"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Faith Without Works???

One restless afternoon, I sat on my sofa with the television remote grasped in my hands. As I flipped through the channels filled with re-runs of reality shows, I paused for a few minutes on one of the most popular reality shows to date, Fear Factor.

On the show Fear Factor, a group of people, who I personally thought had lost their natural minds, would eat things that were not fitting to eat and accomplish tasks that were death defying. I literally thought these people were crazy! Apparently other people did also, as the show's rating reached into the upper millions, and the world tuned in to watch each new episode, and some re-runs also, to see what adventures would await the new risk takers. The best part of the show, however, was to see if they could accomplish all that was set before them to make it to the end. If they did, a great lump of prize money awaited them. What a reward!

As I watched the show on this particular day, I noticed the faith in these people. They kept pressing through each stage of the game, harder and harder. None of these tasks were particularly comfortable or pleasing. You could hear them hyping themselves up mentally, as they prepared to accomplish the next phase of the game. Most constantly reminded themselves of the great prize that would await them if they could make it just one more step. Then they would begin to work through that phase, excited when it was over, and ready to conquer the next one that lie ahead. They had faith in themselves, and followed through by working towards their goal.

I began to think about the tenacity of these people. The strength that they exhibited to obtain something that was only going to bring them short term joy amazed me. Then I began to think about my faith as a Christian. I wondered if I had the faith plus the works to reach the goals that my Father had set before me. Many times, we have the vision, or the knowledge of what God wants us to do, we just don't follow through to work for it. We want God to lay it all in our laps and give it to us. We want Him to make us someone, but we don't put in the work it takes to make the changes to become that person.

The book of James speaks in depth about the many aspects of faith. The Bible tells me that God is not pleased if I do not have faith in Him. That shows that I do not believe in Him and all the power that He holds. But what if I have faith, but I don't actively seek out and work towards what God has placed within me?

James 2:14-17 states, What doth it profit my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Having faith alone is not enough to accomplish our goals and dreams. My mind wonders to Joseph and his dream from last night's post. What if, when Joseph was sold into slavery, he just simply gave up? What if he did not work hard and press through this difficult time? What if the contestants on Fear Factor wanted the money so badly, but did not accomplish the tasks that lie ahead of them in order to reach the reward? Neither would have reached the end result! Joseph, like the contestants on Fear Factor kept their eyes ahead to the end result, while also working towards what they wanted.

Think about it this way; you want a new job. You are praying for a new job, and believe in all your heart that God is going to bless you with a new job. You are getting discouraged because you have not even had an interview in the past six months. You are wondering if God is really going to give you the job that you have been praying in faith for. The only problem is....you haven't filled out any applications! Sounds silly, doesn't it? Now, think about our faith in our Christian walk.

We think; Lord, I know you have blessed me with a certain talent, but I feel like I am not receiving the opportunities to utilize it. You must ask yourself; does anyone know that I am spiritually talented in a certain area? Do those around you know that you are talented, or do you sit and wait for God to reveal it to them? Do you put work into your gift and passion?

There is a popular gospel song in which the lyrics echo,
"All I have to do is take one step, and He will do the rest, the rest, the rest."

Yes, my friend, God has placed passions within you, and has a purpose and a plan for your life. Also know, that He expects you to put in the work required to reach and sustain your purpose. Faith without works is dead!!! Let us work harder toward our high calling in Christ. Ministers and deacons are not the only Christians with a calling. God is calling you too! We all have a purpose in the business of Kingdom building! Whether your job is viewed by others as large or small; leader over many, just a few, or none at all, God has something for all of us to do! Let us exercise our faith and work toward our destiny too!

Lord, I come to You right now, thanking You for Your word. Thank You Lord for revealing to us that faith without works is dead. Faith is nothing without utilizing the skills that you have placed within us to help reach our Kingdom purpose. Help us to keep our eyes on You, for spending eternity with You is our ultimate reward. Thank You Father for continuing to reveal to us how we can continue to grow in Your word. As we exercise our faith by working for You, please continue to order our steps each day. Show us the path that You will have us to take, and continue to prepare us for the day we reach Your Kingdom. Forgive us God for times in which we have had faith with no works. Forgive us for expecting you to lay everything that we should be working towards in our laps. We realize that You have placed within us exactly what we need to become what You desire us to be. Thank You Lord!

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