These works of faith

James 2:18-20, “But someone  may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’ You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?”

Recently, I have been wrestling with something that every believer needs to understand. It began just as a small question in the back of my mind: what am I accomplishing for God? So often I would pray to my Father in heaven to provide me with strength and power to do His will, to resist temptation and conquer sin, to please Him and glorify Him in all things. But was it my true desire to accomplish those things? I have since learned that God has provided me with all the strength and power that I need through His Word and His Spirit, but I have had to ask myself, am I truly willing to accomplish the works of faith that He has commanded me to do?

What every we all should understand is that I and every other believer can place our faith in God for His power, and that is the first step toward accomplish the works of faith. But it isn’t the end! I am slowly learning that I must be willing to exert the effort to follow through. After I have prayed, am I really using that strength that I prayed for? I asked God to change my heart, but did I apply the principles of Scripture to my life so that the change could take place?

The truth is…. I have been reading that passage from James over and over for a couple weeks now, and it only just hit me that it applies directly to what I have been struggling with. I was the foolish fellow. I have only recently begun to recognize that my faith without works to fulfill it is useless! Yes, it is true that I have placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and that is the basis for my salvation. Works can never accomplish salvation, regardless of number, importance, or size. But faith, which is a major component of salvation, must be lived out in good works. And just last night, an excellent teacher taught that “…the only way to learn to do good deeds is to do them!”

Not only should I be actively praying and seeking for my faith to be strengthened and empowered for good works, but I should also be pursuing a faith which is evidenced by good works. Even as I desire for God to change my heart and grow my faith, I should at the same time be actively involved in accomplishing good works so that the faith that I have in Christ will shine and the glory that He receives will increase.

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