The apostle James challenges us to understand the connection between faith and obedience. In James 2:17, he writes that faith without works is dead. In other words, we cannot have unshakable beliefs without obeying.
Developing steadfast trust takes time. We are born spiritually through simple, childlike faith that receives Jesus as Savior. Convictions are nourished by a growing knowledge of God and a deepening confidence in Him. Experiencing His protection, provision, and power in moments of testing strengthens our beliefs. Each time Daniel’s loyalty was tested, he chose to depend on God. Sometimes the circumstances were thrust upon him—such as whether to eat food sacrificed to idols. At other times, he voluntarily initiated a difficult situation in order to help (Dan. 2:24). In each case, he followed God’s leading.
Hebrews 11 shows that obedience is critical to steadfast faith. Noah, when warned about things not seen, obeyed God and built the ark. At the Lord’s direction, Abraham left home to go to a place not yet known to him. The apostle Paul was planning to arrest Christians when he encountered the Savior. He did a complete turnaround—despite threats, beatings, and shipwrecks, he obeyed the Lord and preached the gospel.
Knowing and trusting God through His Son, experiencing His presence, and living obediently are the elements needed to develop an unshakable faith. Jesus Himself said that our work is to believe in Him (John 6:29). With the Holy Spirit’s help and our cooperation, each of us can have a Daniel-like faith.
Daniel had unshakable faith. His belief in the Lord sustained him when he was uprooted from his home, taken into captivity, and sent to a foreign country. It strengthened him as he served under four different kings and faced many challenges.
Knowing God and trusting Him are the two key elements of deep faith. Daniel, who was part of the Israelite nobility, apparently learned about the Lord from a young age. While he was in captivity, his words and actions demonstrated that he knew the Scriptures and wanted to obey God. When offered a meal that had been sacrificed to idols, he took a great risk by requesting other food. God caused the official to show favor to him (Dan. 1:5-9). Like Daniel, we are to spend our lives learning and carrying out what pleases our heavenly Father (Col. 1:10).
Not only did this young man know what the Scriptures said, but he also trusted God to do as He had promised. Every time Daniel took a stand for godliness, he was demonstrating his confidence in the Father. And his friends—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—had unwavering belief as well. They did not know for sure that the Lord would rescue them from the fiery furnace, but they trusted that He would do what was right (Dan. 3:16-18).
Barriers to unshakable faith include pride (I won’t admit I need God’s help), arrogance (I know a better way—I don’t have to ask God), and self-sufficiency (I can do it myself without His help). Which of these is keeping you from becoming a person of strong faith? Confess it and turn toward the Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
When plans are frustrated or life just seems to fall apart in some way, people often wonder, Has God deserted me? Why hasn’t He answered my prayers? The Bible offers encouragement for such times by assuring us of the Father’s faithfulness: “Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deut 7:9).
Five attributes of God make this possible. First, He is omniscient, which means He knows everything, including our every need, thought, frailty, desire, and life situation in the past, present, and future. Next, the Lord is omnipotent, or all-powerful, so nothing is too hard for Him (Jer. 32:17). Then, He is omnipresent–since He exists everywhere at once, He is never beyond reach.
In addition, our heavenly Father cannot lie. Everything that He says is true and reliable. And lastly, God is unchanging. Our circumstances and the world around us may seem to be in a constant state of flux, and the Lord may even modify the way He chooses to interact with mankind in different generations. But His character is always the same. So when Scripture tells us that God is faithful, we can rest confidently upon that promise.
Circumstances can be painful. But even when situations seem overwhelming, believers can trust that our sovereign Lord knows all, is in control, and lovingly works everything for His children’s good. We can rest confidently knowing that the unchanging God of all creation is taking care of us.