Personal Faith

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“…Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”
James 2:18

“My faith is personal to me.”

“My faith is just between me and God.”

“I’m not comfortable talking about my faith with other people.”

“I believe in God, I just don’t feel like I need to ‘wear my faith on my sleeve’, so to speak.”

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  Can you relate to any of these comments?  I was in this place for a long, long time.  

The Bible is pretty clear that we are saved by faith and not by works.  We can not “earn” our way into Heaven.  We will NEVER be “good enough” on our own.  It is ONLY through the blood of Christ, through our faith in HIM, and Him alone that we are saved and receive eternal life in Heaven.  That is 100%, absolutely, positively true!  And our faith IS personal to each one of us. 

So for a long time I didn’t worry about my actions too much (or, heaven forbid, sharing my faith with others).  I said all those things that I listed above.  I believed in God.  I believed in Jesus.  And I felt like I had a “personal” relationship with him.  And I thought that was enough.    

Then I read James.

James 2:19 says, “You believe in one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that – and shudder.”  Um, did James just compare me to a demon?  ‘Cause that’s kind of what it sounded like to me.

In verse 17 he says, “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by actions, is dead.”  So I may not be a demon, I just have dead faith!  GREAT!  I thought this was about my faith NOT my works.  When did actions become so important?!?

Apparently, right around the time Christ took on my sin and died on the cross.  That was when actions become important.  

There were no Christians around when Christ died.  No one called themselves a Christian when asked what religion they were.  No one marked the box “Christian” in the local polls.  What there was, was a group of people who believed that the man Jesus Christ was truly the Son of God.  They had faith in Him and the words that He said.  A group of people who – by their actions – demonstrated this faith to the people around them.  Actions that spoke so loudly others called them Christ-like, Christ-ians, Christians.  People saw their ACTIONS and could tell what they BELIEVED.  Outsiders were able to visually see these Christians’ personal, private, faith through their actions.

It makes me wonder… can people “see” my faith through my actions?

I recently read a book that explained faith verses works this way.  It is your faith that saves you.  Your faith makes you a child of God and grants you entry into His Heavenly gates.  You get to go to the party and dance in the presence of the King!!!

But you will also have to answer for the life that you lived.  It is through “… works you can save your soul from a life that eternity will reveal was wasted.” (66 Love Letters by Dr. Larry Crabb).

I would hate to stand at the feet of my savior, and look back on my life and see that I wasted it.  That somehow I missed it.  That I missed what was TRULY important.

Dr. Crabb goes on to say (in the voice of God), “All My children will dance at My party and be blessed to the brim of their capacity for joy.  Only My faithful children will join My Son in leading the dance.”

Your faith is personal.  I know that.  I understand that.  Your faith WILL save you.  It is your entry into Heaven, where you will dance in the presence of the King!  But what if your actions here on Earth allowed you to lead that dance with Jesus right by your side? 

Wouldn’t that be kind of cool?