Friday, November 28, 2008

Can faith save? Does your faith demand Action?

James 2: 14-26

14What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]?
15If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day,
16And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?
17So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).
18But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith.
19You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe and shudder [in terror and horror such as [
a]make a man's hair stand on end and contract the surface of his skin]!
20Are you willing to be shown [proof], you foolish (unproductive, spiritually deficient) fellow, that faith apart from [good] works is inactive and ineffective and worthless?
21Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by [his] works when he brought to the altar as an offering his [own] son Isaac?(
C)
22You see that [his] faith was cooperating with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works.
23And [so] the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) God, and this was accounted to him as righteousness (as conformity to God's will in thought and deed), and he was called God's friend.(
D)
24You see that a man is justified (pronounced righteous before God) through what he does and not alone through faith [through works of obedience as well as by what he believes].
25So also with Rahab the harlot--was she not shown to be justified (pronounced righteous before God) by [good] deeds when she took in the scouts (spies) and sent them away by a different route?(
E)
26For as the human body apart from the spirit is lifeless, so faith apart from [its] works of obedience is also dead.


Ok so this is a little weird to go about your daily devotional this way but...
I woke up this morning a 2:22 AM!
I came out and decided to wait on the Lord. Really I came out and cried out to the Lord. I have such a need to tuck in tight under his arm and feel that Love and protection.

I was led to this passage of scripture and was drawn to what happened when I read the first part (vs 14)...the question, with the Last (vs 26)...seemingly the answer.

14What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]? ...

26For as the human body apart from the spirit is lifeless, so faith apart from [its] works of obedience is also dead.


THE THINGS WE DO ARE A TESTIMONY TO OUR FAITH. We need to let the things we do be governed and guided by the Holy Spirit. Not by the world and not by the flesh. We do a lot of things because it is expected or because we feel like it. Those are not works. The things we do because the Holy Spirit prompted us to and we are being obedient no matter what...those are works. Turning your car around and helping someone even if you are really wanting to get home. Giving someone the five bucks in your pocket even when you were thinking of Starbucks on the way home. Those are works. In order to do these things we need to be willing and able to hear and obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I'm not saying that everything that the Holy Spirit prompts you to do will be a sacrifice.(though it sure seems like it!) In our maturity and as our faith Grows it can become a joy!
You do hear from the Holy Spirit you just need to recognize that that is what it is and yield to it. The more you do it the more you start to recognize His voice. The more you recognize His voice and obey those promptings the more Growth and intimacy you will enjoy in you walk with the Father. This is not always easy but I believe it is the mark of a righteous man.


My question would be...Do I have a faithful testimony?
My answer came in... (ok silly, I know! 2:22 am!)
22You see that [his] faith was cooperating with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works.

What am I doing that is requiring me to cooperate in faith? The things that we do in faith may not look right to the rest of the world. I say that that doesn't matter but is it true? Am I able to stand apart and look like a fool because I am doing what I believe by faith? I have been very challenged in this area throughout my Christian walk and very much recently. Our current circumstances have us not necessarily following the logical path. We are by faith following what we believe the Lord is telling us to do. Try telling that to someone who cares about you but is not a believer. Try telling that to a believer who was not in on Gods plans! Do you think that God will tell you to do something and let all your brothers and sisters in Christ know that it is ok...It is His plan for your life? I'll tell you the answer is no! Wouldnt it be nice if the Lord would just forward that memo to everyone?
Think about that when you start to tell others what they could or should be doing, when you criticize their actions because they make no earthly sense. We arent here to make earthly sence.
Yes, we need to seek wise council, but ultamitly the Lord is your only true council. If the people you are seeking for guidance are not praying and seeking the Lord on your behalf and willing to hear the God thing and not the Good thing you may not be getting good council after all.

So...what I am walking away with is that...
Our faith must demand action and it is not just the "busying" ourselves around the church volunteering for everything under the sun. That is good but is it God?
The works that make us friends of God are those things that He directs us to do. I believe we will stand before Him one day and have to account for those things. I want to be sure to have a faithful walk no matter what. I want to be sure to help, not hinder others from doing the same. I am sure we will be given lots of opportunity to ponder these things.

Lord, I pray for a willing heart, a yielding spirit, for eyes to see and ears to hear. I want thy Kingdom to come and thy will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. I believe we have that opportunity if we are only willing and able to reach for it. Equip us, teach us, and guide our every step. Help me to not judge others by what they do or don't do. Let me see then as you do. Use me to guide others along on their journey of obedience and seeking your Kingdom on earth. I desire to be a friend of God. Your Word tells us that we were created in Christs image. Complete that work in us, transforming us into Christs image in all that we say and do. I thank you Abba Father for all your mercies in every form the come. I thank you for how you meet or needs and guide our steps. I long for you.
I pray that I will always say the things You want me to say and do the things You want me to do and go where You want me to go...and thats all.
Amen

2 comments:

Debra said...

Steph,

Love the new photo...ok, I can see you again (you know what I mean)! And I love Tori girl being in there with you!

I ditto your prayer at the end of this post. I always want to do what the Lord wants me to do...I want to hear Him and I want to be obedient.

I am praying for you. ((hugs)) to you, sweet one!

Cheryl said...

Stephanie,

I'm so out of touch with everyone these days.

Hope you are doing well.

Came over to let you know, you've been tagged. If you want to play along, come on over.