Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's Who You Know.

I've at times, questioned the validity of a persons claim to be "saved". After all, shouldn't there be more to it than just a claim? Shouldn't it bring about change...a difference? We claim commitment to a church, we're known in the community, do noble things, serve in all sorts of capacities, yet our boast still seems shallow. Somethings missing. One profound Biblical example about just such a person who seemed to have all the "right" qualifications is found in John 3.

One night while praying, Jesus was interrupted by a man named Nicodemus. An educated man who thoroughly knew the Law of Moses and the Covenant of God and had been appointed ruler among the people, comes to the Teacher with a question, "Who are you"? Before he gets his answer, Jesus presents him with a statement that would challenge everything he knew and did, "You need to be born again".

It's not the sum total of what we know or do that defines our lives, it's Who we know. Do you know Him?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Don't forget the baseballs.

I love to play baseball. I love both the challenge and the shear joy of playing. It seems no matter the outcome- win or loose- I can still walk away with a fulfilled feeling. As I was recently studying Bible faith, I thought about how ridiculous it would be to approach the start of a game only to discover that no one brought any baseballs! All the pregame prep, the strategy, the adrenaline and excitement, the fans, the anthem, and then...nothing. At that point, every bit of the prep becomes pointless.

Sound absurd? Yet time and again, we'll declare we have faith in what God's Word says but are without the most important element of the faith "game"...corresponding action! People should see our faith! Jesus saw faith in Luke 5:20. There were plenty of people sitting in front of Him as He spoke; in fact, the house was packed. But the actions of four men- their movement- caused them to stand out from the rest. Jesus recognized faith when He saw it! The defining difference in my faith should be my actions.

The Message Bible puts it this way, "Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything?  Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?" It goes on to say, "Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?" It concludes chapter two of James by saying,"The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse."

As impossible as it would be to play a game of baseball without baseballs, so too, is the impossibility of having productive faith- faith that gets results- without actions that support that same faith. When we make a claim to believe God's Word, what plans do we have to demonstrate that belief? Can we demonstrate our faith without actions?