Posts Tagged ‘works’

Wouldn’t it be great if I could get a reading on a “faith meter?” Or, maybe not. After all, if it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain, my gauge would have to be in the millimeters.

James 2:22, 26
You see that his [Abraham’s] faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. . . . As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Abraham and Rahab are the two stories James recounts in chapter two as examples of the best partnership between faith and action. One for hearing God so clearly that Abraham journeyed up a mountain with the intention of sacrificing is son Isaac and the second, of a prostitute who paradoxically harbored and aided enemies of her city because she felt compelled by God to do so. These two acts registered hot on the faith meter.

As I was reading and contemplating these stories, I realized it wasn’t the acts themselves that threw the meter into the red zone, it was their willingness to act and follow through by hearing God. It was trust. Acts of faith are an outgrowth of the faith itself, the love of God, a relationship with depth and authenticity.

I’ve never been very fond of the Abraham/Isaac story. As a parent, I shudder at the very idea or contemplation of a blood sacrifice of my own child. How could Abraham be willing to do this? Human sacrifice was not even the norm of the One God believers. Wasn’t it a pagan practice of neighboring tribes and faiths? Or, maybe he never really believed that God wanted an actual sacrifice?

I remember having a similar attitude some years ago when my husband and I had recently adopted our two boys from Latvia and a few months later I had to travel to a library conference. My friend and colleague was a white knuckle flyer and I tried to calm her by proclamation.

“It’s not my time to die.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Simple, I don’t believe God would orphan my children twice.”

Perhaps Abraham had locked his faith into that earlier promise that would be fulfilled through Isaac. Perhaps.

But here’s the point: the actions, the deeds, the works of love and self-sacrifice, the expressions of kindness, and the selfless sharing of worldly goods . . . these are the measuring sticks of faith.

Faith without expression is a mere concept.

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Faith as a Verb

Faith has become static and no longer has the teeth that it should. They say, “growing old is not for sissies,” and I say an out-growing faith is not a cakewalk either. At least it shouldn’t be.

James 2:17-18
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.

Faith has become as boring as the verb “to be.” And although it may be trendy these days to spout clever phrases like, “I am not a human doing, I’m a human being” as a way of slowing our culture down, we are missing the boat in the faith department.

Faith is not only about meditation and contemplation, it must also be an expression of God within so that others can see God. Faith is not only about waving our hands and singing the songs in church, it must also be about touching others in such a way that they can feel God’s presence.

Faith is probably a circle and I can’t just plant myself on one spot in that circle. Sometimes I have to get from God and sometimes I have to give; sometimes I have to rest in God and sometimes I have to run.

My God faith creates the courage I need to have faith in myself and to have faith in you.

I faith God who faiths me for you.

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