may really not understand at all: faith.
Faith is trusting that God will keep us and lead us through whatever comes. But, sometimes, we think this means not doing anything and letting God do everything. This is not an accurate picture of what faith is; if it was, then there would be no distinction between those who believe and trust in God and those who simply believe but go no further.
On the other hand, sometimes we think that faith is doing everything we can to do what God wants us to do. We say, "My faith is shown by how I act, and if I fail You, then my faith has failed." Again, this is an inaccurate picture of what faith is, because it does not include what God does in the situation.
Faith is trusting that God will guide us out of whatever situation we might be in, and acting accordingly. It is not the action of our faith that saves us, but the action of our faith does demonstrate whether or not we are truly trusting in God to be God. If we are not living according to how God wants us to live, or acting like how he would want us to act in the trial we're facing, this is sure evidence that we are really not trusting God at all.
I was praying last night, and God gave me a picture of what faith looks like. It's like being in a dense fog, and seeing a rope be thrown toward you. But faith is not the rope, for the rope does no good if you just stand there and stare at it. Faith is grabbing the rope and believing that someone will pull you out.
I'll give you an example: say you need a financial miracle. You trust God that he will provide miraculously what you need. But it is unlikely that you will see any miraculous sign if you sit around all day and do nothing. You have to work hard, whether at an actual job or at just living life and loving the people around you. This shows that you're not worried about whether God will come through or not, but that you are trusting that He will provide and you are living accordingly.
Now, as I said before, we are in a spiritual battle that is deeper than what we see or feel. Every decision we make either demonstrates that we trust in a God who has already won the battle, or shows that we may believe that the victory is still up for grabs. The thing that we forget sometimes, however, is that the battle rages on all the time, not just in the trials. Even the times of plenty and goodness are times in which the battle still rages.
This is why faith is so important. It shows that we trust God that he has already won in every situation, and that we live accordingly. This is what James was talking about when he said that faith without works is dead. Faith is grabbing the rope when it is thrown to you, not just expecting that someone will tie it around your leg and pull. Faith is what takes us from simply believing in God to trusting completely in Him, and then living like that.
This, however, does not mean that we have to be have perfect faith in order to be saved. That's not the point; if our perfect faith could save us, then salvation through Christ Jesus would be unnecessary. But as a Christian, we should be striving daily to trust God more and give God glory in everything we do. Remember, this is the reason why Jesus came and died for us: so that we can have this faith and be able to glorify God in everything we do.
So remember, when you find yourself in the dense fog (whatever it may be), grab the rope!