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Wed, Aug 12, 1998

13 - Faith-Rest Drill

James 1:6 by Robert Dean
Series:James (1998)
Duration:1 hr 1 mins 33 secs

Faith-Rest Drill
James 1:6

We have started looking at the faith-rest drill because that is the background for verses 5 and 6 in James chapter one. You hit a test of faith, You are not quite sure what to do, how to handle it; you lack wisdom. Wisdom here is not the sophisticated wisdom of the Gentiles, it is not abstract knowledge, it has to do with the application knowledge of the Word of God, EPIGNOSIS in the right lobe of the soul. "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God." "Ask" brings in the category of prayer. What do we know about the answer to prayer? That God is the one who gives to all men generously and without reproach. That is grace; that is what we can rely on. That brings in the fourth problem-solving device. Prayer has to have some element of grace orientation because you know that if you ask of God He is going to give it to you—generously and without reproach. There is no bargaining there, no sense of legalism. There is nothing that God requires of us in order to provide the answer. The concept in that verse is that if any of us needs doctrine to handle situations in life God out of His justice, His fairness, His love for us and children of God, will provide generously and without reproach, and it will be given. That is a promise we can memorize and can apply in the midst of testing.

Then there is a contrast in verse 6 to further emphasize what has to take place in the asking. "Let him ask by means of faith"—EN [e)n] plus the dative of PISTIS [pistij], with faith, trust, confidence in someone, specifically in God, that He will do what He has said He will do. In contrast, faith is on the one hand, doubting is on the other. Notice that the Bible says that it is going to be one or the other. Either you are going to be trusting God and His promises or you are going to be doubting God, one or the other. If you are in the first category then, God says, you are stable. Stability comes from developing that fortress around your soul. If you are a doubter God says you are unstable, instability is what characterizes your life and you are on the path to becoming a neurotic and psychotic Christian because you do not understand that the only stability comes from using divine solutions in facing problems. Underlying asking by means of faith is the faith-rest drill.

When we look at the faith-rest drill it goes back to the earliest stages of the Old Testament. We are told in Scripture about Abraham. In Romans 4:20, 21 the apostle Paul said:  NASB "yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith [e)n + dative of pistij, the doctrine that was in his soul], giving glory to God, and being fully assured [fully confident; no doubt] that what God had promised, He was able also to perform." Abraham is the stable believer of James 1:6. He had faith without any doubting. The active sense of Abraham's faith was his trust in God to take care of him, but there is the passive sense, i.e. what is believed. He believed certain doctrines about the Lord, that He loved him, He would take care of him, that he had the power and ability to do that, that God would eventually take him some place and that he was going to trust Him. So it has to do with the doctrine also that Abraham believed. It was doctrine that Abraham was applying, he used the faith-rest drill as a problem-solving device.

Abraham was followed by Joseph. Joseph never wavered in unbelief, never expressed doubt but grew strong also by means of faith. At the end of his life as he was dying he was talking to his brothers and the rest of his family who had come from Israel and were now in Egypt, and he said: "I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you." What is he saying? God made a promise to Abraham, and said that there would be more numbers in Abraham's seed than all the stars of the sky and sand of the sea. If God made a promise to Abraham like that, and by now there was only about 140 of them, then there is a long way to go. So God is going to take care of them. He drew a conclusion from that, that God had a future for the nation Israel and for the descendants of Abraham, and that God would not go back on His Word that He had promised initially to Abraham, that He had reiterated to Isaac, and then restated again to Jacob. So Joseph said: "I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob." That is the faith-rest drill.

Moses understood the principle, Joshua understood it when he followed what must have sounded like crazy instructions from God to march around the walls of Jericho, blast on a trumpet and have the walls fall down. But he rusted God in spite of the fact that it ran against any human viewpoint wisdom and God gave him victory there and in every other battle where they followed the instructions of the Lord. At the end of Joshua's life he challenged the nation with the following great statement: "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

David is another classic example of the faith-rest drill. David has been anointed by Samuel and is back in obscurity back with the sheep. [Gap in tape] ….. David went out to face Goliath with nothing but a slingshot and five stones. Before he fought he said: "The battle is the Lord's." That is the issue. When we have testing of faith the issue is, are we willing to say the battle is the Lord's? That reflects our faith-rest attitude. The faith-rest drill goes from hero to hero throughout the Old Testament. Those men were visible heroes, but in the church age in which we live, this is the unique age of all of human history, for every single believer is an invisible hero. You are designed to be just as much if not more a hero as David, Moses, or anyone in the Old Testament. God has given each one of us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ an array of spiritual assets that go far beyond anything that these Old Testament heroes ever had. And to whom much is given, much is also expected.  

2 Peter 1:3, 4 NASB "seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these [His attributes] he has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of {the} divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust." In other words, by choosing the spiritual way instead of the sin nature way we are going to pursue spiritual maturity so that the character of God [partaker of the divine nature], the character of Christ, is exemplified in us because we are going to transform our thinking and have our character transformed to be like Christ. This is something available to every single believer. God does not holds anything against us. The point is that at the moment we trust Christ as our savior God gives every one of us the Holy Spirit and we have Bible doctrine available. The Holy Spirit is our teacher. He is the one who makes the teaching of the Word clear to us.

The basic technique is mixing faith with promises. Hebrews 4:1-3 NASB "Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, "AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST," although His works were finished from the foundation of the world." Think about this. If you saw the miracle that they saw take place, how would you respond to God? They rejected God's grace provision time and time again because they were not positive to doctrine. They kept hungering for the leaks and the garlic of Egypt. The doctrine Moses taught did not profit them. They are complaining the whole way, they are not listening to God, and they don't want to relax in God's provision. Instead they are converting all of that outside adversity into stress in the soul and they miss His rest. Rest means to relax in the provision of God and not try to figure out that you are the one who has to solve all the problems, but that God has given you the solution.

Stage one of the faith-rest drill means that we have to relax in the promises of God. 2 Corinthians 5:7 NASB "for we walk by faith, not by sight." What is the focus of faith? Faith always has an object, and that is the Word of God, believing the promises of God. That means you have to know something. You can't apply what you don't know. You can't know when you don't take the time, the energy, the effort, the concentration and the discipline to learn. Nothing you learn in life that is of any value comes easily. David said: "Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it." First, faith claims a promise. You have to know the promises. Secondly, it applies. This is a passive aspect. This is where you rest and relax. The active aspect is where you do whatever the promise says you are supposed to do, e.g. "Cast all your care upon Him." That means quit worrying about it. Third, faith takes control of the situation. When faith takes control the result is rest, relaxation, calm. We begin to get a glimpse of what inner happiness is all about.

Stage two of the faith-rest drill is reaches doctrinal rationales. What happens in a doctrinal rationale is that you begin to think about different principles of God's Word. A rationale is really taking two or three different principles and arranging them in the order of a premise and then reaching a conclusion. Basically: God is all-powerful, He is more powerful than any problem I will ever face, God loves me; therefore God can overpower this problem.