James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone* (by itself). James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Reading these two verses and listening to God while I melt in the heat of September, I realize my faith FLATLINED long ago. Well, that’s the lie I bought.
When I think about the things I do or have done for Christ, none of them seem very important, but isn’t that the lie the devil wants to sell us? Importance is of little consequence to God when we are doing what He has called us to do for the people He has led us to.
I’m not buying that lie, but I am questioning myself. Is it enough to give to money to the victims of these recent devastations? Texas, Mexico, Florida and Puerto Rico. Those people need help and I don’t make enough money or have a great enough job that I can just hop on a plane, train, bus or even drive to these places to assist hands on in these places. Am I making excuses? Possibly, but I also don’t have the conviction of the Holy Spirit to travel to these places. Is that what I’m supposed to base it on? Conviction?
It may sound like I’m confused about my faith. I’m not. For the record these are questions I normally ask myself in private and I’m not afraid to finally share them with other people. I can’t be the only believer that questions what actually constitutes as “works”.
I know for certain the times I have felt the most fulfilled and the most obedient to God in actually completing effectual works is when I am convicted and move forward on that conviction. Again, this is my personal experience, I don’t expect yours to be the same.
My gifts are diverse from each other, but they all come back to one place. Helping others. I’ve had people tell me that my words reach out and hug them, no matter how much distance there is between us. By God’s grace I’ve been able to calm down anxious patients, soothing their fears about upcoming procedures. All of this is done by God. I am just the vessel He chooses to use and I am humbled as well as grateful for being chosen.
So my question now becomes, is it enough? To be there for people that need reassurance, that need to know someone genuinely cares about their situation, to just say a few calming words. Is that enough? Can it ever be enough?
I know the answer and I’m sure you do too. If it is done in Jesus’ name, it is enough. If it is to glorify God and further His kingdom in anyway, it is enough. If it changes one person’s mind about God, about Christianity, about being a believer, it is enough. If you are doing what Jesus called you to do, then it is enough to do it on a daily basis.
Reporting for our Christian duty is sometimes as simple as getting on our knees and praying for someone. It can be as simple as hugging a hurting soul. It can be as simple as shutting your mouth and listening to someone as they share their hurts, dreams and anything else they need to get off their chest.
I have let the devil sell me the lie that I am not doing enough. That my works will never stand. That my faith has flatlined. The devil is never going to change his tune because he is a one trick pony. He knows our weaknesses and keeps at them until we break or buy into one of his lies about ourselves.
If I try to do anything outside of God’s will for me or outside the abilities He has given me, it will fail. It will fail because I’m doing it in my own strength, for my own glory. We are all unique. We are all given different gifts to serve God in different places, ways and lives. If I try to sing people to Jesus, it will fail, because I was not given a voice to bring people to God. Not a singing voice. If I try to evangelize in any setting, I will fail, because I was not given the gift of being an evangelical. If I try to do someone else’s job, I will fail.
I have failed and often by trying to be someone God hasn’t called me to be. I don’t want to rebel against what God has called me to do. I want to fulfill His purpose for my life, that I may glorify Him and further His kingdom. I have heard many pastors say many wise things. One of the wisest has been the following, GROW WHERE GOD PLANTS YOU.
Praise be to God and His Holy Word for showing me my works start with obedience to God’s plan for my life. That works are always done in humility, with no effort to seek recognition.