Throughout my life anxiety has always been a friend and a foe. As a friend, anxiety has, in the past, motivated me to get things done now, sooner, rather than later. Anxiety has also been my worst enemy, preventing me from thinking straight, causing me to not do as well I could and should.
I have decided to break up with anxiety and to walk by faith.
A recent reflection on the following verses in the epistle of James 1:3-4, is supporting my decision.
Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.
Walking by faith is not without its challenges. Faith comes with testing and patience. But the good news is that the result of persistent faith is abundance.
Faith, waiting and patience
Faith is being sure that what God has promised, although not yet seen or received, will become reality. It’s that confident knowing, while waiting on God. Hebrews 11:1
Waiting with patience is the test of our faith.
Are we prepared to hold on to that confident knowing that God will deliver on His promise while we wait?
There is a difference between waiting and patience.
Waiting, like patience involves passing time with the expectation of an outcome.
Patience is the attitude we have while we wait.
Patience requires fortitude to continue waiting with unwavering expectancy that God will fulfill His promise. Therein lies the test.
As James says, living in patience leads us to spiritual maturity and inner peace, from which comes abundant blessings. We become complete and lacking nothing. Put another way, we receive the spiritual resources to live lives that are satisfying to God and to ourselves.
Abundance from the testing of my faith
My own experience with the testing of my faith has taught me valuable lessons, which have led me to choose patient waiting in faith over living with anxiety.
During a prolonged job search, I held on to Jesus’s promise to answer our prayers John 14:13 . I also accepted God’s promise to be faithful to take care of me Deuteronomy 7:9. Patience with the job search was challenging, but throughout the process I learned how to nurture and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23
- During that time, I was led to opportunities to participate in the prison ministry. I was amazed at how God working through me enabled me to act with the fruits of the Holy Spirit – to be loving, kind, good and gentle to people who others would consider unworthy.
- When I did eventually find employment, I was confident in God’s faithfulness to support me as I serve others through my job. I learned through patiently waiting for the answer to my prayers during my job search, that God is always faithful, giving me everything I need to live and to serve Him.
From these experiences I learned that I have more than enough God-given resources, so much so that I can share His goodness with others. This, I believe, is the abundance to which James refers, which is the result of patience doing its perfect work in us.
To sum it up: walk by faith, live in abundance
Faith is the antidote to fear.
We must ask God for more faith so that we may live life abundantly, as Jesus promises us. That said, to have more faith, we must do our part. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. To increase our faith, we must spend time in Bible study to understand and embrace God’s promises. See Romans 10:17.
Patience is the antidote to anxiety.
Anxiety is worry about a future outcome that may or may not happen. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Surrendering to the wisdom of God’s timing is patience in action and cancels the tendency to become anxious. To do this, we must ask the Holy Spirit to prevail and guide our behavior while we wait in unwavering expectancy.
Advent is a time of expectancy.
Advent is a time of waiting with the expectation that the coming of Jesus Christ brings hope and transformation in us and through us to the world.
As we patiently wait, let us ask for more faith from God to nurture in us the abundant growth of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, so that we may bring abundant blessings of God’s hope, peace, joy and love to the world.
Christ in me, the hope of glory. That’s why glory matters.