Wednesday, June 02, 2004

[Out of Turn] James 1:5-6

At the suggestion of anonymous, who does most of the commenting here (I can't complain, I'm staying anonymous myself), I have skipped ahead and read James 1:5-6, which deals with the concept of faith.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Passages like this comforted me when I was younger, and, I believe, less wise. I remember being six years old, and being told that a person who dies while wearing a brown scapular will go straight to heaven. The exact quote was "Whoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire." I believed every word. Did that faith save me? Could it have? Was I free to blaspheme and sin, even kill people, as long as I was wearing that key to heaven around my neck?

Looking back, the concept was absurd. But I had faith in it. I wore that thing to bed. I wore it to school. I wore it to basketball and soccer and baseball practices. I wore it until it fell off my neck. And when that happened, I was horrified, because I knew that if something were to happen to me before I could get another scapular, I'd have to get into heaven the old-fashioned way, with good works, repentance and the mercy of the Lord.

Another commentor wrote that I need to seek advice from someone in my church. I am afraid to do this. I value the love and community I share with my church. But I am not sure I believe all that they believe. And I am dearly afraid that, if I even express my doubts, I will be a pariah. I do not want that.

No, if I am going to speak to someone, I'm afraid it will have to be someone from another church, in another town, who doesn't know me, and doesn't know my name, and doesn't know my congregation. Because the question I am asking is a question that the people in my church dare never ask. In essence, it boils down to this: is my Bible (New King James version) God's roadmap to everlasting life, or is it just a brown scapular? And if it is just a brown scapular, where is the right map? I want faith, but not just blind faith. I also want confidence.
The simple believes every word,
But the prudent considers well his steps. (Proverbs 14:15)
I'm trying to consider well my steps. It isn't easy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out - a blogging pastor and a community where it's OK to doubt.

If you cannot seek advice from someone in your church, can you seek advice from another church? You are not alone in this doubt. 100% human faith is just as impossible as 100% human love.

June 2, 2004 at 5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're still trying to save yourself by your faith in something other than Jesus. The Gospel message is that God has already done everything necessary for you to be saved. All you need is faith as small as a mustard seed to be saved. "Believe the gospel" as Jesus said in Mark 1:15

I too wore a scapular as a kid. I was baptised and confirmed as a child. But I wasn't truly saved until I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was 18. And I didn't even really know I was saved until I finally understood the Gospel message when I was 40 something. But now I have full assurance I am saved and that assurance fills my life with the Holy Spirit, who continually reminds me what is pleasing to the one who provided for my salvation.

God loves you too much and you are too precious to Him to let your salvation hinge on your own efforts -- including your effort to believe.
But once you are saved on the condition of your belief that Jesus has done what is required to save you, it is God's continual testing of your faith that forces you to be transformed into the image of His Son.

I'll bet what you are experiencing now is that testing -- just as James 1:2-6 speaks of.

June 2, 2004 at 6:38 AM  
Blogger Rong said...

Another pastor who has a blog is he's a PCA pastor in Glen Burnie, MD. I've chatted with him a few times and he is a very personable guy.

June 4, 2004 at 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article! Thanks.

August 18, 2007 at 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for interesting article.

August 18, 2007 at 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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September 10, 2007 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Dudesup said...

Don't see why you wouldn't be able to speak to your pastor but that's your business. But if it is an issue with you not finding easy to talk to or just not helpful, something along those line, you may wish to find a different pastor.

Jsut wondering but where in that passage did you get the impression that if you put faith in something you would be ok? That passage tells you to put faith in something, and warns against the danger of doubting.

I would like to point out though that it does not say, "do not doubt or you will be smitten without a chance to be saved," it just says that if you don't but your faith in something and stand your ground when people try to shake your faith, then you will move around from thing to thing. Unsure about where to go, staying with one idea or belief for only a short time before moving again.That is until you find something else to put your faith in.

As for where to put your faith listen to good old Proverbs(the "Book of Wisdom"). But mainly 3:5-7 if are looking for a quick answer.

Hope this helps,

January 26, 2009 at 7:57 PM  

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