Action alone does not mean there is faith; however, faith without action is “dead and useless.” If you have faith, it should result in some fruit. People should see your good deeds. People should see something different in you, something that will point them to the One with whom you have faith.
The fruit isn’t going to come if you don’t have action. If you say you have faith, but no one can tell, you may need to reevaluate this thing you call faith. James notes knowing that your brother and sister are without and simply telling them to have a good day, appearing oblivious to their needs, does no good. To know something and not act upon it makes no sense at all.
Today, test your faith. When was the last time you demonstrated your faith? When was the last time your faith was challenged?
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’–but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” – James 2:14-17 [NLT]
Growing up, I was taught the value of hard work. I am very grateful that my parents instilled this into me, and I hope that my children learn this as well. In Romans 12:11, we read, “Never be lazy, but work hard.” The verse continues to say, “Serve the Lord enthusiastically.” Wow! This is more than simply getting the job done.
Serve the Lord enthusiastically. Cheerfully. There should be excitement, enthusiasm, and eagerness. ENERGY. Energy people around you can feel. This enthusiasm is contagious. This enthusiasm points to our Father, the One we are serving.
This enthusiasm is in high demand; it’s hard to find. It’s something special that is not on display everywhere you turn. Too many people get caught going through the motions. Friends, don’t get in a routine. Don’t lose your joy for service. Ask Him where He wants you to serve. Pour yourself into it. Remember that you are not alone. If you are doing what you were designed to do, the enthusiasm will be there. Keep walking in faithful obedience and as you grow where you are positioned, your excitement will be contagious.
“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” – Romans 12:11 [NLT]
Our God is an awesome God. He has no equal. He has performed many wonders. We cannot recite all that He has done. Nor can we list the plans that He has for us. The “plans for us are too numerous to list.”
Often we get caught up in our own plans. We try to plan out our life to live a purposeful life. Yet we don’t even know what life is about or the purpose for our life. God has beautifully orchestrated everything, including our lives. He has plans for you and I, plans that are too numerous to list. We need to question if we are following God’s will, and if our plans are actually God’s plans for our lives. What list are you living?
Never think that no one cares for you. There are people who care for you. More importantly, the God of the universe cares for you. He cares so much that He has plans for you that are “too numerous to list.” Your life has a purpose. This purpose you can find as you walk with God, as you have an intimate relationship with Him. He will reveal Himself to you, and you will know Him more and know yourself more. This will help you to catch a glimpse of some of these plans that are too many to list.
It is because of Jesus Christ and His great sacrifice that you can press forward in Him and live this life, knowing God and serving Him. Today, thank Him for His perfect sacrifice and ask that God will reveal Himself to you in a new and fresh way.
“O LORD my God, You have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all Your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.” – Psalm 40:5 [NLT]
This is the year both of my kids are in high school. When your children reach high school, things immediately change. They have somewhat figured out their gifts, their talents, their interests. They have selected activities and hobbies that they truly enjoy. It’s very different from the elementary years when they dabble in a sport for a year, only to not want to take it up the following year. I’ve been through baseball season, a few soccer seasons, and even a year of karate while the kids dabbled. Today, my son plays the trombone and my daughter runs. My son is musically gifted; my daughter is a dedicated runner.
Part of the school shopping this year included a new trombone for my son and running spikes for my daughter. They both have gifts in their respective areas, but they needed to be equipped with some items to help them get to the next level. My daughter just used her new spikes for the first time, and it was amazing to see the improvement in her run on the muddy mess of a course this weekend. She was equipped to do what has been placed on her heart.
God calls us each to do something in life for His kingdom. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God” (NLT). God qualifies us. God also places people in our lives to equip us to better serve for His glory. Ephesians 4 speaks of the responsibility people have “to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (v. 11-12 NLT). Today, consider who God has placed in your life. Does God want you to help equip them for service? Is the Spirit leading you to do something to help them? Are you enabling them to stay where they are at, when you could instead equip them for the road ahead? Pray about this.
When there was a rebellion against Moses, the response was that the Lord would show them who belonged to Him. Moses didn’t brag about the position God had given him. He didn’t take any personal jabs at Korah. His response was all about God. He told them it was “against the Lord” that they gathered, and reminded them that God separated them for His service. He kept it all about God.
Too often we take things too personal. When we allow things to be about ourselves instead of the focus being on God, we can get ourselves caught in a personal trap, a trap that focuses on self. It is easy for pride to take up residence. It is important to remember that each of us is valuable to God and each of us has a different role in the Kingdom. Everyone is important but everyone is to shine for God—everyone is to bring glory to Him. The problem is when the focus is taken from God and placed on a person.
Let us remember that it is a blessing to have the opportunity to serve the Lord. It is a blessing that He allows us to be used for His Kingdom. May we respond with humility and with gratitude. May we keep it all about God.
“Then he said to Korah and his followers, ‘Tomorrow morning the LORD will show us who belongs to him and who is holy. The LORD will allow only those whom he selects to enter his own presence.’” – Numbers 16:5 [NLT]
With most tasks in life, you don’t have to use all you have to accomplish the goal. When looking at the Olympians though, you see someone who started as a young boy or girl, giving everything they had to getting to the Olympics. They eat, breathe, and sleep the Olympics. They train hard. They have a special diet. With everything they have, they devote themselves to earning that spot on the team and representing their country.
In Deuteronomy, it says to “listen obediently” and “love God… serve Him with EVERYTHING you have within you.” With your entire soul. With your entire heart. Your entire being. Some of you might ask, “How can you serve with everything?” or “What about the rest of my life? How can I serve Him with everything and have enough for the rest?”
When you serve God with everything, with all that you have within you, you don’t lose anything. You gain. It is a lifestyle, a way of life, not a job. Each morning, I thank God for the opportunity to serve Him. It is just that—an opportunity. And it doesn’t take away from you, it adds to you. You serve Him as you go about your day. You serve Him while you eat, work, socialize. If you aren’t sure how to serve yet, look to Him. He will show you. Look to His Word. Pray and ask. Learn more about the Humble Servant and walk forward as He slowly makes you one. May we all one day be able to serve with everything.
“From now on if you listen obediently to the commandments that I am commanding you today, love God, your God, and serve him with everything you have within you, he’ll take charge of sending the rain at the right time, both autumn and spring rains, so that you’ll be able to harvest your grain, your grapes, your olives. He’ll make sure there’s plenty of grass for your animals. You’ll have plenty to eat.”
– Deuteronomy 11:13-15 [MSG]