This summer I have learned the value of studying God's word (AGAIN). I have always seen that value but I learned something even more valuable from the book of James..In Chapter one James says this:
1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Then in Chapter 2
2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such a faith save Him?
I am all about Grace. (UNmerited, Undeserved Favor form GOD) I love that word, I love the meaning of that word. It is wonderful to know we are completely justified in faith alone, Christ alone! Yes, Jesus cried out from the cross, "It is finished!" I celebrate that, i am forgiven, no merit of my own. What did I have to do? NOTHING! I recognized my sin, seperation from God, and I RECEIVED what Jesus did for me at Calvary. Yes, how freeing is that? The shame and guilt taken away, I love my savior for freeing me like that!
BUT: I know there are no but's in the gospel! But..what is James saying? We discussed this all summer in our bible study. This book, these words.."what good is it if a man/woman claims to have faith but no deeds?" We have all seen the hypocrite volunteering for everything, working to prove they are really GOOD..it is nauseating, the bible says no man is GOOD, only God is GOOD. So what does this mean "Faith and Deeds?"
As we studied and discussed Faith and Deeds, I began to realize something major. God had been showing me this for sometime. I had been trying to be "Good" and it just didn't seem to be working out for me. Then I began waking up, as if I had been in a fog and realized this..It is not the deeds that make me more Christian, it is CHRIST that makes me more Christian. Jesus, pure and simple. As I surrender to Him more, my life takes on this energy of it's own. I begin to love more, forgive easier. I begin to have passion to help people, and go where I have never been..explore new things, hope new things, laugh, and cry more passionately. I surrender, learning to trust a God that is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than I can expect, think, or hope for! Yes Jesus cried out from the cross, IT IS FINISHED, and it is. I could never add anything to something so profound and powerful as God in the flesh, laying His life down to save all mankind from hell. What could I add to THAT!!! NOTHING, nothing at all. It is a faith in HIS good and perfect work that stirs me on to love, to give, and to act in response to my faith in what has already been accomplished. If you do not have love, are not able to forgive, aren't willing to help others? You may want to re-visit your faith, James made it quite clear for us, It is a faith that works!!. Praise Him!