Applying James 2 to Your Dreams
We all have dreams and desires that God has put in our hearts, yet we still see them unfulfilled. We are quick to blame it on the enemy, circumstances, or other issues standing in our way. Then we hear someone quote a verse from James 2 stating, “Faith without works is dead.”
They are quick to cite story after story about someone’s faith and the remarkable exploits of the Bible. Perhaps we read some faith-inspiring book or blog or watch some video telling us repeatedly the stories of someone else faith. It was their faith in what God had called them to do that led them to do it. Hebrews eleven is filled with the names, deeds, and outcomes of these people.
God’s Plan, Not Ours
I have had many big dreams all of my life, and I have had many prophetic words spoken to remind me of those ideas, plans, callings, and desires. They were not delusions in my mind. God had spoken. The problem was I sat in the boat too long. Jesus told Peter to get out of the boat. For years I kept hearing “get out of the boat.”
Peter got out of the boat and walked on water briefly. Scripture tells us that it was Peter’s lack of faith that caused him to sink. Matthew 14: 22-33 explains that Peter saw the wind and sank.
It was God’s plan for Abraham to be an ‘exalted father of many peoples. ‘ It was his plan for Peter to not just walk on water but by faith do great exploits. His plan for the disciples and all who would call themselves disciples since then is to walk with Him by faith.
I sat in the boat, and when I finally stepped out, I complained or whined when things started getting rough. I knew I was called to greatness and turn the world upside down. I set out to be a history maker. But what happened? Oh, I forgot that it was His plan, not man. I had faith, but I lacked initiative, and when I finally moved forward,d I had missed the opportunity. But it is still not too late.
Peter sank in the water, big deal! You and I have fallen many times. Did we quit? No, we are still here. I have faced many adversities only to see God bring my family and me through. But we had to learn some hard lessons. The stories of the Bible don’t include all of the setbacks that our heroes of old faced.
Consider that Abraham had to get permission from Sarah to take Isaac up to Moriah. Maybe she nagged him, but Abraham faced many questions along the way, and probably some relative stood in the way. Perhaps he didn’t bring enough food or other provisions. The point is we don’t know what he was challenged with, but he got up and got going.
Perhaps you are like me, and you had a vision for something and tried to think it through and figure it out. Faith requires immediate obedience. If God gives you a world-shaking idea or ministry, it won’t happen overnight. It requires the first step. Start with a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name for your neighbor or the co-worker who despises you.
Or, if you are called to preach the gospel, start by teaching the sixth graders at your church or take out the trash.
Partnering Not Doing
We are called to partner with the Holy Spirit in carrying out what Jesus is asking us to do. When he told Peter to ‘feed my sheep’ he knew Peter was weak and needed a lot of help. Peter’s job was to believe and obey. That is our job too. We don’t say ‘how do you want me to do what you called me to do’ but rather ‘Jesus, I am partnering with you, you do it through me.’ He does this by giving us a simple plan. He does things with excellence and purity. We tend to add to it or take away from what he said.
By not obeying Him precisely as He said, we are doing it ourselves, and it is no longer faith. Faith with works means that we are Jesus’ feet and hands. He knows what He wants to do and how to do it. We tend to use excuses like Moses or the Children of Israel. I have done a lot of things, and I have met with opposition. I didn’t quit, but I kept praying and did exactly what He said, and things turned out rather well.
When we partner with Him and not just do something, we are walking in faith and operating from a place of rest. Faith requires us to walk in rest, the kind of rest that He intended for all of humanity to live in all along.
Way back in the nineties, I knew I was supposed to write a book or two. As of this writing, I have just begun a couple with many ideas floating around. I only started blogging in 2018 to write a book eventually. Before that, I studied the Word and wrote many notes. I journaled and wrote dreams, visions, and interpretations of them. I documented the highs and lows of my life and my prophetic journey,
As I look back, even in my ‘doing,’ I finally came to the place of partnering. Faith caused me to create this blog, and as I take ‘action,’ I will do other things. That action now flows from a place of rest. I cannot be led by fear or doubt or the results of my efforts. If no one ever reads what I wrote or is changed for the better, it is sad, but at least I stepped out and obeyed.
What About You?
Are you doing something that you never thought you would ever do? Do the desires of your heart seem distant? When we are young, we have many beautiful desires but family, careers, and the stuff of life can pull us off course. Still, if you are raising a family or just living one day at a time, then you are further along than you may realize. You will never fly an airplane without taking lessons or learn Hebrew without signing up. Yeah, I waited and made many excuses why I couldn’t learn Hebrew, but now in my fifties, I am learning it. I’m not focusing on the difficulty or where the money will come from because I know it was a God-given desire.
Are you in school? Are you studying what you feel God called you to do? Or are you doing what you need to do so you can have a big house, cars, cash, and all of the other things we so often think we need to enjoy life? If you dream of your own business, there are many ways to be an entrepreneur without going into debt. You will never know unless you ‘get out of the boat.’
You may want to open a restaurant, then wait on tables, or start cooking some of grandma’s best recipes. It can turn into many opportunities.
It takes a step or two to get it started, but one day you will look back and see that baby steps of faith have turned into giant leaps of faith. Begin today accomplishing what He has called you to do by partnering with Him and take the first step.
I pray that when you get out of the boat that you will keep your eyes on Jesus and not the adversities that come your way. Rejoice that God is working in your faith.