Once again, it is Throwback Thursday, and I have decided to share a blog from April 2014. Why? Well, I guess you can say I’m still finding myself in the same place: stuck and frustrated. I guess you could say I need to learn to take my own advice.
Faith Without Action is Dead: originally posted April 29, 2014:
You ever feel frustrated, frustrated with yourself, frustrated with others? Well, that is where I find myself right now: Frustrated. Pinpointing the exact cause for my frustration hasn’t been easy, but I think the underlying cause to both is lack of action. For awhile I was convinced it was a lack of faith or belief, but after reading Today’s Neil Anderson Devotional and prayer, I realize faith and belief are not my problem but my failure to do something with my beliefs and the failure of my fellow believers to act on their proclaimed beliefs.
Active Faith-Today’s Neil Anderson Devotional as posted on Inspirational Christian Blogs
You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works
When my son Karl was just a toddler, I would stand him up on the table and call for him to jump from the table into my arms. Did Karl believe I would catch him? Yes. How did I know he believed? Because he jumped. Suppose he wouldn’t jump. “Do you believe I will catch you, Karl?” I might coax, and he may nod yes. But if he never jumps, does he really believe I will catch him? No. Faith is active, not passive. Faith takes a stand. Faith makes a move. Faith speaks up.
There are a lot of Christians who claim to have great faith in God but are spiritually lethargic and don’t do anything. Faith without action is not faith; it’s dead, meaningless (James 2:17, 18)! If it isn’t expressed, it isn’t faith. In order to believe God and His Word, we must do what He says. If you don’t do what He says, you don’t really believe Him. Faith and action are inseparable.
Sadly, one of the common pictures of the church today is of a group of people with an assumed faith but little action. We’re thankful that our sins are forgiven and that Jesus is preparing a place in heaven for us, but we’re basically cowering in fear and defeat in the world, just hanging on until the rapture. We treat the church as if it’s a hospital. We get together to compare wounds and hold each other’s hands, yearning for Jesus to come take us away.
The church is not a hospital; it’s a military outpost under orders to storm the gates of hell. Every believer is on active duty, called to take part in fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19, 20). Thankfully the church has an infirmary where we can minister to the weak and wounded, and that ministry is necessary. But our real purpose is to be change agents in the world, taking a stand, living by faith, and accomplishing something for God. You can say you believe God and His Word. But if you are not actively involved in His plan, are you really a mature believer?
Prayer: Lord, if I’m not moving forward by faith and taking ground today, I’m only treading water or slipping backward. Nudge me forward today, Lord.”
You may recall me mentioning several times that I feel God calling me into some sort of ministry. I have been vague about what that exact calling is because I don’t want to open myself up to others’ opinions. I know what God is calling me to, but I also know I am not ready. I know others know I am not ready, and I honestly don’t want their opinions to discourage me or get in the way of what God is trying to do. Over the last few years, with a heavy focus this last year, I have been in a preparation phase. I am more than okay with this and I have gotten quite comfortable here. The problem being, I can’t stay in the preparation phase forever. Yes, I may not be ready for the full calling God has for me, but there are things I can be doing and should be doing in the here and now. My focus can’t just be on me, my growth, and my relationship with the Lord. That is a selfish mindset. While I am growing, I need to look for opportunities to serve and teach others that will not only help lead others to Christ but take me one step closer to my calling and the ministry God has for me. I am frustrated because I am not in the will of God, sitting on the sidelines waiting for some future event. The time has come for me to start living out not only my beliefs but my future calling.
The same goes for the church as a collective whole. We cannot (as much as I would like) build a wall around ourselves, nurse our worldly wounds, and keep God all to ourselves. We were given a job to do and until the job is done, we cannot just sit idly by talking about what we hope to do and hope to become and become a church of action! I believe my church is in a time of growth; our focus right now is growing our congregation (spiritually and not in numbers), but that doesn’t mean we can’t be looking for ways to serve God while we are building up a strong church (and our pastor would never let us get away with that anyway).
Matthew 28:18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I am encouraging you all to take a look in your own life. Are there things you feel God has called you to do, but the timing is not right? If so, are there things you could be doing that would take you a step closer to this calling? For instance, if you feel called to be a missionary, are there ways you can serve in the capacity in your local area? Are there any homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc. that could use your assistance? If you feel called to be a pastor, are you doing anything to prepare for being a pastor? Do you volunteer to visit hospitals and nursing homes? Are you taking any classes or studying on your own? Have you shared your vision with your pastor and sought his or her advice? Are you seeking God on things you could be doing now to prepare you for your future calling? I think you get my meaning. Everyone’s questions and to do list will be different, but take some time to seek God on ways you can act now and then ACT!