Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Saved to do good...

When I was a junior in high school, I prayed a very dangerous prayer. I offered my life to Jesus to do with as he pleased. “Whatever you want, Lord. I’ll do it.”

I had no idea at the time that he would call me to preach. If I had known that, I might have been less rash with my words. But I loved Jesus and wanted to serve him. I wanted to follow him wherever he led me. I still do.

One of my biggest concerns over the years has been the tendency of those who claim Christ to ignore his teachings, to disobey while claiming salvation. Many people say, “I believe in Jesus,” but don’t do what he says.

James asks the obvious questions concerning such “faith”. “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” (James 2:14, NIV) He then states the answer to these questions. Without backing down one bit, he says: “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17, NIV)

There is no such thing as faith that isn’t lived out. If you are saved, you will act on that faith. You will do good works. You will follow Jesus.

Again the Bible is clear.

Jesus told this story. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27, NIV)

Is it not obvious that Jesus wants us to do what he says? It’s not enough to say, “I believe.” You have to live, “I believe.” To not live out your faith, to not obey your Lord, is foolishness. Those are Jesus’ words, not mine.

So saying you love Jesus while willfully choosing disobedience in some area of life is crazy! Asking God if it’s okay with him if you do something he’s said is wrong is nuts! Expecting blessings while practicing evil of any kind…insanity!

I could get into specifics here, but I don’t think that’s necessary. The Holy Spirit is able to convict you of any area you need to make changes in. I’m going to trust him to do that. Listen to his voice. If there is sin that needs to repented of, do it!

Paul in Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us something important about the works we’re to do after we’ve been saved. “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.” (NIV)

The purpose God had in saving you is spelled out here. God created you anew in Christ Jesus to do good. He even had in mind the good things he had for you to do. He had them prepared for you to do before you were saved.

Isn’t it amazing? God had plans for your life before you believed. He knew the good you could do for his kingdom. He invited you to faith so you could do what he’d prepared for you to do.

So the question is: are you looking for opportunities to do that good which God created you to do? The good you were prepared to do will fit you, your personality, your skills, your gifts. You are uniquely suited to perform specific acts that will bless your brothers and sisters. What you were created in Christ Jesus to do will be relatively easy for you? Others will struggle to do what you do happily. You will find joy in God’s “specially designed for you” work.

So be alert to the little things you can do or say that will make a difference in another’s life. Do the good God created you to do.

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