2 Timothy 2:15 (NLT)Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
We are saved by faith. There is nothing that we can do to earn salvation. No amount of works can bring us into the Kingdom of God. That is a free gift from God through Christ Jesus.
But the journey with God is not supposed to end with me. My faith in action – aka works is seen by others and testifies to the mighty working of God in my life. Consider the following passage:
Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works James 2:15-26
Abraham and Rahab are remembered for their faith in action, not just because they said “I believe.” Their actions showed what they would risk to serve the One in whom they placed their faith. Our lives are meant to reflect the truth of God’s Word. The more faith we have, greater works will follow.
There have been times in my life where I have gotten out of line with works. Working hard doesn’t mean turning to a life of just works. God prefers quality over quantity. My faith is not measured by the number of works I do, but the magnitude of my obedience.
There were times in my life that I was so busy doing works that I neglected my relationship with God, my spouse, and my children. I thought doing things for the right reason, a genuine desire to help others, was all that mattered.
I failed to take into account the works that God had placed right in front of me. I failed to spend time with Him daily. When my relationship with God is not first place, everything else suffers. I can not pour out of an empty cup, we are called to minister from the overflow.
I failed to make my marriage a priority. The scriptures say in Matthew 19:6 “Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” Yet I put everything between my husband and me. I didn’t need the enemy to try to destroy my marriage, because I did a fine job on my own. I put everything before my husband.
I also put work before my children. I was so busy meeting the needs of the children I worked with that I missed so much of my children’s lives. I didn’t realize that the message I was sending to my children is that others were more important. I thought I was showing them to help others.
It took a lot of work for God to change my perspective, to open my eyes that what I was doing was not bringing others to Him, but creating barriers for the very people I loved the most. He had to show me that no amount of works would draw me closer to Him if I was disobedient to the works He had placed before me – in my relationship to Him, my spouse and my children. They are my first priority.
Learning to balance the passion of the works He has placed in my heart and the passion of the place where He has me at this stage in life. And knowing that the first place always has to be God. Being obedient when He tells me to act and when He tells me to rest. Being obedient to say no to areas where I can, but shouldn’t work. He realigned the works and while I still out of times get out of balance in one area or another, I am growing in the works that He has called me too.
This blog is part of a #Write31Days series on growth. 31 Days is an online writing challenge, where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day.