Thursday, February 16, 2012

Faith vs. Works -- And a Time To Be Still

Maybe it's starting to make sense. Since the start of the year, I've been more deliberate about spending quiet time in communion with God. But even as Scriptures reminded me again and again of the importance of spending this time quietly with God, I couldn't shake the thought that God also wants action. After all, doesn't Scripture also say faith without works is dead.

Sunday's sermon text may provide a key. 1 Corinthians 9:25-27. "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection ..."

The sermon's focus was the importance of not only running the race, but running with purpose. What is God's purpose for me? What is the prize or goal He wants me to achieve?

Maybe the reason I spend so much time procrastinating or in mindless activity is that I don't have a true sense of purpose. For all my faith and good intentions, I struggle. ... (I am aware of some of the reasons, from childhood on ... Dreams, choices, consequences and realities.) ... And the place to get that settled is in constant communion with God.

But the sermon reminded me that I do need to act. I must discern God's purpose and act. Maybe not today. It seems like it should be soon.

After the sermon, I had a wonderful conversation with a dear friend at church who is about 78 who was talking about why she continues to push herself to be active. She knows the purpose for each action -- to keep her healthy and whole -- and also God's greater purpose for her.

Even as I feel impatient to get to work on the stuff that I think needs to be done, today's readings and Scriptures reminded me again that God is still wanting me to be still, focusing on quietness and trust. "Be still before the Lord ..." (Zechariah 2:13). "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength ..." (Isaiah 30:15). "My grace is enough for you; for My strength and power are made perfect and show themselves most effective in your weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

This seemed clearer Monday, when I started it, than it does today. I guess that helps explain why I'm not finished with the quiet communion with God, and probably never will be. Maybe God's preparing me for a journey rather than a race. Or maybe I'm on the journey that is preparing me for the race. I think God may be laughing with me right now, as we see how very far I still have to go! I'm grateful to Him for not only leading me, but walking with me, patiently and lovingly. In fact, as slow as it seems we are going, I think He is still telling me to slow down even more. I trust You, Lord Jesus. Lead me, Lord.


  1. Posting this is 100 percent an act of faith. It doesn't make much sense to me, but I feel the nudge that usually means it's meant to be posted. I trust that the reason will be clearer when the time is right.

  2. More thoughts on this, possibly for a future blog, passed along from a friend:

    I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ
    Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 ESV)

    The calling is to be like Him. Romans 8:28-29 indicates His desire to conform us
    to the image of His Son. Hebrews 12:1-2 indicates the path of the race--it is
    personal--"set before us."
    Your race differs from mine in that the encumbrances ("weights") differ. The
    goal, however ("fixing our eyes on Jesus"), is the same
    Paul tells Timothy, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I
    have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7 ESV). Lots of race metaphors.