Sometimes I just don’t get the Faith and Works conversations I read about and hear among the Christian community.
Some insist it is possible to have a strong faith, yet not show it by works. Think about those isolated monks, living in foreign monasteries up in the mountains of who knows where, spending all their days chanting and praying. Are those the works that honor Jesus?
Others claim that in doing their frequent good and honorable works, the resultant sense of well being causes faith to grow. But what initially motivates one to do those good deeds? Guilt? Fear? A politically correct sense of “I oughta?”
Many years ago, on my first day in the first grade, I met Sylvia. Sylvia and I became inseparable best friends, and to this day we are grateful for the special relationship we have had all throughout these years.
Sylvia and I often had sleepovers at each other’s homes, and as I spent more and more time with her family, I learned that her mother got up before the sun rose each morning and baked a pie. Later she would know of someone who needed to receive her pie of the day – perhaps a shut in or someone just needing a little encouragement during a rough spot in life.
It was the same every day. Bake a pie. Take it to brighten someone’s day. Lemon meringue was her specialty.
One evening, Sylvia’s mother was taking Sylvia and I to the local ice skating rink for the evening where we would skate and hang out with friends. In a classic and memorable act of gracelessness, I stepped up into the car, placing my left foot smack dab into the center of a waiting lemon meringue pie sitting on the floor in the back seat.
|Open car door, insert foot|
It was on its way to brighten someone’s day, and I had literally squashed that pie and plan. I should’ve known though. I should’ve looked first. She took pies every day, and we all wondered what continually motivated her to do so.
Frankly, I say this Faith and Works debate is senseless.
When you’re crazy nuts in love with someone, you want to do anything at any time to please that person. You go out of your way to do things that will bring that person joy and happiness. No expense is too great; you will be extravagant in a way that matches your feelings for that person.
And so it is when one is in love with Jesus. It is inevitable that your actions will follow. You simply cannot resist showing Him your love by doing those things that make Him happy. You will spare no expense to achieve those things that matter to Him. Whatever is important to Him is now important to you.
Ponder on a few thoughts from James:
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have
faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother
or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them,
“Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their
physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not
accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith
without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. (James 2:14-18)
So then the question I must ask myself is this: Does my life show my faith in Christ that is clearly demonstrated by a life of “love” deeds? Is there convicting evidence that would prove I’m a lover of Jesus?
I suppose the jury is still out on that case. It should be a non-debate, though, according to what I see in the Scriptures.