They say, 'faith without works, is dead', let's explore the Work of Faith!

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Answered by: Jason, An Expert in the Studying the Bible Category
What I Learned Outside of Church…

Where is your faith?

I didn’t make it to church but, being a part of such an organized church, the weekly readings are easily found online. So, I’m taking a stab sharing my own understanding of the day’s readings. Usually, the readings are harder to put together into one message. This week, providence came in the form of various issues with family and friends. I thank God for the ability to connect and focus on the solution MOST, if not all, of the time.

So let’s start with the prophet Isaiah. In chapter 50 the church’s focus is not forgetting that God is there all the time to help, encourage and protect us from ALL things. But, sometimes, we forget. And, reading the WHOLE chapter (Because that’s how WE role), we see that Isaiah was REALLY discussing us turning our backs on God. God has never left us. We leave God. We forget that God is with us in the dark as well as in the light. If we want to receive those blessings from verses 5-9, all we have to do is remember and not turn our back on God because God won’t turn his back on us.

Moving on to James Chapter 2, we all know the verses about faith without works being dead. But let’s get into the details of the work. I work with a lot of different charities and community groups. The main hindrances are politics, egos and cliques. So while we all are focused on work, work, work to prove our faith, there is also a warning against the very divisiveness that will kill any good work. Treat Everyone The Same. Don’t have your favorites. Don’t choose political parties. Don’t make allegiances to cliques or classes, because THOSE things will become bigger than the work and turn a positive into a negative.

My high school alumni are battling that right now. In order to work, some people want to consider class, age, social status, friendships, egos before just getting to work. So much so, a lot of the workers have been turned off despite the overwhelming need and urgency at my high school now.

I remember my faith so I respond with work. I work with everyone. I avoid cliques. I just WORK! I remember that the work is more important than any petty differences among my alumni. My faith in God and the success of my school means that I KNOW my work will not be in vain. I know that the real work will not be stopped. With a strong faith in God and my community, I remember that God in with me no matter how troublesome the problems within my alumni seem. So I work. And, with God, we will win.

And now, the gospel according to Mark… In Chapter 8, after Jesus feeds 4,000, he warns his disciples about eating of the Pharisees and Herod and they misinterpret that to mean real food. It’s the spiritual food he is talking about. They may have begun with good intentions but are now poisoned with rhetoric, politics, egos, and traditions of divisiveness. If only the disciples were able to hold onto that message… Then, after Jesus heals a blind man, he tells them of his coming death and Peter tries to rebuke him.

After all Jesus has done to teach and prove his powers, including instilling his disciples with similar powers, Peter and the rest of the disciples still held onto selfish (corporal) beliefs and responded incorrectly. Death is not the end for Christ and true Christians. It’s just a process. But, because we still hold on to so much of this world (almost to the point of turning our backs on God’s world), we are still afraid of death. We still try to avoid losing all the things we can’t take with us.

So often, even in the midst of God, in the middle of doing Godly work, while the sun is the brightest, we bring the shade of worldly ways and lose our focus on God. We see it in politics, we see it in our churches, and we see it at home. We see people choose their own egos and turn their backs on God. We see people dismiss each other when they could be collaborating for the common good. We see people choosing failure over cooperation. And sometimes, we do it ourselves.

Jesus came and went. Although he will come again, he’s not coming to lead us, but to see how well we have led ourselves. Dr. King, El Shabazz, Gandhi, and Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy are gone. They will Not return! But, like Jesus, they left us with instructions to lead ourselves. The work is not hard anymore. The focus is. Stay focused on God and not all the reasons to quit. We say we believe in victory but get discouraged when the other team shows up. Faith without works is dead. So is work without faith!

We must have faith in our work! We must also work our faith. We say we believe in this or that. We say out God is almighty. Prove it!

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