"Faith in action is love, and love in action is service. By transforming that faith into living acts of love, we put ourselves in contact with God Himself, Jesus our Lord." - Saint Mother Teresa
Luke 10, Verses 25-28 - And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Romans 3, Verse 8 - Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
Matthew 25, Verses 31 - 46 - “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
1 Corinthians 3, Verse 2 - I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it.
1 Peter 2, Verses 2-3 - Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation--if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
James 2, Verses 14 - 26 - What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
1 Peter 1, Verses 3-9 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
The Christian faith is not just a set of beliefs arrived at about our Savior - it is much more than that. Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins, so we may have eternal life; and so we must strive towards salvation. Our faith in His sacrifice for us does not appear one day, lead us to saved status, and then lead us by the nose for the rest of our life as if we were a puppet to the Spirit. The obvious nature of our choices exist still - to do evil or good, to fear God or be brazen, to love others or not. And the "working nature" of our faith is evidence for our faith through righteousness. For James 2 says faith without works is dead. Luke 10 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself," and this is required to inherit the Kingdom of God. Matthew 25 lays it out even more clearly. Faith is an important issue in Christianity; it is essential to our judgment before God.
Remember the faith we had as kids? It was fun when we believed in flying reindeer, tooth fairies, magic slippers, flying carpets and talking vegetables. I miss the days of youth when God was my invisible companion through thick-and-thin, someone greater than my parents. There was some truth to my fantastic view, but my faith back then was based on wishes and whims I had for a magical world, and the stories of God and Jesus fit the part. I wanted to believe and my wants took me there. But God did meet me there in my childhood, and I was raised knowing His embrace. I was raised on "milk" through part of adulthood - it takes effort to solidify a more mature faith.
A faith grows more mature with knowledge and experience. The experience lies in loving our God and loving others on a regular basis. "To love" is an action verb. As for knowledge, there is a wealth of evidence for God to the extent that He is obvious, and the actions of Jesus give meaning to our existence. We must study about God and Christ to propel our faith forward. So in answer to today's subject, yes - my actions define my Christian faith - loving actions. 1st Peter 1 says, "Though now you do not see Him (Jesus), yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls." And so our striving in maintaining and exercising our faith is NOT for nothing.
Dear God, Your world is complex and Your Law interweaved with a balance of grace, mercy, love and justice. I know that issues of justice and love are most difficult in my human world, yet I sometimes seek to simplify Yours. My faith will be judged based on Your gracious AND just ways, and only You fully understand the Judgment. My faith must be evident and I must strive to perform goodness for the duration of my life. Have mercy on me and bestow your grace upon me when I fall short! I have and I will sin despite knowing better. In the name of Jesus, forgive me when I sin and expect me to perform good works! It is Your blessing upon me to have been loved, and to be loved this very moment; not only have You bestowed love upon me, but I have close friends and family as earthly gifts. To transform my faith into love everyday, I must aim to love the ones I meet along the way in return. I pray for the potter to mold the clay - mold me Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.
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