Sunday, October 3, 2010

Will Work for. . .Faith!

One fact of being a believer in Jesus is the fact that we must work for the faith that is necessary to be a good disciple.  It does not come easy and, once obtained, we must work at it in order to maintain it and grow it. 

Human nature is self-centered.  We believe and society reinforces that we deserve praise and good things from God for the good things we do.  We expect this.  As a matter of fact, if we were honest with ourselves, we demand it of God.  This expectation for a reward from God is often the reason we perform a good work in the first place.  It is a form of negotiation with God.  In other words, if we do this, then God will do that!  And that is preposterous!

We cannot ever have God in debt to us!  Never!  We must realize that when we perform good works, they are not our gift to God but God's gift to us!  All that is good, all good that happens to us comes from God.  It does not originate with us.  If we think that we have done something deserving of praise and reward from the Father, we have begun to think of things in terms of the flesh rather than the spirit.  We have begun to attribute the good in our lives as coming from us.  This is never true.  God is the author of good and no matter how good and faithful we may be, all of that comes from the Father. 

God is not in debt to us.  He has given us everything.  As a matter of fact, we can do nothing without the grace of God.  We can only do what He enables us to do so.  Even though that may be considerable, none of it comes from within us.  God gives us many gifts.  It is completely up to us whether or not we use them. 

When we have done all that we should do and then some, our disposition should be one of complete gratitude to God who granted us the ability to perform this act.  Work is a gift from God as well and we should never squander our time in working at our faith.  Temptations may--and will--come along no matter how diligent we are in our faith lives.  But if we aren't working at strengthening our faith, we will most certainly succumb to those moments.  When we are tempted, we must immediately turn to the Lord and plea with Him for His strength and courage to withstand the temptation.  He will not fail us as long as we remain faithful to Him. 

We may feel very good about being followers of Christ, and we should.  But we must also remember that being followers of Jesus is also a gift from the Father.  Jesus said as much when He said, "It was not you who chose me.  It was I who chose you that you should go and bear fruit that will last."  (Jn 15: 16)  When Jesus chooses us, then, it is not time to rest.  It is time to get down to work!  We must always be a work in progress as we continue to seek ways to grow our faith!