Faith & Deeds

“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

-James 2:18

Faith without deeds (or works) is dead. Rick Joyner recently quoted Detrich Bonhoeffer as saying “I hate visionaries.” The point Bonhoeffer was trying to make was that he does not like, and doesn’t think the Lord likes, people who have vision for something but not the faith to do the work and see it through.

The Israelites saw the promise, they knew they were the chosen people; but before they entered into the Promised Land they had to wander through the wilderness.

It is so easy and natural for me to think that just because I see what I am supposed to do that it is going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I think it often takes hard work just to receive the vision from God. A true and clear vision from God is invaluable. However, once you have the vision, the journey is just beginning. James speaks to this by using the analogy of someone who is in the cold without food. He says that if you simply say to them “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed” but don’t do anything (you have the faith but no action) that it is “dead” (James 2: 16-17).

I was reading this passage and it struck me as really important for right now in my life. I wasn’t sure why at first but then it started to make sense; in my job, in school, in all of my relationships, I can see where I want it all to end up. I know where I want to be in my career, I know what sort of education I wish to have and I know what type of relationships I want to have; simply knowing will not get me there though. It is the day-to-day “grind” that will help me achieve these goals. It is very easy to get lethargic when I am in the middle of these journeys. At the beginning of anything or when you are close to finishing a journey, it is easy to stay motivated but when you are at day 160 of 300, it is hard to stay motivated. This is where faith and deeds come in.

I find myself constantly looking to the end goal to stay motivated. I think that is good and an easy way to stay motivated towards the “end prize.” I also think that if we choose to lose our focus on the end goal a little (not forget it simply look down at our feet and where we are today) that God can make the “in between” time wonderful. Going back to the Israelites in the desert, they were so consumed with getting out of the desert that they failed to realize that God was providing something supernatural for them everyday. They were being fed and shown around by His voice and failed to see that as a blessing.

I believe God does the same thing for us, if we lose our end-focus a little and allow Him to guide us just through the “monotony” of today, it will become less monotonous and more powerful. What I’m trying to say is that if we simply allow God to guide us day-by-day, not just flounder around but really be guided each day, we can enjoy the journey as well as the end goal itself. I’m reminded of this concept every time I travel down to Clemson for class. I normally don’t like the hour and twenty-minute drive but if I relax a little and look around me, I notice the leaves and the beautiful mountains. Once I stop focusing on just getting to Clemson (which is a fine goal and ultimately the reason I am driving in the first place) and allow myself to just look out the window in front of me, I see that the journey to Clemson is beautiful as well. The same concept is applicable with my journey in life, if I allow myself to lose the narrow focus on the end and focus just on today I realize that the journey God has me on is beautiful as well, I still want the end goal but the journey is not wasted.

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