Every now and then, I just have to laugh at how incredibly obvious God is in teaching a lesson He’s ready to hit home in my comparatively pea-sized brain.
Last week, the theme was “Are-you-saved-by-faith-or-by-works?” and I found myself in three different unrelated conversations on this light, cocktail party topic.
I won’t hijack this post and go off on this topic but the quick answer? Yes to both. We must profess to follow Jesus and in doing so, we naturally begin to desire to do the works He has prepared for us in advance. However, we can’t use our faith as a scapegoat and abuse the privilege that comes with it, either. An example of this would be apathy in our faith – “Oh, I’ve made a profession of faith so therefore, I don’t really have to do anything. I’m in,” instead of “I’ve made a profession of faith and I want to learn more” and of course, in the learning of more, we realize that faith without works is dead.
Show me a person who has truly made a profession of faith at the authentic heart-level who doesn’t DESIRE to do works after walking deeper with Him and I’ll say it’s a complete anomaly.
In other words, works are a byproduct of faith. It just happens.
And oh how that could be a separate post within itself.
So hilariously, I turn to Lesson One to find that the week begins with – you guessed it – Faith versus Works.
Are you kidding me?
So here are some highlights that struck a chord with me this past week:
Someone will say “you have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith from my works. – James 2:18
* “…let’s be clear: we are not saved by works.” – Beth Moore, James: Mercy Triumphs, page 100.
* For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:8-10
* You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected.” – James 2:22
* When He who was, who is, and who is to come sees each one of us, He sees who we were, who we are, and who will become. – p. 108
* Those of us who feel called into teaching? “Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgement.” – James 3:1 But no pressure.
LOVED the list of “land mines” for those who teach:
1. The temptation to teach more than we know.
2. The capacity to mislead.
3. The temptation to use the platform for personal agendas or opinions. “As for you, do you seek great things for yourself?” – Jeremiah 45:5
4. The demand for self-discipline. God will never call you to sacrifice your intimacy with Him on the altar of ministry. – p. 111
5. The pride and humiliation. Moral of the story: Want to teach? Prepare to apologize a lot. – p. 112
6. God often likes to teach the bigger lesson to the teacher. Oh my did I ever belt out an “AMEN!” from my bed when I read this. “I will teach you what to say.” – Exodus 4:12
7. The human judgement. Let’s quit trying to take people’s pulse to see how much they love us. – p. 112 “Am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave to Christ.” – Galatians 1:10
8. Stricter divine judgement. “Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more.” – Luke 12:48b
9. Others stumble with us.
The bottom line? If you’re called to teach, you must go out of obedience. But heed these warnings!
The other thing? I would venture to say that every person reading this post is a teacher in some capacity.
How about you? How are you a teacher? Did this list of land mines make you think at all?
Day Four was a convicting day on taming the tongue and all of the damage our words can do if used irresponsibly while Day Five focused upon wisdom and understanding. Both excellent days but for the sake of length, I’ll stop here.
What stirred in you this week? If you are not doing the study with us, is there something you read here today that moved you? Please share in the comment section!