James 2:20-26 (NIV)
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
That last line really hit me hard. I had faith in Jesus (and I still do). I had accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour in my life. But like so many, that faith didn’t seem to permeate through all areas of it. In the story “My Heart Christ’s Home”, the author tells about the painstakingly slow process he underwent to surrender each and every aspect of his life. It’s hard. We are creatures of control. It’s so very hard to let someone else be in control of our lives. We often rebel against it. And in some cases, for very good reasons. But when it comes to the One who knows how to completely meet your deepest of needs, we must surrender. There is a freedom that comes from letting Jesus “take the wheel”. That author revels in that freedom in the end. But I still struggle with arriving at that sweet surrender.
The irony is that as I struggle to relinquish control of my life to Him, I hold on to elements of my “non-church” life, and not a single one of them has any place in the Christian faith. And so I am forced to realize that those elements which which I rebel – since through my refusal to surrender them I am doing just that – are actually counterproductive to my faith. I am taught to proclaim the Gospel to the people around me. Yet my actions contradict me.
“Walking out my faith”. Such a simple phrase. But that is where Christianity needs to shine the most. That is where I see Jesus two thousand years ago as well as today – in not just the saying of the faith, but the doing of it. Jesus says,
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
Love is a verb; it requires action. What good is it to say “Jesus loves you” without somehow showing it? In the same way, how can I say to others “I am a Christian” without walking out my faith so that they can see it? This means that I need to take a good hard look at my life, acknowledge those things there that are sinful and selfish and not Christ-like, and then with Jesus’ help, through the Holy Spirit, get rid of them.
Someday I will be able to enjoy that sweet surrender of letting Jesus reign completely in me. Until then, there is a journey to experience. That is what this place is all about … the journey. Don’t expect to find me writing about my deepest and darkest secrets and desires. But there is some level of sharing here. I encourage you to respond to whatever you read here. You become a part of that journey, and may find that, through my successes and screw-ups, there are others in the same boat and that we are not alone in our struggles. It is my hope that God speaks to you here.