In our last post we talked about Faith and Action. We looked that if we really believed something is true – our actions will be in line with that belief. If I believe that I am about to be hit by a car – my action will be to move.
I was reading Psalm 1 the other day, and I think even here, we can see some more of what I am talking about. If we were to just take Psalm 1:1, we would get -
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers
Taking just this verse, we can see that by not doing the wrong things, we are ‘blessed’. But no! That is stopping half way through the sentence. What does Psalm 1:2 say?
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
So it is not enough to just avoid sin – to hide in a corner and say ‘no, I don’t do that’. We have to take the next step, and ‘delight in the law of the Lord’. We have to come before Jesus, and submit ourselves to Him, and then the actions of our faith will be those of verse 1 – out of our submission to Jesus we will not walk in step with the wicked, we will not stand with the sinners.
You may wonder if I am wandering off topic…. But we get a direct example of this, related to faith and action, in Mark 10:17-27. We meet a ‘rich young ruler’. He begins well – he runs up to Jesus and ‘falls on his knees before Him’, and asks ‘Good teacher,what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
When he is presented with the law, he claims to have kept it since he was a boy. He is a Psalm 1:1 man – he hasn’t walked in step with the wicked. But then the real call of Jesus is placed on his life – will he give up all in this world that has a hold on him (in this case, his riches), and follow Jesus? Will he take the next step and truly believe in God, and then act in accordance with that belief?
And we know the result – he ‘went away sad’. He wasn’t in his own strength able to give up what he loved, and he wasn’t willing to submit to Jesus to find the help he needed to give it up.
For though not many of us are rich – we all have things in this life that hold us back. We all have things that we hold onto ourselves – that we don’t have the strength to overcome, so we can fully serve God. But Jesus answers his disciples, the rich man, and even us.
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Mark 10:26-27 (NIV)
So back to our original questions – what do you truly believe? Do you believe that Jesus saves? Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God? Then we need to start acting in accordance with that belief. We need to first recognize that even in ourselves there are things that hold us back – there are things in our lives which stop us from acting in faith, despite knowing the truth.
So firstly, be challenged. I know there are things in my life that do not fully reflect my faith in God (and I am sure you are with me much of the time). So we all need to come to God and repent of the things that hold us back, and pray for strength to overcome – because with God, all things are possible.
And secondly, be encouraged. Jesus never said that faith would be easy. He never said that once we have submitted to Him, that all our problems would magically disappear. But He did say He would be with us, to guide us, protect us and strengthen us so that we would be complete in His timing.