Two kinds of Christians undermine the witness of the Body of Christ.  The first are people who believe that faith is defined by believing in a set of doctrinal propositions and focusing on that belief as their “ticket to heaven.”  A right set of beliefs is more important than actions that reflect those beliefs.

The second is the group of Christians who still embrace the world’s evaluative standard of “what’s in it for me?”  They are often looking for a method or program that will make them happy. And they want to find such a solution that costs them as little as possible.

“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.” – James 2:18, New Living Translation

Ultimately faith works. By that I don’t mean faith is simply effective for coping with living. I mean faith, if it is true faith, works.

The world is concerned with tangible benefits. But tangible almost always has to do with material things.  A place in my Father’s House in the future is a tangible thing, and rightly so. But if it makes me so heavenly minded that I stop worrying about those who are poor and oppressed on this planet, or those whose lives are a shambles on this side of eternity, then I have lost the true meaning of Jesus’ words, “I am my Father are one.”

If all faith is to me is a means to make life easier on this planet, then I will be loath to put those tangible benefits at risk to share my faith or to lay down my life for a friend.  I will never choose the way of sacrificial servanthood.

Ultimately faith works.  It takes what it believes and daily applies it to the utmost to do what Jesus came to earth to do and commissioned us to do until he returns.  Truth faith is neither a set of beliefs or a set of tools. True faith is a lifestyle that reflects what Jesus would have us to do.

(C) 2011 by Stephen L. Dunn

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