For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. -James 2:26
The idea.”faith without works” is quoted in the bible in numerous verses. As I was driving today, I started thinking about this verse, this concept, and it sat heavy on my heart. Truth be told, I know that this is a MAJOR area for growth potential for me. It is something I am still working on, something I am learning, slowly, and often painfully.
One can have all the knowledge in the world, but knowledge without wisdom is just information. God places so many amazing people into our lives to teach us, coach us, train us, guide us and show us the way.
He also gave us access to the most valuable of it all – his word – The Bible. Every God principal is there loud and clear. Anyone can read it, anyone can understand it, but these principals aren’t as easily applied.
God gives us the tools, all of them, but we still have to be willing to do the work. One can’t sit back with faith, hoping that God or someone else will do the work.
I come to realize that I have so many tools, so much knowledge, and so many great mentors in my life, but I still fall short on the work, over and over and over again. It is only I who can make that extra effort. With wisdom, comes discernment. The ability to discern when to speak or when to bite my tongue. The ability to discern when to act and which way to act. The ability to ignore the ‘noise’. It is wisdom that helps us choose to be in control of our emotions, rather than take the backseat as they control us.
Wisdom, the opportunity to be wise is there, but it is up to us to do the work. Faith I have, work I often lack. My often inability to control my temper, to let my emotions run wild. Our emotions and our actions are a choice.
We can choose to love (as an action) even if we “don’t feel like it”… it is only our self that gets in the way.
We can choose to remain calm, be slow to anger in situations that would normally upset us or fluster us.
We can choose to pull out the bible and read, relying on God’s word and wisdom to guide us through a tough situation, rather then choose to try and solve it on our own.
If I have learned anything over the last several years, it is that my way NEVER works, it always fails.
My way doesn’t work. My way lacks experience in so many facets of life.
But God, his way is miraculous. His way is strength, wisdom, powerful, all knowing. His way is lasting, his way works…. but only if I do the work.
Every time I learn new God principals I will be put to the test. Did I really LEARN them, are they instilled in my way of being, or did I simply learn about them?
I have come to learn, as I mentioned, often painfully, that when put to the test, I fall – hard and flat. I momentarily feel defeated, feel like failure, and then I come back to my reality – which is that God forgives me, God extends me mercy and grace. God is good, no He is GREAT. He is always right there ready to scoop me up and put me back on my feet. He gives me seconds chances, and and third, forth, and 200 or more. The hard reality, is that people do not always.
Faith is a choice.
Works is a choice.
Our emotions and whether or not they control us or we control them is a choice.
To trust is a choice.
To rely on God is a choice.
To try and solve problems alone or our way is a choice.
I choose God. I choose faith. I choose works.
I know it’s a life long journey, a never ending process, but a journey I am excited to embrace. One that sounds more peaceful and invigorating than any alternative.
Am I going to sit back and learn, but not apply, or am I going to step up and start applying this amazing stuff God is teaching me in every direction?