James 2:5 “Be rich in faith.” Why does God want us to be rich in faith? The Bible tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. And, we are told by Jesus in God’s Word that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.
So often we want to be rich in gold, silver, money or any other material thing, but we know that these things do not last and they soon fly away as we are told in the book of Proverbs: “He who trust in his riches will fall.” (Proverbs 11:28) But the man who is rich in faith has his needs met, has rest as well as peace in his soul, because he knows as we are told in first Peter that we have an inheritance waiting for us that will last throughout all of eternity. However, do we believe?
1 Peter chapter 1, we see Peter describing our inheritance that has been laid up for us in heaven and that is incorruptible, undefiled and does not fade away. In reading this passage of Scripture a question came to my mind: What is faith? I know that when we ask that question we often go to Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen.” But when I asked that question immediately God brought into my mind that faith is simply acting and obeying the Word of God. God says it! That does it!
I was ministering to a brother who was experiencing great fear that had descended upon him. We know that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, of power and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 2:7) In ministering to the brother it brought home my own testimony of when God was calling me to go and preach. I thought that God had made a terrible mistake since the one thing that I hated in school, perhaps more than anything else, was public speaking and yet God was calling me to a ministry of preaching.
However, I took God at His Word, quit my engineer schooling and went away to a Christian college in order to gain some understanding of the Word of God. I had many opportunities to go and preach, but I turned them all down using the excuse that I was not ready. God had given me the promise in Matthew 18:20 “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” I sensed in my spirit that the next opportunity that God would give me to preach – I had better obey. This I did and I still remember after all these years sitting in the chair waiting to be called to the pulpit reminding myself: “Father, You said You would be with me, You said You would be with me….” If He was with me I could certainly not feel it. When the call came I went to the pulpit in obedience and when I opened my mouth it seemed as if the Holy Spirit had taken over. I sat down thinking that was probably the shortest sermon that congregation ever had, but was surprised to find that 45 minutes had gone by.
The verse that God gave me to help me overcome this fear of public speaking was 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” The phrase “perfect in love” spoke to me. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” In other words, BE OBEDIENT! Perfect love and perfect obedience go together like the two sides of the same coin.
It wasn’t until I obeyed God and going to the pulpit opening my mouth to speak (being obedient) that God took over. The fear of public speaking had been conquered. Glory to God!