What Do I Really Gain?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good[a] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Eventhe demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.


I’m convicted and at times haunted by that verse on many days. I feel convicted of it every time I don’t love my parents and family well. I feel convicted of it every time I cower away from either speaking or displaying the gospel with my life. In other words, when my faith internally does not translate externally – it’s like someone got in the way of the train – everything comes to a halt because there is no more progress or continuation. 

The end of tonight is particularly convicting. I just finished a week with quizzes an exams – looking to another big one on Monday. Yet, through it all, I didn’t live with gospel fluency or intentionality. To be honest, most days, I just wanted sleep, great grades, good production at work, and a quiet home to go to. I didn’t really care about family. I didn’t really care about others at work. I didn’t really care. I was just exhausted and burnt. After passing the pharm tech exam today, it was definitely a huge weight off my shoulder, but what type of weight was I really feeling? Was this an idol of security manifesting in different ways again? Why do I feel defensive and angry when my parents tell me to tithe less? Shouldn’t I be seeing it as an amazing opportunity to tell them what Jesus told me about my heart and my money? Wouldn’t it have been a great opportunity to tell them why I give? Why Jesus is amazing and why he calls me to be a part of his people and that money is only a means to a greater end of joy, glory, and satisfaction in him and the good of others? Sometimes, I don’t get my heart and why it reacts the way it does. 

However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned recently, it’s that the Holy Spirit convicts me of my sin not to shame me, but to show me another area where he wants to throw his weight around, pour out grace into so I can become more like Jesus, and grow and follow him. In other words, it’s an opportunity to repent because I have been loved and shown grace. I will be praying about how to love my parents better using these opportunities as well as praying about careers – bringing it up both with community and family to see what they think and weigh the counsel carefully. 


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