Night Vision

Dave Gifford

READ : James 1:5-8

I used to think of faith as a substance like electricity which one could have in greater or smaller quantities. I thought that if I clenched my fists and concentrated hard enough, I could somehow produce more faith inside of me. And if I could produce enough faith God would begin to answer my prayers.

The word “double-minded” in the reading hints at the true nature of unbelief, faith, and doubt. Unbelief lives by what it can see and touch here and now. Faith, on the other hand, tunes our minds to see reality the way God sees it, and responds accordingly. Like night vision goggles, it lets us see on a level hidden from ordinary sight. It believes in God’s mighty acts of the past, trusts God’s promises for the future, and walks by God’s invisible guidance in the present.

James’ doubter is “double-minded.” He has “bifocal vision.” He bounces back and forth between contradictory lifestyles. His prayers are not answered, no matter how hard he tries to produce faith within himself. This is because faith isn’t a self-generated energy that grows and intensifies. It is a commitment to live more consistently (faith- fully) by God-given night vision.


Lord, in this dark world help us live by the light of faith and not by the whims of a limited human perspective. Amen.