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“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” (James 2:22 NIV)
Faith causes action.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t work your way into heaven. Time and again, I’ve heard people say, “I’m a good person; isn’t that what matters most?” The truth is, none of us are good people. If you’re honest, sometimes the beneficial things we do for others benefit us more than they do them. All of us, at some time, have manipulated people. Did you ever tell your mom how pretty she looked (or some other compliment) so that you could get what you want? Or prepare a fancy meal for your spouse to soften him up for some request you have. Maybe, you dropped off baked goods to a friend, hoping for a favor in return. We all have done nice things to meet our ends; none of those actions produces faith.
When we experience the freedom that comes from obedience to God, our faith causes us to produce good works. Because I have faith in God, I read His word. Studying His word, then applying it to my life, causes me to do something. I take risks I would never take because I have faith, no matter what, God loves me. Even if I bumble and fall or people reject me, God doesn’t abandon me. He takes my messes and makes them into His victories. He will do the same for you.
Faith opens pickle jars.
Last week, during the prayer group, we discussed this question. “Would you ask the Hulk to open a pickle jar?” Theoretically, you wouldn’t. But sometimes, I do need the Hulk to do the small things because, on my own, I can’t. Some days, the hardest thing to do is get out of bed. Only with the strength of the Hulk can I take the next step. And the Hulk, God, always shows up.
“And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15 NIV)
Faith in God gives us the strength to open the pickle jar. Because we believe in a bigger God than any problem we will face, we can do the hard stuff. Forgiving someone who hurt us profoundly requires action. God gives us the ability to forgive because He first forgave us. When we have faith, God forgives us; we forgive others. Without faith, we stay stuck in the offense, unable to move forward. Forgiveness frees us more than the offender. Letting go is taking the next step to a healthier tomorrow.
Christ-followers follow Jesus because of faith. We do what Jesus did because of faith. Belief comes before action.
Question of the Day:
How has your faith prompted you into action?