Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Faith without action...

Two passages speak to my heart today:  James 2:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 13:11.  In the first, Paul tells us that faith without action is dead.  This is one of the more difficult requirements of faith, for me, especially when I am making a decision.  I enjoy the safe, comfortable route to life.  The route that doesn't require much faith.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I have faith, but I get really fearful when that faith is put into practice.  You see, I have very little faith in myself.  This isn’t a humbling myself before God, either.  This is an insecurity thing.  A lie from Satan.  I fear failure and I fear making a decision.  That's all well and good when I don't have anything to fear, but having faith in Christ does mean I must put my trust in him and believe that he'll see me through.  This letting go of myself is so very difficult.  That’s where the trouble lies, in my inability to trust in myself and my unwillingness to trust in Christ. 

In my most recent decision making process I have difficulty for fear of failure and of past mistakes.  Though I have been forgiven, I worry about the wrong choices I made while not placing the creator of the universe at the center of my life, and as a result, I have wanted to isolate myself from the world so that I wouldn't fall prey to bad choices.  But our God is not the author of fear and confusion and this brings me to the second passage. 

I was raised in a Christian home and we attended church nearly every time the doors were open.  The concept that God did not exist never occurred to me and until I became an adult I had no idea there were people who did not believe in Christ Jesus.  My faith was not strong enough to withstand the pull of the world.  I was suddenly thrust into a world where the possibility of no God was not only discussed, but celebrated.  I fell hard for this way and over the course of five years I had what they call a "crisis of faith."  It was during this time that I made many poor decisions and wandered aimlessly through life.  However, 1 Corinthians 13:11 says When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  So that brings me to now.

I met Jesus.  The real Jesus.  Not the concept, but the Christ.  He revealed Himself to me and I was saved.  I met Jesus Christ and I now know the difference.  I also immediately knew my shame and where I could leave it.  There is no doubt in my mind that I have been forgiven.  There is no doubt in my mind that the God of the universe conquered my shame and death on the cross, but just to be sure I didn’t mess up again, I decided I would help God out a bit and simply protect myself.  I began isolating myself to control my surroundings.  That way I didn’t mess up again, right?  That way I can remain sin-free, right?  Does it work that way?  Nope!

So now God is calling me out, again.  He granted me sweet rest and is now asking me to trust in Him for the next step.  IT SCARES ME TO DEATH, this faith in action, but “You foolish (wo)man! Do you want proof that faith without action is useless?  Our Father Abraham offered his son Isaac on the altar.  Wasn’t he considered to be right with God because of what he did?  So you see that what he believed and what he did were working together.  What he did made his faith complete.”  James 2:20-22

And so I go forward. 

I thank you, Heavenly Father that I even have the right to make such decisions.  I thank you that I live in a country where women have a voice and have many opportunities.  I thank you for a husband that is supportive and wise.  I thank you for using me and asking of me.  I thank you for your provisions, your strength, your calling, your success and your discernment. Amen

Suppose one of you says to them, “Go.  I hope everything turns out fine for you.  Keep warm.  Eat well.” And you do nothing about what they really need.  Then what good have you done?  It is the same with faith.  If it doesn’t cause us to do something, it’s dead. James 2:16-17

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