The Marriage of Faith and Works
"For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead." James 2:26
“Work” typically has a negative connotation in my mind. I associate work with something I have to do but don’t feel like doing. I separate out work from play or fun. But with God, the word “work” couldn’t be more different. Work is designed to be the expression of our abundant, life-giving relationship with our heavenly Father. God doesn’t call us to work out of obligation or to earn his love, but to live our lives in response to his love. It’s for this reason that Scripture is clear about God’s intention for the marriage of faith and works.
James 2:26 says, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” What is our faith if it doesn’t produce action? What is the nature of our relationship with God if it doesn’t cause us to live differently? Often we have a misunderstanding about what it is God would have us do if we were to truly submit our life fully to him. And our misunderstanding veils our heart from receiving the fullness of life and enjoyment of the work God intends for us.
Often we believe if we were really to hand over our life to God in faith he would call us to do a lot of things we don’t want to do. Maybe we believe he’d call us to a foreign mission field, to make little to no money, or simply to live our lives awkwardly and intrusively. If you only remember one thing today, remember this: God will only ever lead you to a life perfectly, uniquely, and wonderfully designed to bring you and others around you the utmost fulfillment, purpose, passion, and joy. Everything he calls you to he intends to use to satisfy the desires of your heart. Maybe he is calling you to something you don’t fully understand yet, but if you will say yes to him, the very calling that you possibly feared most will be the satisfaction of a dream you didn’t know you had.
God calls us to a life of works because he loves us and has designed us for such a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” The work he is calling you to is perfect for you because he is the one who formed you and knows you. Have faith in the love and perfect will of your heavenly Father. Choose to live a life of good works. And experience the joy of living every minute of your day with intentional and eternal purpose.
Spend time in prayer allowing the word and character of God to renew your mind on the subject of faith and works. Allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with a desire to live a life of good works today in light of God’s love for you.
1. Meditate on the marriage of faith and works. Renew your mind to the goodness of work.
“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” James 2:26
“And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.” Titus 3:14
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what works he has laid before you today. Hand over to him the tasks set before you and ask him to fill you with the knowledge of how he would have you accomplish them.
3. Commit to living today with a renewed perspective on work. Work is joyful and life-giving when we do it with the Holy Spirit. Choose to live your life in line with God’s intention for you and enjoy the work set before you!
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
What would your life look like if you chose to do your work filled with the joy and purpose of the Holy Spirit? The fruit of the Spirit is just as available to you during work as it is at any other time of the day! All you have to do is choose to live your life with a different perspective than others around you. Take hardships to God and ask him for his heart! Enjoy your days working and bearing the fruit of your faith.
Extended Reading: James 2
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